Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Assessing the water-purification service in an integrated agricultural wetland within the Venetian Lagoon drainage system

S. E. Pappalardo A B , H. Mohammad Saad Ibrahim A , S. Cerinato A and M. Borin A

A Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padua, Viale dell’ Universita 16, I-35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy.

B Corresponding author. Email: salvatore.pappalardo@unipd.it

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16083
Submitted: 17 March 2016  Accepted: 19 November 2016   Published online: 1 February 2017

Abstract

Wetlands are a cornerstone of beneficial ecosystem services, especially in intensive agricultural landscapes characterised by nutrient loss, and shallow and surface water bodies. Water-purification services can trap 80–90% of the sediments and eliminate 70–90% of the entering nitrogen. An experimental wetland of 3.2 ha was created within the Venetian drainage system to control nutrient loss from croplands and protect surface water bodies. The aims of the present study were to assess the water-purification service by monitoring nutrient runoff and testing the adaptability of seven macrophyte species in a floating treatment wetland system. Results showed that median concentrations of total nitrogen were 2.43 ppm at the inlet and 1.79 ppm at the outlet, whereas after an extreme rainfall event, total nitrogen concentrations were 6.34 ppm at the inlet and 1.29 ppm at the outlet. Carex spp. adapted best to the floating wetlands (433.13 g m–2 of biomass production), followed by Lythrum salicaria (210.32 g m–2). Carex spp. had the highest total nitrogen uptake (4.84 g m–2), mostly in roots (3.19 g m–2), followed by L. salicaria with 2.35 g m–2. Constructed wetlands could, therefore, play a crucial role in integrated agro-environmental management to control nutrient runoff from intensive cropping systems.

Additional keywords: biodiversity, ecosystem services, macrophytes, phytoremediation.


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