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The effect of soil on spatial variation of the herbaceous layer modulated by overstorey in an Eastern European poplar-willow forest

Abstract

The tree species composition can influence the dynamics of herbaceous species and enhance the spatial heterogeneity of the soil. But there is very little evidence on how both overstorey structure and soil properties affect the spatial variation of the herb layer. The aim of this study is to evaluate the factors of the soil and overstorey structure by which it is possible to explain the fine-scale variation of herbaceous layer communities in an Eastern European poplar-willow forest. The research was conducted in the “Dnipro-Orils’kiy” Nature Reserve (Ukraine). The research polygon (48°30′51″N, 34°49″02″E) was laid in an Eastern European poplar-willow forest in the floodplain of the River Protich, which is a left inflow of the River Dnipro. The site consists of 7 transects. Each transect was made up of 15 test points. The distance between rows in the site was 3 m. At the site, we established a plot of 45×21 m, with 105 subplots of 3×3 m organized in a regular grid. The adjacent subplots were in close proximity. Vascular plant species lists were recorded at each 3×3 m subplot along with visual estimates of species cover using the nine-degree Braun-Blanquet scale. Within the plot, all woody stems ≥ 1 cm in diameter at breast height were measured and mapped. Dixon’s segregation index was calculated for tree species to quantify their relative spatial mixing. Based on geobotanical descriptions, a phytoindicative assessment of environmental factors according to the Didukh scale was made. The redundancy analysis was used for the analysis of variance in the herbaceous layer species composition. The geographic coordinates of sampling locations were used to generate a set of orthogonal eigenvector-based spatial variables. Two measurements of the overstorey spatial structure were applied: the distances from the nearest tree of each species and the distance based on the evaluation of spatial density of point objects, which are separate trees. In both cases, the distance matrix of sampling locations was calculated, which provided the opportunity to generate eigenvector-based spatial variables. A kernel smoothed intensity function was used to compute the density of the trees’ spatial distribution from the point patterns’ data. Gaussian kernel functions with various bandwidths were used. The coordinates of sampling locations in the space obtained after the conversion of the trees’ spatial distribution densities were used to generate a set of orthogonal eigenvector-based spatial variables, each of them representing a pattern of particular scale within the extent of the bandwidth area structured according to distance and reciprocal placement of the trees. An overall test of random labelling reveals the total nonrandom distribution of the tree stems within the site. The unexplained variation consists of 43.8%. The variation explained solely by soil variables is equal to 15.5%, while the variation explained both by spatial and soil variables is 18.0%. The measure of the overstorey spatial structure, which is based on the evaluation of its density enables us to obtain different estimations depending on the bandwidth. The bandwidth affects the explanatory capacity of the tree stand. A considerable part of the plant community variation explained by soil factors was spatially structured. The orthogonal eigenvector-based spatial variables (dbMEMs) approach can be extended to quantifying the effect of forest structures on the herbaceous layer community. The measure of the overstorey spatial structure, which is based on the evaluation of its density, was very useful in explaining herbaceous layer community variation.

Open access
The effect of the selected remediation medium on the cadmium bioavailability in the selected ecosystem in the Southwestern locality of Slovakia

Abstract

Soil is a sensitive ecological factor. Biodegradable materials from the environment can also be used to deal with serious ecological problems. Soil affecting by remediation medium - garden compost - was analysed for toxic cadmium (Cd) in terms of environmental protection. The objective of this research was to analyse soil and compost at foothill locality of the Tribeč Mountains (Southwestern Slovakia) in the years 2015−2017 to determine Cd contents in soil and compost, pH and to assess Cd bioavailability. The analyses were carried out using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometry with seven-step Selective Sequential Extraction methods. The results obtained were evaluated statistically using the SAS 9.4 software method by Spearman’s correlation coefficient. The results showed that Cd contents in soil had reached 2.96 mg kg−1 and soil with compost (the ratio 1:1) 2.71 mg kg−1 dry matter. Cd contents in the soil exceeded maximum allowed limit of 196%. And deceased by 25% after adding compost. The pH in soil with compost varied from 6.78 to 7.98. The pH prevented the mobility of Cd about 8.3% in average. Statistical dependence was high, which was demonstrated for relationship between Cd in soil, pH and compost. Available Cd forms in soil were 53.3% and soil with compost were 45% in average. The garden compost as a remediation medium reduced Cd bioavailability.

