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Reduction of Plants Biodiversity in Hyrcanian Forest by Coal Mining Activities

Authors: Mahsa Tavakoli, Seyed Mohammad Hojjati, Yahya Kooch


Considering that coal mining is one of the important industrial activities, it may cause damages to environment. According to the author’s best knowledge, the effect of traditional coal mining activities on plant biodiversity has not been investigated in the Hyrcanian forests. Therefore, in this study, the effect of coal mining activities on vegetation and tree diversity was investigated in Hyrcanian forest, North Iran. After filed visiting and determining the mine, 16 plots (20×20 m2) were established by systematic-randomly (60×60 m2) in an area of 4 ha (200×200 m2-mine entrance placed at center). An area adjacent to the mine was not affected by the mining activity, and it is considered as the control area. In each plot, the data about trees such as number and type of species were recorded. The biodiversity of vegetation cover was considered 5 square sub-plots (1 m2) in each plot. PAST software and Ecological Methodology were used to calculate Biodiversity indices. The value of Shannon Wiener and Simpson diversity indices for tree cover in control area (1.04±0.34 and 0.62±0.20) was significantly higher than mining area (0.78±0.27 and 0.45±0.14). The value of evenness indices for tree cover in the mining area was significantly lower than that of the control area. The value of Shannon Wiener and Simpson diversity indices for vegetation cover in the control area (1.37±0.06 and 0.69±0.02) was significantly higher than the mining area (1.02±0.13 and 0.50±0.07). The value of evenness index in the control area was significantly higher than the mining area. Plant communities are a good indicator of the changes in the site. Study about changes in vegetation biodiversity and plant dynamics in the degraded land can provide necessary information for forest management and reforestation of these areas.

Keywords: Vegetation biodiversity, species composition, traditional coal mining, caspian forest.

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