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01.07.2008 | Ausgabe 1/2008

Environmental Management 1/2008

Iron Ore Industry Emissions as a Potential Ecological Risk Factor for Tropical Coastal Vegetation

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Management > Ausgabe 1/2008
Autoren:
Kacilda N. Kuki, Marco A. Oliva, Eduardo G. Pereira

Abstract

In the coastal zone of the Espírito Santo state, Brazil, fragments of restinga, which form a natural ecosystem, share their space with an increasing number of iron ore industries. The iron ore dust and SO2 originating from the industry processing activities can interfere with the vegetation of the adjacent ecosystems at various levels. This study was undertaken in order to evaluate the effects of industry emissions on representative members of the restinga flora, by measuring physiological and phenological parameters. Foliar samples of Ipomoea pes caprae, Canavalia rosea, Sophora tomentosa, and Schinus terebinthifolius were collected at three increasing distances from an ore industry (1.0, 5.0, and 15.0 km), and were assessed for their dust deposition, chlorophyll, and Fe content. Phenological monitoring was focused on the formation of shoots, flowers, and fruits and was also performed throughout the course of a year. The results showed that the edaphic characteristics and the mineral constitutions of the plants were affected by industry emissions. In addition, the chlorophyll content of the four species increased with proximity to the industry. Phenological data revealed that the reproductive effort, as measured by fruit production, was affected by emissions and S. tomentosa was the most affected species. The use of an integrative approach that combines biochemical and ecological data indicates that the restinga flora is under stress due to industry emissions, which on a long-term basis may put the ecosystem at risk.

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