Open access
Macrophytes in the littoral of Lake Arakhley in different states of water regime

Abstract

The study of aquatic vegetation in the littoral of the dimictic water bodies of taiga is of particular interest in case of long-term observations carried out under conditions of climate fluctuations. During the low-water period, drying of the littoral with a decrease in the water level leads to the changes in phytomass of macrophytes, as well as in the composition of species and their distribution by depth. The area of littoral covered with ice in winter is also large in the low-water period; it affects the growth of perennial plants. When the water level decreases, the sand beach replaces the sand and pebble beach; it leads to the disappearance of epilithon and the predominance of rooting plants. The features of vegetation were determined for each period of water content. The low-water period is characterised mostly by grass-type vegetation; the high-water period is characterised by vegetation of mixed type.

Open access
Morphological characteristics and variation of wood, cone and seed productions in the reforestation of Aleppo pine in Northeastern Tunisia using terrestrial and spatial index approaches

Abstract

For several decades, forest management policies have encouraged land cover changes, with the establishment of tree cover such as Aleppo pine in natural or degraded ecosystems for soil protection and the firewood production. In order to investigate the importance of Aleppo pine trees in the ecosystem, this study was conducted in the reforestation of the Aleppo pine of Northeastern Tunisia. The production of wood, cones and seeds of Aleppo pine in the 6 date reforestation in Northeastern Tunisia were surveyed using 6 plots (20 tree/plot) spread over 6 different location. Our hypothesis was to determine the characteristics that can be decisive in estimating the production of Aleppo pine in reforestation in Tunisia using terrestrial and spatial measurements including (i) age, (ii) dendrometric characteristics, (iii) silvicultural treatments, (iv) stationary data and/ or (v) remote sensing parameter (NDVI: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). We found that the Aleppo pine in Northeastern Tunisia and at young age trees (14–35 years) were more productive than the regeneration or reforestation stand, either young or old, in Northwest of Tunisia. Wood, cone and seed productions were significantly different amongst the plots (p <0.05). The NDVI was positively correlated with the production of wood, cones and seeds. Stand age, exposure and longitude were also positively correlated with the production. However, longitude and altitude were negatively correlated with the production, showing a negative effect on the morphological traits of trees and, subsequently, their growth. The regression analysis indicates that NDVI and age were the most determinant factors of seed production. This research suggests that reforestation planning, particularly the choice of altitude and latitude, may result in improved tree morphology that may increase Aleppo pine wood seed and cone crops.

Open access
The state of bio-ecological characteristics of the one-year shoots of Robinia pseudoacacia L. Under the conditions of industrial pollution

Abstract

The paper studies the influence of industrial pollution on bio-ecological characteristics of the one-year shoot of Robinia pseudoacacia L. in the conditions of the city of Dnipro, Ukraine. It analyses the state of biometric parameters of the shoot and anatomic indices of the stem of the studied species exposed to toxic gases. It was found that there are adaptive changes in the histological structure of the stem of R. pseudoacacia under the conditions of technogenesis. The study revealed that bio-ecological characteristics of the black locust are highly resistant to industrial emissions with big shares of SO2 and NO2. It was suggested to use R. pseudoacacia for greening of the technogenic territories.

Open access
Trophic characteristics of Lymnaea stagnalis (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Lymnaeidae) in toxic environment

Abstract

The influence of ions of heavy metals (copper, cadmium, nickel, zinc, cobalt and manganese) was investigated on the basis of trophic characteristics: the average daily ration (ADR), and duration of food passage (DFP) of the Lymnaea stagnalis L. in various concentrations of toxicants in vivisection experiment. In addition to these indicators, the total amount of food consumed in the solutions with various concentrations of pollutants was found out during the chronic experiment and it was calculated for an individual (average monthly ration – AMR). It leads to the conclusions about the intensity of food consuming considering different levels of intoxication. In solutions with lethal concentrations, the death of animals occurs during the first day of its impact due to the damage of tissues and organ systems. Chronic lethal concentrations of toxicants inhibit the nutrition of pond snails dramatically. At the beginning of the experiment, solutions of heavy metals with sublethal concentrations give some stimulatory effect on the digestive system of molluscs that is replaced by its suppression in case of longer being in the toxic environment. The influence of toxicants within a subthreshold limit cannot be considered safe because of the cumulative properties of heavy metals – they become sublethal with prolonged exposure time.

