Ecological Remediation of Degraded and Contaminated Land

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2015) | Viewed by 5732

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, Location B447, Ellesmere Junction Rd, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
Interests: soil remediation technologies and ecological restoration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Half a century ago, in 1962, a catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, buried alive 144 people, mostly school children, beneath slurry. Ecologists in Britain began to play an increasing role alongside engineers to improve the safety and quality of industrial landscapes. At that time, establishing a vegetation cover was something of a new challenge for ecologists. A landmark text on the topic (A.D. Bradshaw A.D and M.J. Chadwick, 1980, The Restoration of Land: The Ecology and Reclamation of Derelict and Degraded Land, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford) described the fundamental environmental requirements to restore a green and pleasant land: stable, structured soils with the physical and chemical necessities to support plants and animals. In this context, the book remains as useful and valid today as the year in which it was published. The authors can take credit for being the pioneers of “really applied ecology” (to quote the late Tony Bradshaw), largely working out how to restore degraded and polluted land to productive agriculture and forestry. Their work is still valuable, but the challenges are now different.

The science of restoration of degraded and contaminated land has moved on in leaps and bounds during the ensuing 50 years, creating giant leaps of knowledge and fresh excitement amongst soil and plant scientists, chemists, biologists and ecologists. These days we understand these subjects better through their application to the Ecological Remediation of Degraded and Contaminated Land. A tidal wave of topics including heavy metal toxicity, bioavailability, risk assessment, metal tolerance, urban soils, phytoremediation, biodiversity and ecological restoration have been pivotal to a generation of scientists, providing new conference circuits, multitudes of experimental laboratory, glasshouse and field studies and considerable amounts of research funding and publication.

Our research topic now faces a new paradigm. The new challenges are to produce clean and safe food, to support primary industries; protecting the environment, biodiversity, our livelihoods and wellbeing. We have the technology. This special edition aims to reflect the excitement of our science and the validity of its application in the real world. Selected authors, well respected in their fields and recognized as the most outstanding communicators, were asked individually to share the stories of the most challenging and exciting of their current projects. Their enthusiasm was palpable and they have responded magnificently to the request. The diversity of their responses published here provides a window into the wide range of new opportunities in the Ecological Remediation of Degraded and Contaminated Land. Undoubtedly the readership will leverage the benefits of this knowledge.

Prof. Nicholas Dickinson
Guest Editor

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • ecological restoration
  • environmental technologies
  • pollution mitigation
  • ecosystem rehabilitation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Translocation of Cd and Mn from Bark to Leaves in Willows on Contaminated Sediments: Delayed Budburst Is Related to High Mn Concentrations
by Bart Vandecasteele, Paul Quataert, Frederic Piesschaert, Suzanna Lettens, Bruno De Vos and Gijs Du Laing
Land 2015, 4(2), 255-280; - 13 Apr 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5056
Changes in the hydrology of sediments in tidal marshes or landfills may affect the uptake of metals in the vegetation. Leaf and stem samples of Salix cinerea (grey sallow) were collected during four consecutive growing seasons at six contaminated plots on a polluted [...] Read more.
Changes in the hydrology of sediments in tidal marshes or landfills may affect the uptake of metals in the vegetation. Leaf and stem samples of Salix cinerea (grey sallow) were collected during four consecutive growing seasons at six contaminated plots on a polluted dredged sediment landfill and one plot on an uncontaminated reference site. The first three contaminated plots were already emerged in the first half of the first growing season, while the other three were submerged in the first year, but became increasingly dry over the study period. Foliar and stem cutting concentrations for Cd, Zn and Mn increased on the latter three plots over the four years. Willow bark contained high concentrations of Cd, Zn and Mn. In two consecutive greenhouse experiments with willow cuttings from different origins (uncontaminated and contaminated sites) and grown under different soil conditions (uncontaminated and contaminated), we observed an important translocation of Mn from bark to shoots. In a third experiment with willow cuttings collected on soils with a range of heavy metal concentrations and, thus, with a broad range of Cd (4–67 mg/kg dry matter), Zn (247–660 mg/kg dry matter) and Mn (38–524 mg/kg dry matter) concentrations in the bark, high Mn concentrations in the bark were found to affect the budburst of willow cuttings, while no association of delayed budburst with Cd and Zn concentrations in the bark was found. We conclude that wood and, especially, bark are not a sink for metals in living willows. The high Mn concentrations in the bark directly or indirectly caused delayed or restricted budburst of the willow cuttings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Remediation of Degraded and Contaminated Land)
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