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See detailChemical soil factors influencing plant assemblages along copper-cobalt gradients: implications for conservation and restoration
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg et al

in Plant and Soil (2013), 373

Aims Define the chemical factors structuring plant communities of three copper-cobalt outcrops (Tenke-Fungurume, Katangan Copperbelt, D. R. Congo) presenting extreme gradients. Methods To discriminate ... [more ▼]

Aims Define the chemical factors structuring plant communities of three copper-cobalt outcrops (Tenke-Fungurume, Katangan Copperbelt, D. R. Congo) presenting extreme gradients. Methods To discriminate plant communities, 172 vegetation records of all species percentage cover were classified based on NMDS and the Calinski criterion. Soil samples were analyzed for 13 chemical factors and means compared among communities with ANOVA. Partial canonical correspondence analysis (pCCA) was used to determine amount of variation explained individually by each factor and site effect. Results Seven communities were identified. Six of the studied communities were related to distinct sites. Site effect (6.0 % of global inertia) was identified as the most important factor related to plant communities’ variation followed by Cu (5.5 %), pH (3.6 %) and Co (3.5 %). Unique contribution of site effect (3.8 %) was higher than that of Cu (1.1 %) and Co (1.0 %). Conclusions In restoration, not only Cu and Co contents will be important to maintain vegetation diversity, attention should also be given to co-varying factors potentially limiting toxicity of metals: pH, organic matter, Ca and Mn. Physical parameters were also identified as important in the creation of adequate conditions for diverse communities. Further studies should focus on the effect of physical parameters and geology. [less ▲]

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See detailCes essences importantes que l’on retrouve en forêt claire (miombo)
Hick, Aurélie ULg; Hallin, Maud; Kizika Wimana, Pacifique et al

Poster (2013, November 29)

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See detailPlant ecological niche distribution along heavy metal gradients
Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Monty, Arnaud ULg; Seleck, Maxime ULg et al

Conference (2013, June 26)

Why species do not occur everywhere? The concept of ecological niche is central to understand relationships among biotic/abiotic factors and species distribution. Gradients of environmental stress ... [more ▼]

Why species do not occur everywhere? The concept of ecological niche is central to understand relationships among biotic/abiotic factors and species distribution. Gradients of environmental stress associated to interspecific interactions generate testable patterns of specie’s response curves. Distribution of response curves have been seldom tested along toxicity gradient, in contrast to resource gradients. On Katangan copper hills (south R.D.C.), natural copper and cobalt concentrations span a large range: 2 - 1000 mg kg-1 for cobalt and 30 - 10 000 mg kg-1 for copper. In this study, we evaluate three hypotheses related to niche distributions and shapes along metal toxic gradients: (1) Species optima are uniformly distributed over copper-cobalt gradient. (2) Realized niche width varies in relation to the niche optimum along copper and cobalt gradient. (3) Absolute values of skewness coefficient are higher when plant species optima are in the extremes of cobalt gradient with a niche tails toward mesic conditions. Realized niches of 80 taxa were modeled with general additive models (GAM) using presence/absence data in 172 1m² plots. Niche optima, niche widths and skewness coefficients were estimated from species response curves. The three hypotheses were globally validated. Three groups of species were distinguished according to their optima position along metal gradient with packed optima on intermediate concentrations suggesting higher interspecific competition in low metal concentrations. Niche width increased with metal concentrations. Highest metal tolerant plant species had broader niches. Skewness coefficient was inversely related to niche optima positions. Our study demonstrates that species distribution pattern on toxicity gradient presents similarities with resource gradient. Broad realized amplitude of species adapted to high levels of copper cobalt concentrations suggests that fundamental niche of specialist metallophytes may be larger than expected. This should be further tested in controlled conditions in association to competition tests. [less ▲]

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See detailGuide to selected miombo species regeneration (Final version 2.2)
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Hick, Aurélie ULg; Ilunga wa Ilunga, Edouard et al

Report (2013)

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See detailCopperflora.org - website
Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Lebrun, Julie ULg; Seleck, Maxime ULg et al

Textual, factual or bibliographical database (2012)

This website is intended as a place of exchange for scientists and mine managers interested in the conservation, the restoration and the taxonomy of the copper-cobalt flora.