Open access
Utricularia vulgaris L. and Salvinia natans (L.) All. heavy metal (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn and Pb) bioaccumulation specificity in the area of Bardača fishpond

Abstract

Paper deals with seasonal changes in heavy metal bioaccumulation (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn and Pb) in Utricularia vulgaris L. and Salvinia natans (L.) All. of two localities (Necik and Sinjak – active fishpond basins) in the area of Bardača fishpond. According to our results, the better accumulator of Fe (3035 mg/kg) and Zn was S. natans (163.55 mg/kg), whereas Utricularia vulgaris better accumulates Mn (620 mg/kg) and Cu (10.18 mg/kg). Amounts of Pb in both investigated macrophyte were below the detection level (<0.51 mg/kg). The values of the bioaccumulation factor (BAC) of the tested metals were >1 or ~1 for both species, and the BAC values decreased in the following order in both investigated species: Fe > Mn > Cu > Zn. The results obtained indicated that tested macrophyte show very good characteristics as bioaccumulators and, thanks to this fact, they could be used in phytoremediation technique successfully in water-polluted ecosystem.

Open access
The Application of Directional Univariate Structure Functions Analysis for Studying the Spatial Anisotropy of Environmental Variables

Abstract

As anisotropy is a fundamental property of the real-world environmental spatial variables, the conventional omnidirectional variograms and correlograms do not provide means enough to characterise spatial dependence between observations. The purpose of this article is to introduce directional univariate structure functions analysis to explore and quantify the spatial anisotropy of environmental variables. Analysis of six environmental variables within three physical–geographical regions proved the leading role of relief for landscape differentiation; it also defined the size and extension of major landforms responsible for the organisation of spatial pattern. The arrangement of the vegetation patches demonstrated linkage with the major landforms. The other relief derivatives, being prone to noise and artefacts in the original data, showed a random-variable type of behaviour. In the lack of any particular spatially anisotropic structure, the results of the analysis can provide a clue about meaningful distances of interest at finer scales. The approach can also be an exploratory tool for discrete measurements to recognise the features of spatial continuity.

Open access
The Characteristics of Aftershock Activities of Dien Bien Earthquake on 19 February 2001 and Their Relation to the Local Geomorphological, Tectonic Features

Abstract

This article examines in detail the characteristics of Dien Bien earthquake on 19 February 2001 and its aftershocks. On the basis of the temporal development of aftershocks and the spatial distribution of tectonic faults, five aftershock series have been determined. The analysis of spatial distribution and temporal evolution of these five aftershock series has clarified the development in the source zone of Dien Bien earthquake, which is closely related to the active and recent activities of tectonic faults in the area, especially Lai Chau Dien Bien fault. The comparison between characteristics of aftershock activities of Dien Bien earthquake and geomorphological features as well as tectonic activities in the area has indicated that the magnitude of these aftershocks and their temporal evolution (early or late) depend not only on the closer or further distance compared to the mainshock and the active faults that cause them but also on terrain elevation, slope index, lineament density and their positions relative to other tectonic faults in the studied area.

Open access
The Contingency of Soil Microorganisms and the Selected Soil Biotic and Abiotic Parameters Under Different Land-Uses

Abstract

Land use changes are local phenomena with global impact. They have an impact in a cumulative sense on biodiversity or soil degradation. This study aimed to examine the effects of different land-uses (arable land, permanent grasslands, abandoned grasslands, forest land) on the selected biotic and abiotic soil parameters in the Slovak mountain study sites Liptovská Teplička and Tajov. Biotic (microbial community structure, earthworm number and fresh body biomass, arthropod number and fresh body biomass), and abiotic chemical soil parameters (pH, total organic carbon, total nitrogen, nutrients) were measured. According to MALDI-TOF (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight), several bacterial strains were identified. Mutual relations between soil microorganisms and soil biotic and abiotic properties determined by different land uses were analysed. Microbial response expressed as average well-colour development (AWCD) values indicated relations between higher microbial diversity and higher nutrient availability at both study sites. In the comparison of land use types, permanent grasslands (PG) showed the lowest microbial activity in the depth of 0–0.1 m. But in the depth of 0.2-0.3 m in PG of both study sites, the higher microbial activity was recorded compared to the depth of 0-0.1 m. In addition, lower AWCD values in PG were in line with the lower available P and K content but higher earthworm density and biomass.

Open access