Bioremediation of contaminated soils from mine sites using native plants in Northwestern Ontario
Doctor of Philosophy
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Practical and scientific importance can be found in this research topic since the results directly apply to remediation of industrial and mined lands in the boreal forest region. Plants suitable for phytostabilization of As, Mo and Sb are identified as well as two hyperaccumulators of Zn. Using phytostabilization practices, metals are immobilized by the below ground components of the plants therefore restricting the flow into the ecosystem and lessening the impacts of metal pollution to the surrounding area. As long as there is little disturbance of the soil physically or chemically, the plants will continue to stabilize the metal in the organic portion of the deceased plants. The ease of replanting a site could incorporate successional ecosystem in the region by focusing on trees and shrubs that are earlier in the revegetation process after a disturbance. The addition of woodbark to the reestablishment of the top soil increases potential nutrients, organic matter, water holding potential as well as diluting potential harmful metal content of the soil and providing a mulching effect. Some concerns exist by using agronomic plant species as the sole part of revegetation as they have the potential to impact the wildlife in the region through excess Mo. Results from this thesis could be helpful for future mine closure plans and in the rehabilitation of other industrial sites.