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See detailModelling realized niche of metallophyte species along copper and cobalt gradients on Katanga copper hills
Boisson, Sylvain ULg; Seleck, Maxime ULg; Guillaume, Arielle et al

Poster (2012, February 10)

In South Central Africa were identified more than 650 plant species tolerant to heavy metals, several of which endemic to Katanga and critically endangered by mining activities. These metallophyte are ... [more ▼]

In South Central Africa were identified more than 650 plant species tolerant to heavy metals, several of which endemic to Katanga and critically endangered by mining activities. These metallophyte are distributed over a hundred hills containing high copper and cobalt concentrations (20 to 10000 mg/kg for copper and 2 to 1000 mg/kg for cobalt). To understand the response of metallophyte to heavy metals, the ecological niches of 80 cupro-cobaltophytes were modeled with general additive models (GAM). Results show that (1) three groups of species were identified according to their optimum along a metal concentrations gradient and (2) a positive relationship exists between niche amplitude and optimum copper concentration. [less ▲]

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See detailCopper-Cobalt Flora Report, Oxide Project Tenke Fungurume Mining,
Lebrun, Julie ULg; Seleck, Maxime ULg; Ilunga wa Ilunga, Edouard et al

Report (2012)

Baseline study, impact assessment and management measures for copper-cobalt habitat

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See detailBiodiversity action plans: Kabwelunono [1] and Shimbidi. Proposal: long version
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Lebrun, Julie ULg; Ilunga wa Ilunga, Edouard et al

Report (2011)

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See detailSoil-plants relations diversity in extreme ecosystems and implications for restoration: the case of the cupriferous vegetation, in Katanga, D.R. Congo
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Lebrun, Julie ULg; Piqueray, Julien ULg et al

Conference (2011, June 13)

Katangan copper and cobalt hills in the D. R. Congo are isolated ecosystems on highly toxics substrates (>10.000 ppm Cu, with strongly marked gradients). As a result, those outcrops host singular vegetal ... [more ▼]

Katangan copper and cobalt hills in the D. R. Congo are isolated ecosystems on highly toxics substrates (>10.000 ppm Cu, with strongly marked gradients). As a result, those outcrops host singular vegetal communities – with a diversity of specialized metallophytes species – related to soil metals content. Recent resumption of mining activities in the area threatens those ecosystems. To allow the restoration of those communities a fine understanding of the relationship maintained with the edaphic factors is required, as well as a characterization of the intra and inter sites variation. Three outcrops have been studied on the basis of a systematic grid, following the a priori trace elements gradient. In 1m² quadrats, a composite soil sample (0-15 cm depth) was taken and the cover (%) of each species of vascular plants was recorded. Soils were analyzed for pH, C, N, and bioavailables Cu, Co, Zn, Mn, Fe, K, Mg, Ca and P. The cluster analysis and Canonical Correspondence Analysis show that different sites present different soil conditions and vegetation. Concentrations in Cu are an important explicative factor of the flora’s variation but gradients in others edaphic parameters (pH, Mg, Mn, K, Ca) appear to be essential. However, parameters explaining the diversity of communities vary from one site to another indicating a great diversity of those ecosystems and the need to develop restoration strategies relevant for each site. [less ▲]

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See detailConservation of endangered plant communities: a study case of ecosystem reconstruction in Katanga (DRC)
Lebrun, Julie ULg; Handjila, Guylain; Bizoux, Jean-Philippe ULg et al

Conference (2011)

The Katangan copper-cobalt deposits (Democratic Republic of Congo) are part of the Central African Copperbelt, one of the world’s greatest metallogenic province. The ore comes to the surface in a series ... [more ▼]

The Katangan copper-cobalt deposits (Democratic Republic of Congo) are part of the Central African Copperbelt, one of the world’s greatest metallogenic province. The ore comes to the surface in a series of hills isolated in the miombo woodland. These unique ecosystems present high metals concentration levels where a specific vegetation develops. Flora comprises more than 600 species from which 30 are endemics. Due to the recent revival of mining activities in the region, copper plant communities of Katanga and their associated flora are now critically threatened. Tenke Fungurume Mining sarl (TFM), an important mining company operating in Katanga, has developed a Biological Diversity Action Plan (BDAP) to conserve copper-cobalt flora and mitigate potential species extinction risk. One of the most original BDAP tasks is an ecosystem reconstruction experiment that should preserve plant communities representative of the diversity found on the exploited hill and to provide the plant material for further post-exploitation restoration. From December 2007 to April 2009, full vegetation blocks were translocated with their soil mat on an adequate mineral substrate of 1500m². Since 2008, the artificial ecosystem is monitored every year. Three communities were successfully recreated. A total of 144 species were found in the ecosystem which represents more than 80% of the original species richness. The reconstructed ecosystem seems to favour the most tolerant species to copper. This first experience shows that ecosystem reconstruction is successful and may be used as a strategy to conserve copper-cobalt plant communities in their habitat. [less ▲]

