The spoil heaps from brown coal mining without technical reclamation are interesting specific sites for ecological relationships observation. This research was aimed at investigating whether topographic features, which determine soil nutrient and moisture distribution, in combination with soil fauna (wireworm and earthworm) presence, affect plant community composition at a spontaneously revegetated post mining area with an undulating surface. Two sites of different age with three types of topographic features were selected, soil moisture and nutrient contents were measured, and plant community composition and soil macrofauna community were sampled at each position. Wireworms were present at all positions and were most abundant at the bottoms of waves at the younger site; their presence was correlated with the presence of several plant species with high palatability for wireworms, but the direction of the interaction is not clear. Earthworms were only present at the older site and had the highest abundance at flat sections. Earthworm presence affected the amount of nitrogen in soil - the highest nitrogen content was at the site with the highest earthworm density and was followed by a higher diversity of plant community. The plant community composition was generally correlated with plant available nutrient content - especially P and N. We infer that topographic features affect nutrient and soil fauna distribution, which consequently influences the plant community composition.
Wetlands and particularly peatlands are the main natural source of methane. Data indicate that 10-45% of methane emission comes from these sources. Methane emission from wetlands is the result of the balance between methanogenesis and methanotrophic processes and is actively affected by the wetland plant community composition. There are many factors affecting the balance of CH4: for instance, vegetation has a strong effect on CH4 emissions from wetland ecosystems by influencing methane production, consumption and transport in the soil. The effects of plants on methane fluxes may be mediated by: molecular diffusion, internal transport through plant aerenchyma tissues and ebullition. Methane is formed in the process of methanogenesis under anaerobic conditions. It may then be emitted into the atmosphere directly from the soil or by internal transport through the plant. Alternatively, it may undergo methane oxidation by methanotrophic bacteria, both free-living in the root zone and associated with the host plant in symbiosis. Sphagnum moss is of particular importance for this processes as it contains methanotrophic bacteria in its endophytic system. Methanotrophic bacteria live inside the dead hyaline cells or on the surface of Sphagnum leaves and are able to oxidise methane produced in the soil during methanogenesis, making peatlands a natural biofilter for methane, one of the main greenhouse gases
Carbonaceous, three-dimensionally preserved macroscopic plant remains from the Lubstów, Gosławice and Pątnów brown coal open-pit mines are described and illustrated, providing a comprehensive elaboration of the middle Miocene carpological floras of the Konin region. The diaspores represent the following families: Pinaceae, Sciadopityaceae, Cupressaceae, Annonaceae, Cabombaceae, Nymphaeaceae, Araceae, Typhaceae, Cyperaceae, Vitaceae, Rosaceae, Rhamnaceae, Fagaceae, Myricaceae, Cornaceae, Nyssaceae, Symplocaceae, Ericaceae, Araliaceae, and Adoxaceae. Forty-two species were recognised or documented for the first time in the Konin region. Two genera, three species and three morphotypes are described as new taxa.
Most of these plant remains represent azonal vegetation. Ericaceous bogs, pine bogs and mixed coniferous bogs, accompanied by Gyptostrobus swamp forests and various aquatic plant communities, are suggested as the most widespread vegetation types. Remains representing mesophytic, zonal vegetation, resembling extant evergreen broad-leaved and mixed mesophytic forests, are sparse. A Sciadopitys raised bog, a mixed coniferous bog subtype, was one of the important biomass sources forming the brown coal of the I-Middle Polish seam group. Other bog types recognised in Lubstów presumably also played a part in this process. Wildfire is suggested as an important factor controlling the Miocene vegetation of the Konin region.
The floristic composition and lithostratigraphy indicate the Badenian age (16.3–12.8 Ma) for the studied floras, but radiometric data suggest that two Lubstów floras are older and one is younger than 13.6 Ma. Biostrati-graphically, Lubstów floras were correlated with the Klettwitz – Salzhausen floristic complex. Based on several climatic indicators and biostratigraphic correlation, the climate is estimated to have been humid, warm-temperate or subtropical.
The upper Miocene lower Rhenish Basin floras are the most comparable in floristic and plant communities’ composition. Tropical – subtropical, Mediterranean and extinct genera represent approximately 40% of the genera identified in Lubstów.
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