Spontaneous vegetation succession at different central European mining sites: a comparison across seres
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- Prach, K., Lencová, K., Řehounková, K. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20: 7680. doi:10.1007/s11356-013-1563-7
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We performed detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) ordination to compare seven successional seres running in stone quarries, coal mining spoil heaps, sand and gravel pits, and extracted peatlands in the Czech Republic in central Europe. In total, we obtained 1,187 vegetation samples containing 705 species. These represent various successional stages aged from 1 to 100 years. The successional seres studied were more similar in their species composition in the initial stages, in which synathropic species prevailed, than in later successional stages. This vegetation differentiation was determined especially by local moisture conditions. In most cases, succession led to a woodland, which usually established after approximately 20 years. In very dry or wet places, by contrast, where woody species were limited, often highly valuable, open vegetation developed. Except in the peatlands, the total number of species and the number of target species increased during succession. Participation of invasive aliens was mostly unimportant. Spontaneous vegetation succession generally appears to be an ecologically suitable and cheap way of ecosystem restoration of heavily disturbed sites. It should, therefore, be preferred over technical reclamation.