• Vegetation diversity on coal mine spoil heaps-how important is the texture of the soil substrate?

      Kompała-Bąba, A; Bierza, W; Błońska, A; Sierka, E; Magurno, F; Chmura, D; Besenyei, L; Radosz, Ł; Woźniak, G (Springer International Publishing, 2019-02-28)
      © 2019, The Author(s). The relationship between the size of the particle fractions of the soil substrate and the diversity of the spontaneously developing vegetation was investigated on coal mine spoil heaps in Upper Silesia (Southern Poland). The analyses were based on 2567 research plots of developed spontaneous vegetation and their associated soil substrate samples collected from 112 coal mine spoil heaps. For each research plot the prevailing particle size fraction was determined (stones, gravel, sand, silt), the species composition and abundance was recorded and the species richness (S), Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H′), Simpson (C) and Evenness (E) indices were used to determine species diversity. From a total of 119 research plots (in all particle size fraction categories), the values of 15 physicochemical properties (pH, electrical conductivity, water holding capacity, moisture, carbon content, total N, available P, Mg and exchange cations Ca, Mg, K, Na, fine particles (%), gravel (%), stone (%)) were obtained to asses their impact on the floristic composition of vegetation patches using Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). Additionally, functional traits of the dominant species of each vegetation patch (life forms, life strategies and socio-ecological groups), were selected to analyse their relation to substrate texture. It was shown that the highest species richness and the highest values for Shannon-Wiener diversity index, as well as Simpson and Evenness indices, were obtained in plots formed on stones. Moreover, the greatest variation in the participation of species representing different habitats, life forms, and life strategies was found on gravelly substrates. Contrary to our expectations, the vegetation diversity (in terms of both species and their functional traits) was not highest in habitats with a high composition of fine size particles.