Journal article

The effect of substrate compaction on plant water use and the implications for phytocap design specifications

Ruby N Michael, Bofu Yu, Brendan A Wintle, Ignatius A Doronila, Samuel TS Yuen



There is little experimental evidence to guide the design of substrate compaction for the optimal plant water use performance of a landfill phytocap. A glasshouse study was undertaken to address this with aim to evaluate the effect of substrate compaction on the water use of a phytocap plant community. Four levels of relative compaction (RC), i.e. the ratio of dry bulk density over the standard maximum dry bulk density, (72%, 77%, 82%, and 87%) were considered. The native tree and grass species selected were typical of an Australian phytocap plant community: Themeda triandra, Microlaena stipoides, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus cladocalyx, Acacia mearnsii and Allocasuarina verticillata..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by Hanson Landfill Services owners of the project site. Thank you particularly to Sam Bateman and Harry Taylor who coordinated access to the site and materials. The lead author was also partly funded by a University of Melbourne research scholarship from the School of BioSciences and the Department of Infrastructure Engineering. Thank you to Javier Cortes-Ramirez and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on drafts. Thank you to William Watson, Victor Kabay, Malinda Godino, Kenneth Brown, Simon Colman and Fenella Tekhee for field and laboratory assistance.