The state of tree and ground vegetation layers in spruce-fir forests around the Middle Ural Copper Smelter (Revda, Sverdlovsk oblast) has been repeatedly evaluated in 25 permanent sampling plots at 5- to 10-year intervals (1989–2013). The results have been used to characterize the dynamics of plant communities in the period of reduction of emissions from the smelter. Although the annual amount of emissions has decreased from 150–225 × 103 t in the 1980s to less than 5 × 103 t after 2010, the vegetation in the impact zone (1 and 2 km from the smelter) remains severely suppressed: the trees continue to die off, and the diversity of ground vegetation layer is very low. In zones with low and moderate levels of industrial pollution (30 and 4–7 km from the smelter), natural factors associated with windfall disturbance after the 1995 windstorm with snow have played a more important role in the dynamics of forest communities than the reduction of emissions itself.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 5, 2014
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