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Vegetation Monitoring on Quarries in the Russian Far North as a Basis for Creating Models and Analyzing Trends of Landscape Processes

  • Olga I. SuminaEmail author
  • Elena M. Koptseva
Chapter
Part of the Innovations in Landscape Research book series (ILR)

Abstract

The area of anthropogenically disturbed lands is constantly increasing; thus, regeneration processes in landscapes, which are substantially determined by vegetation, are being studied all over the world. Industrial expansion to the Russian Far North is causing the appearance of large territories where plant and soil cover are completely destroyed and natural vegetation recovery takes place as primary succession. Direct field monitoring produces the most exact data on vegetation dynamics. This paper presents the results of our long-term study of primary succession on quarries located in 7 areas of forest tundra and southern tundra in North-West Siberia. Vegetation was monitored on 30 stationary key plots (5 * 5 m) and on the whole area of 17 quarries. The biodiversity of vegetation was considered on two levels (species and plant communities), and changes in species composition and plant diversity were analyzed. On two quarries (the New and Old Quarries) located in forest tundra, vegetation mapping allowed us to monitor changes in their vegetation as a dynamic sequence (4, 8, 12, 31, and 35 years after the start of primary succession). A quarry with a complex ground surface relief is a good full-scale model of regeneration processes developing within a heterogeneous landscape. A multivariant model of such processes has been elaborated on the basis of the vegetation maps obtained. The model describes the main trends in natural recovery in heterogeneous landscapes in the North. In diverse quarry habitats, primary succession starts at different times, not simultaneously, and the speed of succession not only differs between different habitats, but also varies with time. The highest difference in speed is observed at the initial stage (the maximum rate is typical of accumulative habitats), while at the next stage the difference between eluvial and transeluvial habitats decreases, and later, the rate of processes differs only between eluvial and accumulative sites. As opposed to the traditional viewpoint that the speed of primary succession becomes slower from stage to stage, our results have also shown that succession could accelerate during the ‘middle’ stages, concurrently with an increase in mosses’ and lichens’ participation in communities. Developing vegetation gradually eliminates sharp contrasts in environmental conditions within a quarry, because the plant cover levels out the moisture conditions and nutrient distribution. Thus, the main trend of succession in heterogenic landscapes is an increase in vegetation control over the abiotic environment and the expansion of areas under communities of moderate moistening habitats. Our long-term experiments, knowledge, and data have the potential to be included in international projects aimed at better understanding, monitoring, forecasting, and managing landscape processes in the Arctic.

Keywords

Disturbed lands Quarry Natural vegetation recovery Primary succession Vegetation dynamics Direct monitoring Model of landscape processes Forest tundra Southern tundra Russian far north North-West Siberia 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geobotany and Plant Ecology, Faculty of BiologySt. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia

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