Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 961807, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/961807
Research Article

Heathland Restoration Techniques: Ecological Consequences for Plant-Soil and Plant-Animal Interactions

School of Applied Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern-Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK

Received 9 August 2011; Accepted 15 September 2011

Academic Editors: C. Geron and C. F. J. Meyer

Copyright © 2011 Anita Diaz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We compare the soil and plant community development during heathland restoration on improved farmland when achieved through soil stripping with that achieved through soil acidification. We also test the potential for toxic metals to be made more available to plant and animal species as a result of these treatments. Acidification with elemental sulphur was found to be more effective than soil stripping for establishing an ericaceous sward despite the high levels of phosphate still present within the soil. However, both soil acidification and soil stripping were found to have the potential to increase the availability of potentially toxic metals. Acidification increased uptake of both aluminium and zinc in two common plant species Agrostis capillaris and Rumex acetosella and decreased the abundance of surface active spiders. The potential consequences for composition of restored heathland communities and for functioning of food chains are discussed.