Ecohydrological monitoring in assessing the mining impact on riverside ecosystems in case of riverheads of the Kłodnica Valley

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ecohydrological monitoring, mining subsidence, mining activities protected areas, Allium ursinum, Veratrum lobelianum, Kłodnica springs, Silesian Upland
Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 2014
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Ecohydrological monitoring was conducted in the period of 1999-2013 (and beyond) in the riverhead section of the Kłodnica Valley, in the riverside ecosystems in the southern part of the Silesian Upland. The aim of this study was to analyze and evaluate the impact of mining on the changes in water conditions and their impact on plant ecosystems connected with waterlogged habitats in the valley. The monitoring included observations on the variability of the water table, the size of mining subsidence and the scale of ground deformation. In order to monitor the range of Allium ursinum and Veratrum lobelianum, five permanent plots of 100 m2 each were established. During coal extraction (2000-06) the water table depths ranged from 0 to 2.4 m in the uplands, and from 0 to about 1 m in the valley, and the waterlogging of the substrate was dependent on precipitation conditions (amount and distribution of rainfall throughout a year). At that time, the surface of the area lowered by a maximum of 1.78 m. After the coalmine operation ceased, i.e. in the period of 2007-13, the subsidence significantly declined and did not exceed 15 cm. The monitored populations of Allium ursinum L. and Veratrum lobelianum Bernh. did not show considerable changes in terms of the area they occupied. However, a trend was observed to increase their ranges not only in the plots but also in the whole area. Local decrease in the ranges of the tested species was caused by forest management carried out at the same time. According to the results of the monitoring, the changes evoked by the mining activities are dependent on geological and lithological conditions, the position of the water table, the size of the mining operation, and ground subsidence, as well as the technology of extraction. It was found that the impact of mining on riparian ecosystems in the study area has not caused negative changes in their functioning.

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