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International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, ISSN: 2320-7035,Vol.: 6, Issue.: 5

Short Research Article

Modifying Soil Chemistry to Enhance Heathland Recreation: A Use for Sulphur Captured During Oil Refining


Iain Green1*, Damian Evans2 and Anita Diaz1

1Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH125BB, United Kingdom.
2Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH125BB, United Kingdom.

Article Information
(1) Eliana L. Tassi, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, National Research Council (CNR), Italy.
(2) Junhong Bai, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
(1) Anonymous, South Africa.
(2) Laura Antonela Iturri, Institute for Earth and Environmental Sciences of La Pampa of The National Council for Research and Technology and Faculty of Natural Sciences of The National University of La Pampa, Argentina.
(3) Anonymous, India.
Complete Peer review History:  http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history/8531


The overall aim of this paper is to evaluate potential new modifications to methods for re-creating heathland habitats. Heathlands need acidic soils so the specific objectives are to evaluate the effectiveness of a new method for heathland re-creation by soil acidification using a sulphur soil amendment and to explore the benefits for re-creation of applying a soil stripping treatment in conjunction with soil acidification. A new source of sulphur was recovered from oil refinery towers and applied over agricultural sites covering a total of 13 ha on Trehill Farm, Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK in 2004. In the summer of 2011 we compared soil chemistry and plant communities on sites subjected to different sulphur treatments (sulphur applied to the existing soil surface and sulphur applied after top soil had been stripped) with those on an adjacent untreated control and on a nearby established heathland. Each of the four treatment sites and the control and heath site was surveyed using 10 random locations measuring 4 m x 4 m. The total above ground % cover was measured for each plant species and a bulk soil sample was taken in a ‘W’ shape from within each 4 m x 4 m quadrat. pH and all chemical parameters of the soil showed highly significant differences amongst the sampled sites (P>0.01 in all cases) and produced even greater abundance of ericaceous species on some of the treated sites than occurred in the established heath. However, soil stripping had no significant additional effect on either edaphic factors or plant species abundances. Sulphur recovered from oil refinery is a potentially useful tool in heathland re-creation, but soil stripping prior to sulphur amendment did not enhance success. We propose that sulphur application drives success through increasing H+ toxicity reducing the availability of base cations and creating Fe-induced Mn deficiency in plants.

Keywords :

Heathland; acidification; plant community; restoration; creation, fuel; wood and grazing lands.

Full Article - PDF    Page 272-282

DOI : 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/14519

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