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Revegetation of Areas Disturbed by Rocket Impact in Central Kazakhstan

Lednev, Sergey, Koroleva, Tatyana, Krechetov, Pavel, Sharapova, Anna, Semenkov, Ivan, Karpachevskiy, Andrey
Écoscience 2018 v.25 no.1 pp. 25-38
Ceratocarpus, aircraft, anthropogenic activities, dominant species, ecosystems, flight, fuels, growing season, land restoration, plant communities, pollution, species diversity, spring, summer, vegetation cover, winter, Kazakhstan
Rocket launches are a source of anthropogenic disturbance to Central Kazakhstan ecosystems. Multistage launch vehicles (LV) are used for orbit insertion of different spacecrafts from the Baikonur cosmodrome (Republic of Kazakhstan). The launch consists of stages during which the rocket separates successively, with pieces falling to the ground along the flight route of the LV. Regions of first stage falling located in Central Kazakhstan endure the most intensive impact. First stage fallings lead to mechanical and pyrogenic disturbance and pollution by fuel components. We characterized vegetation changes at the first stage falling sites of ‘Proton-M’ rocket carriers during two growing seasons. Spontaneous revegetation by ruderal plant communities occurs after falling. First stage falling sites have lower vegetation cover and species diversity. Ceratocarpus arenarius is a dominant species in plant communities at the sites that have been affected by first stage falling. After winter rocket launches vegetation is less deteriorated at the falling sites than after spring and summer launches. The recovery process in plant communities is considerably faster at falling sites corresponding to winter rocket launches. Nomenclature: S.K. Cherepanov (1995).