As they represent actual or potential risks to human and environmental safety and health, abandoned mines are a major global problem. The heavy metal-polluted tailings dump of Barraxiutta (Domusnovas, southwestern Sardinia, Italy) is home to a metallicolous population of Epipactis tremolsii (Orchidaceae). A reclamation of the abandoned mine area seems to be approaching, and such an intervention may pose a serious risk for the maintenance of the unique orchid population colonizing the mine wastes. In the present work, the seed packet technique was implemented for the first time to observe orchid seed development in mine wastes. This approach allowed us to explore different seed-based conservation options for the metallicolous orchid population and to gain a deeper grasp of population dynamics and ecology. Four different sowing treatments were set up in the tailing dump and in a near unpolluted site (control site). The field phase of the experiment lasted for 10 months, a period in which the experimental seed bank preservation and incipient seed development were observed and statistically approached. Our findings observed no significant seed loss happening during the experiment, demonstrating the suitability of the seed packet technique to also explore seed bank conservation and development in extreme environmental conditions (i.e., polluted mine wastes). This field method will be a useful tool to further explore the more effective translocation and quasi in situ conservation alternatives for the E. tremolsii metallicolous population. Incipient and site-specific seed development (non-mycorrhizal stage) was observed during the experiment. A plant-soil fungus interaction at the seed level was also observed, the nature of which remains to be ascertained in further studies providing a longer duration for the field phases.

Seed Bank Conservation and Incipient Seed Development in Orchids Colonizing Mining Wastes: Results of a Field Pilot Experiment

De Agostini, A
;
Cogoni, D;Cogoni, A;Vacca, A;Fenu, G;Cortis, P
2022-01-01

Abstract

As they represent actual or potential risks to human and environmental safety and health, abandoned mines are a major global problem. The heavy metal-polluted tailings dump of Barraxiutta (Domusnovas, southwestern Sardinia, Italy) is home to a metallicolous population of Epipactis tremolsii (Orchidaceae). A reclamation of the abandoned mine area seems to be approaching, and such an intervention may pose a serious risk for the maintenance of the unique orchid population colonizing the mine wastes. In the present work, the seed packet technique was implemented for the first time to observe orchid seed development in mine wastes. This approach allowed us to explore different seed-based conservation options for the metallicolous orchid population and to gain a deeper grasp of population dynamics and ecology. Four different sowing treatments were set up in the tailing dump and in a near unpolluted site (control site). The field phase of the experiment lasted for 10 months, a period in which the experimental seed bank preservation and incipient seed development were observed and statistically approached. Our findings observed no significant seed loss happening during the experiment, demonstrating the suitability of the seed packet technique to also explore seed bank conservation and development in extreme environmental conditions (i.e., polluted mine wastes). This field method will be a useful tool to further explore the more effective translocation and quasi in situ conservation alternatives for the E. tremolsii metallicolous population. Incipient and site-specific seed development (non-mycorrhizal stage) was observed during the experiment. A plant-soil fungus interaction at the seed level was also observed, the nature of which remains to be ascertained in further studies providing a longer duration for the field phases.
2022
Epipactis tremolsii; Mining areas; Heavy metals; Germination; Translocation; Seed packet; Soil pollution
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/352199
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