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Technical reclamation and spontaneous succession produce different water habitats: A case study from Czech post-mining sites

Doležalová, Jana, Vojar, Jiří, Smolová, Daniela, Solský, Milič, Kopecký, Oldřich
Ecological engineering 2012 v.43 pp. 5-12
amphibians, case studies, coal, ecological value, habitats, ponds, primary succession, solar radiation, surface water, vegetation cover, Czech Republic
Despite the ecological value of unreclaimed post-mining areas, in the Czech Republic, however, rigorous technical reclamation still prevails. Such an approach usually leads to a more uniform environment and destroys the habitat diversity of successional sites, including the variety of water bodies that are crucial habitats for many aquatic and semiaquatic species. The aim of our study was to assess the water environment on reclaimed and unreclaimed post-mining sites from an “amphibian point of view”. We compared the proportion of water habitat area, the number of ponds and their habitat features on 14 technically reclaimed and 6 unreclaimed sections of spoil banks in the North Bohemian brown coal basin in the Czech Republic. The proportion of water area, number of ponds per hectare of spoil bank, and number of ponds in a vicinity of 300m were significantly higher on successional sections than on reclaimed sections of spoil banks. We also found on successional areas a higher proportion of smaller shallow ponds, with gentle shore slopes, partial insolation of water surface and partial vegetation cover. The ponds on technically reclaimed parts of spoil banks were larger and deeper, with steeper shore slopes, full insolation and partial vegetation cover. We conclude that primary succession leads to a more preferable environment for amphibians than does technical reclamation, and it should be considered as an equal type of post-mining site restoration.