Authors: Lamoureux, SC; Veneklaas, EJ; Poot, P; O’Kane, M
Editors: Fourie, AB; Tibbett, M
Conference: Mine Closure 2016, 15–17 March, Perth
Published: Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure, pp.567-578, Perth
Cover systems utilising the store and release concept, i.e. evapotranspiration (ET) covers, are reliant on plant transpiration and evaporation to preclude percolation (deep drainage) into waste rock, thus minimising the risk of releasing potentially contaminated seepage. However, attaining persistent plant communities on ET covers is especially challenging in water limited environments. Soil texture permitting, greater water storage may be achieved through increased cover thickness. This study quantified cover material water dynamics, growth, and water use of native Australian plants over one year to determine if differences in plant performance were associated with species, plant available water, and cover thickness on a 1.5 year old irrigated ET cover in a semi-arid region. Plant height growth varied between species but not with cover thickness. Average transpiration per unit leaf area and stomatal conductance (gs) were 1.2 and 2.3 times higher in winter than in summer, respectively, and tended to be higher on thicker covers for both seasons. Overall, transpiration rates were positively correlated with soil volumetric water content (VWC, average from 0.0–0.3 m), but differed between species. Transpiration tended to increase with VWC, gs, and cover thickness (0.7 > 0.5 > 0.3 m), indicating plant (stomatal) control of transpiration in response to drought stress associated with cover thickness. The analysis suggests that plants on thicker covers transpired at greater rates due to access to stored water at greater depths, resulting in higher overall transpiration. This work demonstrates the importance of quantifying water use differences between species, seasons, and cover thicknesses during cover system modelling and design phases. It also highlights the potential for greater plant available water by increasing cover thickness, aiding the establishment of self-sustaining plant communities on ET covers.
Keywords: transpiration, water-relations, revegetation, cover systems, cover depth
Lamoureux, SC, Veneklaas, EJ, Poot, P & O’Kane, M 2016, 'The effect of cover system depth on native plant water relations in semi-arid Western Australia', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 567-578.
Albright, WH, Benson, CH, Gee, GW, Roesler, AC, Abichou, T, Apiwantragoon, P, Lyles, BF & Rock, SA 2004, 'Field Water Balance of Landfill Final Covers', Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 2317–2332.
Arnold, S, Schneider, A, Doley, D & Baumgartl, T 2015, 'The limited impact of vegetation on the water balance of mine waste cover systems in semi-arid Australia', Ecohydrology, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 355–367.
Arora, V 2002, 'Modeling vegetation as a dynamic component in soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer schemes and hydrological models', Reviews of Geophysics, vol. 40, no. 2, p. 1006.
ATA Environmental 2006, Mt. Gibson Magnetite Project Supplementary Vegetation and Flora Surveys, prepared for Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd.
Australian Standard 12126.96.36.199 2009, Standard method of analysis by sieving in Methods of testing soils for engineering purposes —Soil classification tests — Determination of the particle size distribution of a soil, SAI Global.
Australian Standard 12188.8.131.52 2001, Constant head method for a remoulded specimen in Methods of testing soils for engineering purposes — Soil strength and consolidation tests — Determination of permeability of a soil, SAI Global.
Bates, D, Maechler, M, Bolker, B & Walker, S 2014, lme4, lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version 1.1-7.
Bennet Environmental Consulting 2000, Flora and Vegetation of Mt. Gibson, prepared for Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd.
Bhaskar, R & Ackerly, DD 2006, 'Ecological relevance of minimum seasonal water potentials', Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 127, no. 3, pp. 353–359.
Bohnhoff, G, Ogorzalek, A, Benson, C, Shackelford, C & Apiwantragoon, P 2009, 'Field data and water-balance predictions for a monolithic cover in a semiarid climate', Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, vol. 135, no. 3, pp. 333–348.
Botros, FE, Harter, T, Onsoy, YS, Tuli, A & Hopmans, JW 2009, 'Spatial Variability of Hydraulic Properties and Sediment Characteristics in a Deep Alluvial Unsaturated Zone', Vadose Zone Journal, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 276–289.
Bristow, KL, Campbell, GS & Calissendorff, C 1984, 'The Effects of Texture on the Resistance to Water Movement within the Rhizosphere1', Soil Science Society of America Journal, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 266–270.
