Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1321–1330 | Cite as

Characterization of soil physico-chemical parameters and limitations for revegetation in serpentine quarry soils (NW Spain)

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Seijo
  • María Luisa Andrade
Phytoremediation of Polluted Soils: Recent Progress and Developments



Quarrying activities in areas with serpentinized rocks may have a negative impact on plant growth. Quarry soils generally offer hostile environments for plant growth due to their low-nutrient availability, low organic matter, and high-trace metal content.

Materials and methods

In order to determine the factors that can limit plant revegetation, this study was carried out in two serpentine quarries in Galicia (NW Spain): one abandoned in 1999 and the other still active.

Results and discussion

The results show that in soils developed in the abandoned quarry, the limitations for revegetation were: moderate alkaline pH (7.87–8.05), strong Ca/Mg (<1) imbalance, low N (<0.42 mg kg−1) and P (<2 mg kg−1) content, and high total heavy-metal content (Co 76–147 mg kg−1; Cr 1370–2600 mg kg−1; and Ni 1340–2040 mg kg−1). The limitations were much less intense in the soils developed in the substratum in the active quarry, which were incipient soils poorly developed and permanently affected by the quarrying activity.


Restoration work should be geared toward establishing a stable diverse vegetation cover, including serpentinophile species, which would provide the necessary modifications to correct nutritive imbalances and improve soil quality.


Magnesium/calcium balance Pollution Serpentinite quarries Soil fertility Spolic Technosol 



This research was supported by Projects EM2013/18 (Xunta de Galicia) and MICIN- CGL2013-45494-R (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad - Spain). A. Rodríguez-Seijo thanks the University of Vigo for his pre-doctoral fellowship (P.P. 00VI 131H 64102).

Compliance with ethical standards

We confirm that the manuscript has been read and approved by all named authors and that there are no other persons who satisfied the criteria for authorship but are not listed. This research does not involve human participants and/or animals.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests with any other persons, organizations, or communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Seijo
    • 1
  • María Luisa Andrade
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology and Soil ScienceUniversidade de VigoVigoSpain

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