Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Julie C. Zinnert

Second Advisor

Donald R. Young


At least 110 million landmines have been planted since the 1970s in about 70 nations, many of which remain in place today. Some risk of detection may be mitigated using currently available remote sensing techniques when vegetation is present. My study focused on using plants as phytosensors to detect buried explosives. I exposed three species representing different functional types (Cyperus esculentus (sedge), Ulmus alata (tree), Vitis labrusca (vine)) to 500 mg kg-1 of Composition B (Comp B; 60/40 mixture of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT)), a commonly used explosive mixture, and measured functional traits and reflectance over a nine-week period. Cyperus esculentus was not a good indicator for the presence of explosive compounds. Comp B treatment woody species, U. alata and V. labrusca, exhibited changes in pigment content, leaf area, specific leaf area, dry leaf biomass, and canopy reflectance. The efficacy of plants as landmine detectors is species and/or functional group dependent.


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