Former Iron Mining Sites as Habitat Islands for Ancient Woodland Plant Species
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The main aim of this study is to present the role of anthropogenic habitats created by the remnants of old iron ore mining activities in preserving the ancient woodland plant species (AWS). The studies, which took place in 2010-2015, covered 30 former post-mining fields in the northern foreland of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (SE Poland). Each field contains the remnants of old iron ore mining – gob piles and the areas not transformed by mining, which surround the heaps. Within each post-mining fields, two lists (on gob piles and in their surroundings) covering the AWS were prepared. Additionally, two substrate samples were taken – one from the randomly selected gob pile, and one from the non-transformed site. The relationships between the numbers of AWS and selected environmental variables were analysed by statistical methods. It was found that the difference in the number of AWS characteristic of the Querco-Fagetea class between gob piles and their surroundings is significant. The conducted analyses indicated that this difference is not resulting from the difference in the areas between gob piles and their surroundings but from the pH of the substrate. The numbers of the mesophilous AWS in gob piles are not uniform and range from 3 to 37 and are correlated with the age of gob piles, the pH values and the depth of the iron ore deposits. At present, the remnants of old ore mining – gob piles constitute the sole habitat islands for the ancient mesophilous deciduous woodland species within the northern foreland of the Świętokrzyskie Mts.
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Opracowanie rekordu w ramach umowy 509/P-DUN/2018 ze środków MNiSW przeznaczonych na działalność upowszechniającą naukę (2019).