Functional Trait-Based Screening of Zn-Pb Tolerant Wild Plant Species at an Abandoned Mine Site in Gard (France) for Rehabilitation of Mediterranean Metal-Contaminated Soils


  • Laffont-Schwob Isabelle
  • Rabier Jacques
  • Masotti Veronique
  • Folzer Hélène
  • Tosini Lorène
  • Vassalo Laurent
  • Salducci Marie-Dominique
  • Prudent Pascale


  • Passive ecological restoration
  • Native plant selection
  • Phytoremediation strategy
  • Metal tolerance

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The selection of plant species at mine sites is mostly based on metal content in plant parts. Recent works have proposed referring to certain ecological aspects. However, plant traits for plant metal-tolerance still need to be accurately assessed in the field. An abandoned Zn-Pb mine site in Gard (France) offered the opportunity to test a set of ecological criteria. The diversity of micro-habitats was first recorded through floristic relevés and selected categorical and measured plant traits were compared for plant species selection. The floristic composition of the study site consisted in 61 plant species from 31 plant families. This approach enabled us to focus on seven wild plant species naturally growing at the mining site. Their ability to form root symbioses was then observed with a view to phytostabilization management. Four species were considered for phytoextraction: Noccaea caerulescens (J. et C. Presl) FK Meyer, Biscutella laevigata L., Armeria arenaria (Pers.) Schult. and Plantago lanceolata L. The metal content of their aerial and root parts was then determined and compared with that of soil samples collected at the same site. This general approach may lead to the development of a knowledge base for assessment of the ecological restoration trajectory of the site and can help in plant selection for remediation of other metal-rich soils in the Mediterranean area based not only on metal removal but on ecological restoration principles.

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