Strategies To Enhance Sustainable
West Midlands/South Yorkshire
This project uses a combination of extensive and intensive elements - a survey of the physico-chemical and biological conditions of a range of industrially damaged sites, and an analysis of the function of a key group of the soil biota, namely, root symbionts.
The complexity of soils means that it is necessary to use a multi-dimensional and multi-variate approach to assess the ‘health’ of soils. Particular emphasis on key groups in the soil microbial and faunal biota, their eco-toxicological responses and the ability of soils to support plant growth will provide a sensitive means of determining the combined effects of many interacting factors on soil health in the urban environment. The project will also examine soil physical properties, nutrient availability and contaminant loads and will relate these to the biological parameters. To be able to offer guidance on rehabilitation strategies, however, it is also necessary to determine the impact of variation in soil physico-chemical parameters and biological diversity on the function and sustainability of the urban ecosystem. This requires an intensive investigation of the biological performance of a key set of species.
Planting (or occasionally, natural regeneration) of trees is a standard goal for restoration of urban sites. All trees are naturally, and often effectively obligately, symbiotic. The project will, therefore, undertake an intensive investigation of the interaction between trees and their microbial symbionts, since tree survival on degraded soils is almost certainly not related simply to their capacity to cope directly with contaminants and poor soil condition, but also the ability of their root symbionts to develop and function in the soil. The symbionts are, therefore, a critical part of the biological component of urban soils, necessary for its health and sustainable use, and can be regarded as key species.
January 1998 Four years
University of York
CEH Monks Wood
British Geological Survey
University of Reading
British Gas plc
Further information is available from the following contacts:
Lead Researcher: Prof A Fitter
Tel: 01904 432814, Fax: 01904 432860, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
URGENT Programme Manager: Graham Leeks
Tel: 01491 692203, Fax: 01491 692313, e-mail: email@example.com