Eamus, D, Yunusa, I, Taylor, D & Whitley, R 2013, 'Design of store-release covers to minimize deep drainage in the mining and wastedisposal industries: results from a modelling analyses based on ecophysiological principles', Hydrological Processes, vol. 27, no. 26, pp. 3815–3824.
Enright, NJ & Lamont, B 1992, 'Survival, Growth and Water Relations of Banksia Seedlings on a Sand Mine Rehabilitation Site and Adjacent Scrub-Heath Sites', Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 663–671.
Fayer, MJ & Gee, GW 2006, 'Multiple-Year Water Balance of Soil Covers in a Semiarid Setting', Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 366–377.
Gee, GW, Benson, CH & Albright, WH 2006, 'Comment on “Evaluation of Evapotranspirative Covers for Waste Containment in Arid and Semiarid Regions in the Southwestern USA”', Vadose Zone Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 809–812.
Griffin and Associates 2005, Numerical Analysis of Floristic Data in Mt. Gibson Area, prepared for ATA Environmental.
Grigg, AM, Veneklaas, EJ & Lambers, H 2008, 'Water relations and mineral nutrition of closely related woody plant species on desert dunes and interdunes', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 27–43.
Gwenzi, W, Hinz, C, Bleby, TM & Veneklaas, EJ 2014, 'Transpiration and water relations of evergreen shrub species on an artificial landform for mine waste storage versus an adjacent natural site in semi-arid Western Australia', Ecohydrology, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 965–981.
Gwenzi, W, Hinz, C, Holmes, K, Phillips, IR & Mullins, IJ 2011, 'Field-scale spatial variability of saturated hydraulic conductivity on a recently constructed artificial ecosystem', Geoderma, vol. 166, no. 1, pp. 43–56.
Gwenzi, W, Veneklaas, EJ, Bleby, TM, Yunusa, IAM & Hinz, C 2012, 'Transpiration and plant water relations of evergreen woody vegetation on a recently constructed artificial ecosystem under seasonally dry conditions in Western Australia', Hydrological Processes, vol. 26, no. 21, pp. 3281–3292.
Hacke, UG, Sperry, JS, Ewers, BE, Ellsworth, DS, Schäfer, KVR & Oren, R 2000, 'Influence of soil porosity on water use in Pinustaeda', Oecologia, vol. 124, no. 4, pp. 495–505.
Jury, WA & Horton, R 2004, Soil physics sixth edition, New Jersey, USA, John Wiley & Sons.
Landloch Pty Ltd 2012, Design of the Hematite Waste Dump, Extension Hill Operation, prepared for Mount Gibson Iron Ltd.
LI-COR Inc. 2011, Using the LI-6400 / LI-6400XT Portable Photosynthesis System, Lincoln, Nebraska.
McKenzie, N, McKenna, S, May, J & Australia, W 2003, Bioregional summary of the 2002 Biodiversity audit for Western Australia, Department of Conservation & Land Management.
Meissner, R & Caruso, Y 2008, 'Flora and vegetation of banded iron formations of the Yilgarn Craton: Mount Gibson and surrounding area', Conservation Science Western Australia, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 105–120.
Muñoz-Carpena, R, Regalado, C & Alvarez-Benedi, J 2001, 'The Philip-Dunne permeameter: a low-tech/low-cost field saturated hydraulic conductivity device', ASAE Paper, no. 01-2146.
Muñoz-Carpena, R, Regalado, CM, Álvarez-Benedi, J & Bartoli, F 2002, 'Field evaluation of the new philip-dunne permeameter for measuring saturated hydraulic conductivity', Soil Science, vol. 167, no. 1, pp. 9–24.
O’Kane, M & Ayres, B 2012, 'Cover systems that utilise the moisture store-and-release concept–do they work and how can we improve their design and performance', in Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Brisbane.
Ogorzalek, A, Bohnhoff, G, Shackelford, C, Benson, C & Apiwantragoon, P 2008, 'Comparison of Field Data and Water-Balance Predictions for a Capillary Barrier Cover', Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, vol. 134, no. 4, pp. 470–486.
Payne, A 1997, An inventory and condition survey of the Sandstone-Yalgoo-Paynes Find area, Western Australia, Department of Agriculture.
