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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1123-1131
    Received: June 7, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): n.w.lepp@livjm.ac.uk
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Cadmium and Zinc in Vegetation and Litter of a Voluntary Woodland that has Developed on Contaminated Sediment-Derived Soil

  1. Nicholas W. Lepp * and
  2. Paula Madejón
  1. School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores Univ., Byrom St., Liverpool L3 3AF, UK


Vegetation that develops spontaneously on metal-contaminated soils presents an opportunity to evaluate both metal bioavailability and the risks posed to biota. The behavior of Cd and Zn in the species of a spontaneously developed woodland, colonizing a canal embankment, has been investigated. Nitric-acid-extractable metal concentrations in the sediment-derived substrate ranged between 5.0 to 376 mg kg−1dry wt. Cd and 83.0 to 784 mg kg−1dry wt. Zn. The woodland is dominated by Willow (Salix) species. Salix caprea selectively accumulated Cd in all stem tissues, in contrast to S. viminalis, which regulated tissue Cd content. Both species showed an effective regulation of tissue Zn. Cadmium uptake by S. caprea was correlated with differences in soil pH, while Zn uptake was not. There was no relationship between tissue metal concentrations and soil metal nitric acid-extractable concentrations. Other aspects of ecosystem function appeared unaffected by the elevated Cd flux in S. caprea; leaf litter organisms present represented all major groups and there was no accumulation of organic matter. The woodland represents a potentially sustainable option for remediating a low value site with difficult access that does not involve removal of the contaminated material to a landfill or making a permanent inert cover.

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