Mining of minerals that have significant impact on landscape and landscape functions affects 1% of the land surface worldwide. In the Czech Republic the extent of mining sites is estimated to be more than 800 km2 and according to the state legislation the land affected by mining should be reclaimed. There are several approaches to land restoration, which are shortly reviewed in this article, from pure technical approach to one adopting natural processes. The review shows increasing appeal of scientist and conservationist to use natural processes e.g. natural or directed succession as an alternative method of post-mining sites or industrial deposits restoration due to growing evidence of conservational value of such sites in human dominated landscapes. The natural processes used for land restoration are often argued to be slow therefore the rate of spontaneous vegetation succession was assessed in stone quarries and on spoil heaps using a sequence of panchromatic aerial images. The results showed that natural processes act fast and vegetation can reach 100% cover within 10-15 years in granodiorite quarries and on spoil heaps.
Landscape typologies are widely recognised as useful tools for landscape management and planning. However, there is wide range of different approaches producing diverse outputs, which makes the usage of landscape typologies sometimes difficult or confusing in general practice (Wascher ed., 2005). The same situation is found in the Czech Republic, where a number of holistic, expert-based and quantitative approaches were developed. These differences could be explained by different objectives of landscape classification, different input data and methods used, and by the particular author’s experience and erudition. Nevertheless, landscape typology should be clear both for scientists, landscapeplanners and policy makers. It is necessary to create valid landscape-planning documents which have to reflect regional, cultural and natural landscape specifics, for as effective and sustainable land use as possible. For such a strategic planning, clearly defined and characterised spatial units seem to be an essential base. This paper aims to introduce the fundamental methodological approaches, provides basic comparison of different Czech typologies, and discusses an optimal method for landscape planning.
Assessing the Change in Cover of Non-Indigenous Dwarf-Pine Using Aerial Photographs, a Case Study from the Hrubý Jeseník Mts., the Sudetes
In addition to ongoing climate change, alpine ecosystems are also threatened by the expansion of non-indigenous species. Expansion of dwarf pine (Pinus mugo Turra) in the Hrubý Jeseník Mts. is an excellent example of the interactions between a planted alpine shrub and alpine ecosystems dominated by grassland species. Based on a comparison of aerial photographs taken in two different periods (1971/73 and 2003) we analyzed spatial changes in the dwarf pine cover. We focused on an evaluation of the current proportion of dwarf pine stands above the upper forest limit, as well as on the effects of stand texture and environmental variables on dwarf pine expansion over this 30 year period. During this time, dwarf pine stands increased their extent by 63%. Small forest-free areas above the upper forest limit in the northern part of the Hrubý Jeseník ridge are currently covered by dwarf pine on more than 30% of their surface. Expansion of dwarf pine was fastest in open, fine-grained stands, often situated in lower altitudes and on north- to east-facing slopes. The dwarf pine expansion was more intense than predicted by simple model of vegetative growth, especially within open stands with short polycormon margins in low altitudes. This might be explained by more intensive growth in less extreme environment and/or by higher generative reproduction on these sites. Finally, we suggest that expanding dwarf pine shrubs and recessing grassland patches negatively affects the abundance of heliophilous alpine plants and insects. We believe that the results of this study could be relevant to ongoing discussions on the management of summit forest-free areas in the Hrubý Jeseník Mts.