Pérez-Harguindeguy, N, Díaz, S, Garnier, E, Lavorel, S, Poorter, H, Jaureguiberry, P, Bret-Harte, MS, Cornwell, WK, Craine, JM, Gurvich, DE, Urcelay, C, Veneklaas, EJ, Reich, PB, Poorter, L, Wright, IJ, Ray, P, Enrico, L, Pausas, JG, de Vos, AC, Buchmann, N, Funes, G, Quétier, F, Hodgson, JG, Thompson, K, Morgan, HD, ter Steege, H, van der Heijden, MGA, Sack, L, Blonder, B, Poschlod, P, Vaieretti, MV, Conti, G, Staver, AC, Aquino, S & Cornelissen, JHC 2013, 'New handbook for standardised measurement of plant functional traits worldwide', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 167–234.
Pinheiro, J, Bates, D, DebRoy, S, Sarkar, D & Team, RC 2015, nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models, R package version 3.1121 http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=nlme
Poot, P & Veneklaas, E 2013, 'Species distribution and crown decline are associated with contrasting water relations in four common sympatric eucalypt species in southwestern Australia', Plant and Soil, vol. 364, no. 1–2, pp. 409–423.
R Core Team 2013, R, 'R: A language and environment for statistical computing v0.98.1028. R Foundation for Statistical Computing', Vienna, Austria, http://www.R-project.org/
Scanlon, BR, Levitt, DG, Reedy, RC, Keese, KE & Sully, MJ 2005a, 'Ecological controls on water-cycle response to climate variability in deserts', in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 102, no. 17, pp. 6033–6038.
Scanlon, BR, Reedy, RC, Keese, KE & Dwyer, SF 2005b, 'Evaluation of Evapotranspirative Covers for Waste Containment in Arid and Semiarid Regions in the Southwestern USA', Vadose Zone Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 55–71.
Schneider, A, Baumgartl, T, Doley, D & Mulligan, D 2010, 'Evaluation of the Heterogeneity of Constructed Landforms for Rehabilitation Using Lysimeters', Vadose Zone Journal, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 898–909.
Seyfried, MS, Schwinning, S, Walvoord, MA, Pockman, WT, Newman, BD, Jackson, RB & Phillips, FM 2005, 'Ecohydrological control of deep drainage in arid and semiarid regions', Ecology, vol. 86, no. 2, pp. 277–287.
Smesrud, JK, Benson, CH, Albright, WH, Richards, JH, Wright, S, Israel, T & Goodrich, K 2011, 'Using Pilot Test Data to Refine an Alternative Cover Design in Northern California', International Journal of Phytoremediation, vol. 14, no. sup1, pp. 76–93.
Sperry, JS & Hacke, UG 2002, 'Desert shrub water relations with respect to soil characteristics and plant functional type', Functional Ecology, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 367–378.
Sperry, JS, Adler, FR, Campbell, GS & Comstock, JP 1998, 'Limitation of plant water use by rhizosphere and xylem conductance: results from a model', Plant, Cell & Environment, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 347–359.
Szota, C, Veneklaas, EJ, Koch, JM & Lambers, H 2007, 'Root Architecture of Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) Trees in Relation to PostMining Deep Ripping in Western Australia', Restoration Ecology, vol. 15, pp. S65–S73.
Szota, C, Farrell, C, Koch, JM, Lambers, H & Veneklaas, EJ 2011, 'Contrasting physiological responses of two co-occurring eucalypts to seasonal drought at restored bauxite mine sites', Tree Physiology, vol. 31, no. 10, pp. 1052–1066.
Veneklaas, E & Poot, P 2003, 'Seasonal patterns in water use and leaf turnover of different plant functional types in a species-rich woodland, south-western Australia', Plant and Soil, vol. 257, no. 2, pp. 295–304.
von Caemmerer, S & Farquhar, GD 1981, 'Some relationships between the biochemistry of photosynthesis and the gas exchange of leaves', Planta, vol. 153, no. 4, pp. 376–387.
Yunusa, IAM, Zeppel, MJB, Fuentes, S, Macinnis-Ng, CMO, Palmer, AR & Eamus, D 2010, 'An assessment of the water budget for contrasting vegetation covers associated with waste management', Hydrological Processes, vol. 24, no. 9, pp. 1149–1158.
Zea-Cabrera, E, Iwasa, Y, Levin, S & Rodríguez-Iturbe, I 2006, 'Tragedy of the commons in plant water use', Water Resources Research, vol. 42, no. 6.
Zuur, A, Ieno, EN, Walker, N, Saveliev, AA & Smith, GM 2009, Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R, Springer.