Do the dominant plant species impact the substrate and vegetation composition of post-coal mining spoil heaps?
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Abstract© 2019 Dominant species influence both species and functional composition of the vegetation as well as soil properties of the substrate. However, knowledge about the role played by dominant species in the process of shaping their habitat within post-industrial ecosystems is still limited. We aimed to assess the impact of four dominant species (Calamagrostis epigejos, Daucus carota, Poa compressa and Tussilago farfara) on soil abiotic and biotic properties, and to detect differences in species and functional composition of the vegetation types studied. We hypothesized that (1) dominant species of higher mean biomass cause lower aboveground biodiversity and (2) dominant species of higher mean biomass have a higher impact than the others on soil properties. We measured soil chemistry (TOC, N, P, K, Na, Mg content, EC, pH and enzyme activities) as well as biomass, species diversity and functional diversity of vegetation on 15 study plots (28.3 m2) for each species studied. The DCA analysis revealed a clear distinction between the patches dominated by studied species. Vegetation patches dominated by Calamagrostis epigejos were correlated with amount of biomass, canopy height CWM and specific leaf CWM. Patches dominated by Daucus carota were related to the light requirements (EIV-L), Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and K content. The vegetation patches dominated by Poa compressa were related to dehydrogenase activity, higher Mg content and species richness of the vegetation patches. The highest TOC content was recorded for T. farfara substrates, and the lowest for C. epigejos substrates. The content of potassium does not differ statistically significantly in the substrates from sites dominated by D. carota and P. compressa. The highest values of Mg content were recorded for D. carota and were statistically different from Poa compressa sites, while the higher phosphorus content (statistically significantly different) was recorded for patches dominated by T. farfara and P. compressa. Despite our assumptions, the species with the highest mean biomass (Calamagrostis epigejos) did not cause lower species or functional diversity. In contrast, Tussilago farfara has the highest impact on postindustrial site habitats on coal mine heaps, as extreme values of four soil substratum parameters were recorded on these plots. This species also decreased both species and functional diversity of vegetation. The knowledge about relationship existing between plants (aboveground vegetation) and soil organisms seems important in order to undertake suitable reclamation measures and to restore variety of functions as well as to create diverse vegetation based on native species.
CitationKompała-Bąba, A. et al. (2019) Do the dominant plant species impact the substrate and vegetation composition of post-coal mining spoil heaps? Ecological Engineering, 143, 105685.
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Ecological Engineering on 03/12/2019, available online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2019.105685 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/