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Diversity, Vol. 14, Pages 13: Reclaimed Mine Sites: Forests and Plant Diversity

Diversity doi: 10.3390/d14010013

Authors:
Pavla Vachova
Marek Vach
Milan Skalicky
Alena Walmsley
Martin Berka
Kamil Kraus
Helena Hnilickova
Olga Vinduskova
Ondrej Mudrak

The relationship between vegetation and selected soil characteristics in different monoculture forest types was investigated as part of a landscape restoration project after brown coal mining. Six forest types were selected: alder (Alnus sp.), spruce (Picea sp.), pine (Pinus sp.), larch (Larix sp.), long-term deciduous forest (Quercus robur, Tilia sp.), and forest created by spontaneous succession. These stands were classified into two age categories (younger and older). The soil attributes, C/N, TC, TN, pH, and A horizon depth were assessed. The observed species were categorized into functional groups by life history, life forms according to Raunkiær, and affinity to the forest environment. C/N ratio, humus thickness, and canopy cover were the main soil parameters affecting plant communities. The highest C/N values were recorded in Pinus and Larix stands, which were significantly different from deciduous and succession stands. The highest diversity index was noted in younger stands of Alnus and the lowest in younger stands of Picea. Intermediate values of the diversity index were achieved in successional stands at both age levels and in Larix and Alnus stands. The species belonging to a functional group was not an important factor in these habitat types. The species composition and vegetation change over time in the Alnus, long-life deciduous, and Larix stands show that these species are more suitable for forestry reclamation than spruce or pine. The study also emphasizes the great value of spontaneous succession areas as full-fledged alternatives to forestry reclamation.

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