Due to a significant increase in mining activity and subsequent ecosystem disturbances, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how degraded, unproductive quarries can be converted into new, self-sustaining communities that develop into natural environments. Former limestone quarry was investigated with aim to determine the best reclamation practice for surfaces of former lime rock quarries. Effects of spontaneous succession and forestry reclamation restoration approaches on vegetation and soil features were studied. The study was conducted in one of the largest limestone quarries of the Leningrad region, south taiga region. Species composition and vegetation cover were estimated for different plant communities within each ecotype of the quarry. Also soil characteristics were evaluated at each plot. We found that the main differences between plots were due to their position in the landscape; the most similar communities colonize similar ecotypes. On flat landforms, biodiversity is reduced under biological reclamation. At the sites under spontaneous succession, the level of biodiversity increases. In terms of biodiversity conservation and economic benefit, spontaneous succession is preferable to forestry reclamation for the restoration of carbonate substrates. After examining CO 2 emissions from the quarry as a result of weathering of carbonates and soil respiration, as well as the level of CO 2 sequestration from the atmosphere, we show that the establishment of certain landscape forms within former quarries can help to reduce atmospheric CO 2 .
Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science