Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Research article
02 Nov 2017
Research article |  | 02 Nov 2017

Revegetation in abandoned quarries with landfill stabilized waste and gravels: water dynamics and plant growth – a case study

Cheng-liang Zhang, Jing-jing Feng, Li-ming Rong, and Ting-ning Zhao

Abstract. Large amounts of quarry wastes are produced during quarrying. Though quarry wastes are commonly used in pavement construction and concrete production, in situ utilization during ecological restoration of abandoned quarries has the advantage of simplicity. In this paper, rock fragments 2–3 cm in size were mixed with landfill stabilized waste (LSW) in different proportions (LSW : gravel, RL), which was called LGM. The water content, runoff and plant growth under natural precipitation were monitored for 2 years using a runoff plot experiment. LGM with a low fraction of LSW was compacted to different degrees to achieve an appropriate porosity; water dynamics and plant growth of compacted LGM were studied in a field experiment. The results showed the following: (1) LGM can be used during restoration in abandoned quarries as growing material for plants. (2) RL had a significant effect on the infiltration and water-holding capacity of LGM and thus influenced the retention of precipitation, water condition and plant growth. LGM with RL ranging from 8:1 to 3:7 was suitable for plant growth, and the target species grew best when RL was 5:5. (3) Compaction significantly enhanced water content of LGM with a low RL of 2:8, but leaf water content of plants was lower or unchanged in the more compacted plots. Moderate compaction was beneficial to the survival and growth of Robinia pseudoacacia L. Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco and Medicago sativa L. were not significantly affected by compaction, and they grew better under a high degree of compaction, which was disadvantageous for the uppermost layer of vegetation.

Short summary
A mixture of landfill stabilized waste and rock fragments (LGM) can be used as topsoil substitute during ecological restoration in abandoned quarries. Target species grew best when the volume fraction of landfill stabilized waste was 50 %. Moderate compaction enhanced plant growth in LGM when the volume fraction of landfill stabilized waste was lower than 20 %.