Trees as Ecosystem Engineers Driving Vegetational Restoration/Retrogradation of Industrial Deposits in Cultural Landscape

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Abstract

Industrial processes are marked with various deposits of wastes in landscapes. They are typically characterized by high pollution levels in all their ecosystem components, including soil, water and air. Even more than natural ecosystems, artificial ash and mine tailings containments or industrial dumps are disconnected from nature or agricultural surroundings by their construction geometry. This combination of factors directs such patches of landscape to the isolation (island) effect and hihglighting of land-surface fragmentation. What is the most proper tool serving efficiently for support of sharp boundaries dissolution and comeback of the habitat close to natural one? In the European climatic conditions, trees function as reliable ecosystem engineers under the conditions of keeping sites without human interventions. However, spontaneous colonization and succession include vegetational phases of both increased species diversity (advanced successional stages) and secondary species diversity reduction (successional retrogradation), usually in dependence on the soil-substrate development.

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