Phosphorus Release due to Decomposition of Wetland Plants
Agricultural activities are major sources of non-point pollutants causing eutrophication. Vegetated constructed wetlands are used as a best management practice for sequestration of nutrients from agricultural runoff. However, plants release nutrients back into the system as they decompose after senescence, affecting the nutrient removal efficiency of a constructed wetland. This information is important for a focused selection of plants and for improving the effectiveness of a constructed wetland. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study the release of phosphorus by common freshwater macrophytes - Juncus effusus, Carex lurida and Dichanthelium acuminatum var. acuminatum during plant decomposition. Microcosms with the mixed culture of these three species showed higher phosphorus retention rates compared to monoculture microcosms. Results indicate that plant species differ in their nutrient removal efficiencies when grown in the mixed culture compared to monoculture treatments, indicating that nutrient removal efficiencies vary with plant species composition. Thus, plant species may play an important role in determining the phosphorus removal rates of vegetated constructed wetlands.
KeywordsDecomposition Phosphorus Constructed wetlands Dichanthelium acuminatum Juncus effusus and Carex lurida
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