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The use of soil amendments in the revegetation of smelter-impacted soils near Flin Flon, MB/Creighton, SK



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Some areas near Flin Flon, MB and Creighton, SK are devoid of vegetation due to a variety of mining, smelting, forestry activities and forest fires that have occurred since the 1930’s. This study investigated the use of soil amendments to enhance revegetation in these areas. The study was comprised of two main components, an in situ study and a growth chamber trial. The in situ component was conducted to determine the efficacy of soil amendments that could be utilized in a revegetation program. The growth chamber trial examined if the amount of moisture present in the soil would have an influence on the success of vegetation survival and growth. The in situ study was conducted near Flin Flon, MB and Creighton, SK over two growing seasons and consisted of replicated treatments imposed at 12 sites. Tree seedlings [trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.)] and understory species [tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa L.) and American vetch (Vicia americana Muhl.)] were planted at each site. Each site also received soil amendments; bone meal and meat biochar (BMB), compost, commercial mycorrhizal inoculant (EMF) and, willow biochar (WB) in combination with dolomitic limestone and fertilizer. Each site also had a control that received an application of only dolomitic limestone and fertilizer. The growth chamber trial utilized the same plant species and soil amendments as the field trial with the exclusion of willow biochar. In general, soil amendments did not influence the survival or growth of the tree seedlings in situ or in the growth chamber trial. However, the compost amendment increased survival and growth of the tufted hairgrass significantly in the growth chamber trial and to a lesser extent in the field trial. Compost also positively influenced the pH and base saturation of the soil compared to the other amendments. The mycorrhizal inoculant increased the rate of mortality of tree species in the growth chamber trial. Moisture did not influence the survival and growth of the seedlings or understory species or the efficacy of the amendment treatments in this study.



Amendments, revegetate, smelter-impacted, biochar, ectomycorrhizal



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Soil Science


Soil Science


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