Seedling growth and heavy metal accumulation of candidate woody species for revegetating Korean mine spoils

Kyung Won Seo, Yowhan Son, Charles C. Rhoades, Nam Jin Noh, Jin Woo Koo, Jeong Gyu Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Selecting plant species that can overcome harsh soil and microclimatic conditions and speed the recovery of degraded minelands remains a worldwide restoration challenge. This study evaluated the potential of three woody species and various organic and inorganic fertilization treatments for revegetating abandoned metalliferous mines in Korea. We compared survival, growth, and heavy metal uptake of species common to Korean minelands in two spoil types and a reference forest soil. Substrate type and fertilization both influenced seedling growth and metal concentrations substantially, but they had little effect on seedling survival. Fertilization increased the growth of all three species when grown in mine spoils but influenced the growth of seedlings grown in forest soil only marginally. Initial seedling survival and growth indicate that the study species can tolerate the heavy metal concentrations and other soil constraints of metalliferous spoil types. We estimate that plants can stabilize 2-22% of various heavy metals contained in spoil materials into plant biomass during 20 years of plantation growth. Combined with the erosion control and site amelioration benefits of mineland reforestation, stabilization of heavy metals in forest biomass justifies this treatment on abandoned Korean metalliferous mines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Heavy metal contamination
  • Metalliferous mining
  • Minelands
  • Phytoremediation
  • Reclamation
  • Spoils tailings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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