Preliminary results of afforestation of brackish sludge mounds

Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Jan Mertens, Pieter Vervaeke, Bruno De Vos, Noël Lust

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    High population density and intensive use of land in Flanders (Northern Belgium) have resulted in a shortage of land to dump dredged sediments. In search of an area efficient solution, a mound was constructed and afforested; 50-114% more dredged sediment per unit area could be discarded by constructing mounds with a height of 6.6 m compared to conventional disposal sites. To prevent erosion, the mound was afforested. Preliminary results of tree growth and changes in soil conditions are demonstrated. Tree survival and height growth are highest in the dominant wind direction sc. the SW-NE axis. On the slopes, parallel with the dominant wind direction, tree mortality up to 80% was observed. The increase of the soil organic carbon content from 3.1 to 3.8% could be partly put down to the growth of tree roots. This increase in organic carbon has far-reaching consequences for potential soil sanitation. The high amount of CaCO3 in the soil protects the mound from internal or external acidification for the next centuries. After four growing seasons, electric conductivity was reduced to the threshold for salt sensitive plants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)567-572
    Number of pages6
    JournalEcological Engineering
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Afforestation
    • Brackish dredged sediment
    • Forested buffer
    • Shelterbelt
    • Sludge
    • Sludge mound


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