Influence of vegetation restoration on matrix structure and erosion resistance of iron tailings sites in eastern Hebei, China

  • Anning Wang
  • Qiuxian Huang
  • Xuehua Xu
  • Xiaogang Li
  • Yuling LiEmail author
Original Paper


The effects of vegetation restoration on matrix structure and erosion resistance of iron tailings were studied at dump sites in Malanzhuang, Qian’an, Hebei province, China. The restoration process involved soil spray sowing restoration model with Rhus typhina, soil and iron tailings admixture spray sowing restoration model with Amorpha fruticosa Linn. and six-hole brick restoration model with Pinus tabulaeformis Carrière.–Amorpha fruticosa Linn. mixed-forest, and direct restoration model with Hippophae rhamnoides and Sabina vulgaris. Results show that the composition and distribution of particles and aggregates were closely related to erosion resistance (P < 0.05), indicating that matrix structure of iron tailings play an important role in erosion resistance. The improvement in matrix structure of iron tailings by the different restoration models was in the order of R. typhina soil spray sowing > A. fruticosa soil and iron tailings admixture spray sowing > mixed-forest six-hole brick > H. rhamnoides direct restoration > S. vulgaris direct restoration. The R. typhina soil spray sowing restoration model resulted in the greatest improvement in matrix structure of iron tailings, increasing the clay (10.6%) and large particle aggregates (18.7%) contents significantly (P < 0.01). Simultaneously, particle population, grading conditions (Cu = 28.86, Cs = 1.65), and aggregate stability (6.02) were significantly improved. The A. fruticosa soil and iron tailings admixture spray sowing restoration model, which effectively improved particle distribution (Cu = 8.51, Cs = 1.07), increased the number of large aggregates considerably (9.6%), thereby increasing aggregate stability (6.2). The six-hole brick model significantly increased the number of large aggregates (4.0%) and improved the stability of aggregates (6.2). H. rhamnoides direct restoration improved the stability of aggregates (5.1) but showed no other significant improvements. The effect of S. vulgaris direct restoration on matrix structure of iron tailings was not significant. Due to its dependence on matrix structure of iron tailings, the erosion resistance of R. typhina soil spray sowing restoration model was the greatest, while that of S. vulgaris direct restoration was the weakest. There was no significant difference in the erosion resistance of the other models. Overall, vegetation restoration supplemented by soil spray sowing restoration and engineering measures is superior to in situ direct vegetation restoration in the short-term. In-situ direct restoration has long-term ecological significance because of its advanced concept of near-natural restoration and the advantages of low cost, easy operation, and low secondary damage.


Erosion resistance Matrix structure Iron tailings Vegetation restoration 



We thank the members of the laboratory for their help.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anning Wang
    • 1
  • Qiuxian Huang
    • 1
  • Xuehua Xu
    • 1
  • Xiaogang Li
    • 1
  • Yuling Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of ForestryAgricultural University of HebeiBaodingPeople’s Republic of China

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