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See detailConservation of endemic plants from the Katanga copper belt (DR Congo)
Lebrun, Julie ULg; Minengo Handjila, Guylain; Weiskopf, Thomas et al

Poster (2010, December)

The Katanga copper belt, where natural outcrops of copper-rich rocks are colonised by highly original plant communities, has been recognised as a hotspot for metallophyte species. The flora comprises more ... [more ▼]

The Katanga copper belt, where natural outcrops of copper-rich rocks are colonised by highly original plant communities, has been recognised as a hotspot for metallophyte species. The flora comprises more than 600 species from which 30 are endemics. These plants represent a valuable phytogenetic resource for revegetation and restoration programs, for the phytostabilisation and for the remediation of heavy metal pollutions. However, the flora of metalliferous soils is threatened by mining activities in Katanga. Actions aiming at preserving these species are therefore urgent. Since 2007, a unique conservation project has been launched by scientists supported by a mining company. The aim is to elaborate a program that allows biodiversity conservation while being compatible with mining activities. The project combines in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies involving ecosystem reconstruction, species translocations, protected areas designation and the development of seed banks in Belgium and in Katanga. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil-plants relations diversity in extreme ecsystems and implications for restoration: the case of the cupriferous vegetation, in Katanga, D.R. Congo
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Guillaume, Arielle; Lebrun, Julie ULg et al

Conference (2010, August 25)

Katangan copper and cobalt hills in the D. R. Congo are isolated ecosystems on highly toxics substrates (>10.000 ppm Cu, with strongly marked gradients). As a result, those outcrops host singular vegetal ... [more ▼]

Katangan copper and cobalt hills in the D. R. Congo are isolated ecosystems on highly toxics substrates (>10.000 ppm Cu, with strongly marked gradients). As a result, those outcrops host singular vegetal communities – with a diversity of specialized metallophytes species – related to soil metals content. Recent resumption of mining activities in the area threatens those ecosystems. To allow the restoration of those communities a fine understanding of the relationship maintained with the edaphic factors is required, as well as a characterization of the intra and inter sites variation. Three outcrops have been studied on the basis of a systematic grid, following the a priori trace elements gradient. In 1m² quadrats, a composite soil sample (0-15 cm depth) was taken and the cover (%) of each species of vascular plants was recorded. Soils were analyzed for pH, C, N, and bioavailables Cu, Co, Zn, Mn, Fe, K, Mg, Ca and P. The cluster analysis and Canonical Correspondence Analysis show that different sites present different soil conditions and vegetation. Concentrations in Cu are an important explicative factor of the flora’s variation but gradients in others edaphic parameters (pH, Mg, Mn, K, Ca) appear to be essential. However, parameters explaining the diversity of communities vary from one site to another indicating a great diversity of those ecosystems and the need to develop restoration strategies relevant for each site. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversité des relations sol plantes dans les écosystèmes extrémophiles et implications pour la restauration : le cas des végétations cupricoles du Katanga, RDC.
Seleck, Maxime ULg; Lebrun, Julie ULg; Guillaume, Arielle ULg et al

Conference (2010, March 31)

Les collines de cuivre et de cobalt du Katanga (RDC) sont des milieux isolés présentant des substrats hautement toxiques (>10.000 ppm cuivre, gradients très marqués). De ce fait, ces gisements hébergent ... [more ▼]

