Ecological Features of Spontaneous Vascular Flora of Serpentine Post-Mining Sites in Lower Silesia

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the ecological characteristics of vascular plants colonizing serpentine mining waste dumps and quarries in Lower Silesia. The investigated flora was analyzed with regard to species composition, geographical-historical status, life forms, as well as selected ecological factors, such as light and trophic preferences, soil moisture and reaction, value of resistance to increased heavy metals content in the soil, seed dispersal modes and occurrence of mycorrhiza. There were 113 species of vascular plants, belonging to 28 families, found on seven sites in the study. The most numerous families were Asteraceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae and Caryophyllaceae. Only 13% of all plants recorded occurred on at least five of the study sites. The most numerous were species related to dry grassland communities, particularly of the Festuco-Brometea class, which included taxa endangered in the region of Lower Silesia: Avenula pratensis, Salvia pratensis, Festuca valesiaca. Apophytes dominated in the flora of the investigated communities. Hemicryptophytes were the most numerous group and therophytes were also abundant. The serpentine mining waste dumps and querries hosted heliophilous species which prefer mesic or dry habitats moderately poor in nutrients, featuring neutral soil reaction. On two study sites 30% of the flora composition consisted of species that tolerate an increased content of heavy metals in the soil. Anemochoric species were the most numerous with regard to types of seed dispersal. Species with an arbuscular type of mycorrhiza were definitely dominant in the flora of all the study sites, however, the number of nonmycorrhizal species was also relatively high. It was suggested that both the specific characteristics of the habitats from serpentine mining and the vegetation of adjacent areas had a major impact on the flora composition of the communities in the investigated sites.

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