Handling High Soil Trace Elements Pollution: Case Study of the Odiel and Tinto Rivers Estuary and the Accompanying Salt Marshes (Southwest Iberian Peninsula)

  • Sara Muñoz VallésEmail author
  • Jesús Cambrollé
  • Jesús M. Castillo
  • Guillermo Curado
  • Juan Manuel Mancilla-Leytón
  • M. Enrique Figueroa-Clemente
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 21)


Salt marshes are being increasingly polluted by trace elements, and the design and implementation of management actions adapted to each particular situation are necessary. Salt marshes developed at one of the most heavy metal-polluted systems in the world, the Odiel and Tinto joint estuary, are threatened by high pollution levels, erosion and the invasion of the alien plant species Spartina densiflora, despite the high ecological values recognized by regional to international protection figures. Soft management on these marshes tries to preserve the equilibrium between conservation and decontamination. The ability of key native halophytes in the area to phytoextract or phytostabilizate trace elements has been taking into account. A local restoration project has resulted in a rapid recovery of the native prairies of low tidal marshes, dominated by S. maritima, becoming a promising tool to phytostabilize eroding areas in European marshes. These prairies also seem to stop the advance of the alien S. densiflora invasion and prevent erosion. On the other hand, areas invaded by S. densiflora are difficult to manage due to the acidity and pollution level of sediments preventing the establishment of any other plant species. Despite its invasive character, S. densiflora avoid at present the removal of highly toxic sediments and the trace element release to the food chain in this area.


Salt marshes Contamination Trace elements Management Invasion Phytoremediation Restoration SW Iberian Peninsula 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Muñoz Vallés
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jesús Cambrollé
    • 1
  • Jesús M. Castillo
    • 1
  • Guillermo Curado
    • 1
  • Juan Manuel Mancilla-Leytón
    • 1
  • M. Enrique Figueroa-Clemente
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Evenor-Tech. Centro de Empresas Pabellón de ItaliaSevilleSpain

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