Les collines de cuivre et de cobalt du Katanga (RDC) sont des milieux isolés présentant des substrats hautement toxiques (>10.000 ppm cuivre, gradients très marqués). De ce fait, ces gisements hébergent des communautés végétales originales, avec une diversité d’espèces métallophytes spécialisées, en relation étroite avec la concentration en métaux du sol. La récente reprise des activités minières dans la région menace grandement ces écosystèmes. La restauration de ces communautés végétales nécessite une compréhension fine des relations entretenues avec leur environnement édaphique et la caractérisation de la diversité intra et inter sites de ces communautés. Trois gisements ont fait l’objet d’une étude détaillée sur base d’un échantillonnage systématique en fonction du gradient à priori d’ETM. Dans des placette de 1m², un échantillon composite de sols a été prélevé à deux profondeurs : 0-15 cm et 30-45 cm et analysé pour : pH, Corg, N tot, Cu, Co, Zn, Mn, Fe, K, Mg, Ca et P biodisponibles. L’abondance des espèces présentes au sein des quadrats a été mesurée selon leur pourcentage de recouvrement. L’analyse en groupement et la mise en relation flore-sol par les méthodes de CCA indiquent que les sites présentent des conditions de sol et des végétations bien différenciées bien que les deux mêmes formations sont présentes. Les concentrations en cuivre sont un facteur explicatif important de la variation de la flore mais d’autres paramètres édaphiques s’avèrent également essentiels (Mg, Mn, K, Ca). Toutefois la sélection des paramètres édaphique expliquant la variation de la flore diffère d’un site à l’autre indiquant la grande diversité de ces écosystèmes et la nécessité de développer des approches de restauration spécifiques à chaque site. [less ▲]

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See detailBiodiversity Conservation and Mining : a Study Case of Ecosystem Reconstruction in Katanga (DRC)
Lebrun, Julie ULg; Seleck, Maxime ULg; Semereab, Ezana et al

Conference (2009, September 03)

The South of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Katanga) and adjoining regions in the North of Zambia comprise some of the largest ore bodies of cobalt and copper in the world. Katangan copper hills harbor ... [more ▼]

The South of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Katanga) and adjoining regions in the North of Zambia comprise some of the largest ore bodies of cobalt and copper in the world. Katangan copper hills harbor about 40 endemics as well as particular steppic plant communities. This Biological Diversity Action Plan (BDAP) is an activity program for the conservation of copper-cobalt flora and vegetation and mitigation of potential species extinction risk, during the early construction phase of the Tenke Fungurume Mining Corp. (TFM) project. Six potential taxa of concern (IUCN criteria) have been identified in the TFM concession. In situ conservation is fulfilled through the setting of a single large reserve. In parallel, important efforts have been devoted to ex-situ conservation strategy to re-establish vegetation and species after mining activities cessation. This includes: - Translocation of 3500 individuals of plants of concern to the nature reserve. - Ecosystem engineering with the reconstruction of an artificial copper/cobalt ecosystem. - Ex-situ seed bank with 300 seed samples (at least 50 seeds) collected belonging to 40 species and used for short and long term conservation, germination tests and micro-propagation tests. All these efforts represent an important step towards the conservation of copper-cobalt flora. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution à l’écologie de la restauration des écosystèmes cuprifères : Analyses des relations sols-communautés végétales de deux collines de cuivre du Katanga, RDC
Seleck, Maxime ULg

Master's dissertation (2009)

Copper-cobalt hills in Katanga (D.R. Congo) host singular plant communities. Those are highly endangered by mining activities. The preservation of communities requires the relations with the edaphic ... [more ▼]

Copper-cobalt hills in Katanga (D.R. Congo) host singular plant communities. Those are highly endangered by mining activities. The preservation of communities requires the relations with the edaphic factors to be well understood. The study site is composed of two copper outcrops – Fungurume V and Kavifwafwaulu I – situated within the Tenke Fungurume mining claim. 84 and 43 quadrats were sampled for soils and plants covers were determined. Pedological drills descriptions completed the field work. Collected data on vegetation and soils analyzed for granulometry, pHs, bioavailables contents in Cu, Co, Zn, Mn, Fe, K, Mg, Ca and P were subjected to statistical analysis to determine: (1) whether or not hills are distinct; (2) soils groups and their edaphic characteristics; (3) plant communities, their conservatory status and the edaphic factors influencing and (4) the aggregation between communities and soils groups. The results from this study indicate that (i) soils and communities are distinct from one hill to the other; (ii) five and four soils groups form continuums within the hills for the edaphic parameters; (iii) seven and five communities are split between steppe savannas and steppes/swards and are notably determined by bioavailables Cu, Co and Mg and (iv) Fungurume V presents a good aggregation between soils groups and plants communities while the situation is not as clear for Kavifwafwaulu I were communities present a pronounced overlapping. Recommendations based on soils groups are provided for the preservation of interesting plant communities. [less ▲]

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