Influence of landfill gas on the microdistribution of grass establishment through natural colonization

Douglas H. Trotter, John A. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many revegetated landfills have poor cover including bare areas where plants do not grow. This study, on the Bisasar Road Landfill site in South Africa, assessed grass species preferences to microhabitat conditions in a mosaic of patches of well-established grassed areas and bare, nonvegetated areas. Factors, including soil CO2, CH4, O2, nutrients, and other general soil conditions, were measured in relation to species distribution and grass biomass in the field. Cynodon dactylon was the dominant grass in the established grass areas but was less abundant in the areas bordering the bare areas where Paspalum paspalodes and Sporobolus africanus were common. A number of soil factors measured were significantly correlated with grass biomass and these included Mg, Ca, Zn, Mn, K, temperature, moisture, and CO2. However, a laboratory bioassay using the growth of C. dactylon with soils removed from the landfill indicated that there were no differences in the soils from the bare areas and those that supported high plant biomass. Thus, no nutrient deficiency or chemical toxicity was inherent in the soil in the laboratory. The results of the field investigation and bioassay indicated that soil CO2 as a result of landfill gas infiltration into the root zone was probably the main factor causing bare areas on the landfill where no grass species could colonize and grow and that C. dactylon was more sensitive to elevated soil CO2 than other grass species such as P. paspalodes and S. africanus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology


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