ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2010, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 269–271. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2010.
Original Russian Text © N.V. Vetluzhskikh, 2010, published in Ekologiya, 2010, No. 3, pp. 232–234.
Studies were performed in the North Alatau region
of the AlatauShor Highland, Kemerovo oblast (the
southeast of Western Siberia) (Vdovin, 1988). Accord
ing to geobotanical zoning (Kuminova, 1950), the
study area lies in the Barzas taiga region characterized
by a continuous cover of dark fir–aspen taiga forests.
These forests, uniform in structure and floristic com
position, are known as Mariinskaya Taiga.
The first gold placer in Siberia was discovered on
the Mokryi Berikul’ River in 1827. The first steam
powered dredger with a bucket volume of 127 l was put
in operation on the Shaltyr’Kozhukh River in 1900.
Further development of dredge mining dates from the
1950s (Lamin, 1977). In addition to dredging, hydrau
lic mining was used on a large scale. Until recently,
intensive operations were carried out in the Kundat
River valley, where various technologies of placer gold
mining were implemented. This is why the Kundat
River valley was chosen as the study object.
Gold mining leads to profound transformation of
the environment. The vegetation and soil cover within
the operation range of dredges and hydraulic mining
machinery are destroyed completely, and land recla
mation in such areas is almost never performed.
Hence, these areas become overgrown spontaneously,
and the pattern of naturally regenerated vegetation is
the main indicator of their ecological state.
Technogenic landscapes may serve as convenient
models for studying the rate and pattern of progressive
succession and its individual stages, but an insight into
relevant processes is impossible to gain without
detailed analysis of local floras and vegetation.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the floris
tic composition and pattern of communities develop
ing in landscapes formed as a result of placer gold min
ing in Mariinskaya Taiga.
With regard to geomorphological features of river
valleys and conditions of placer mining in them, three
main types of technogenic landscapes can be distin
guished in the Kundat River basin:
(1) The landscape of high dredging waste dumps
formed in narrow, steep segments of river valley mined
with a dredge that has a bucket volume of no less than
120–150 l. The resulting massive dump rises 6–8 m
above water level and has steep slopes. Its top is lined
with fine and medium gravel, while slopes consist
almost solely of boulders. All habitats in such a land
scape are usually well drained.
(2) The landscape of hydraulic mining dumps
agglomeration of coneshaped mounds, 7–10 m high
and 12–15 m in base diameter, consisting of fine rub
(3) The landscape of leveled dumps
owes it origin to
fairly recent technical specifications concerning recla
mation of waste dumping sites. Such damps are low
and have a generally flat, slightly undulating surface
with a patchwork of overmoistened, shallowwater,
and periodically drying sites.
The overgrowing of dumps begins almost immedi
ately after the end of mining operations. As plants
establish themselves, they form pioneer groups in
which constant and dominant species are distin
guished. The vegetation developing on dumps is ini
tially represented by mixed herb–fireweed groups
the second dominant is
low perennial plant occurring in nature mainly in
marsh and floodplain habitats.
Two types of these mixed herb groups can be distin
guished. More widespread and diverse are groups of
the fireweed type proper, which grow on unleveled
dredging waste dumps of large or medium height and
on medium high hydraulic waste dumps. The other
type, fireweed–foxtail groups, grow on leveled low
dumps rising 1–1.5 m above water level. Overmoisten
ing and longterm water retention after floods in these
habitats provide favorable conditions for riparian
Flora and Vegetation of Gold Mining Waste Dumps
in Mariinskaya Taiga
N. V. Vetluzhskikh
Central Siberian Botanical Garden, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Zolotodolinskaya 101, Novosibirsk, 630090 Russia
Received March 6, 2008
: gold mining waste dumps, pioneer groups, plant communities.