pp 1–21 | Cite as

Effect of magnesite dust pollution on biodiversity and species composition of oak-hornbeam woodlands in the Western Carpathians

  • Drahoš BlanárEmail author
  • Anna Guttová
  • Ivan Mihál
  • Vítězslav Plášek
  • Tomáš Hauer
  • Zdeněk Palice
  • Karol Ujházy
Original Article


We aimed to identify how the alkaline dust fallout from magnesite factories (Slovenské rudohorie Mts, Western Carpathians) affects biodiversity and species composition of oak-hornbeam forests, and to compare sensitivity of local biodiversity represented by vascular plants (including flowering plants and ferns) and cryptogams (cyanobacteria, macromycetes, slime molds, lichens, bryophytes). Altogether 24 plots were sampled along four degradation stages during the vegetation seasons 2011–2016: A – poorly developed vegetation on the magnesite crust, B – dense grassland vegetation almost without a tree-layer, C – degraded woodland with opened canopy, and D – visually unaffected original closed-canopy woodland. For each plot we sampled phytocoenological relevés including vascular plants and terrestrial cryptogams (cyanobacteria, lichens and bryophytes), and presence records for epiphytic lichens, epiphytic bryophytes, sporocarps of macromycetes (terrestrial, saprotrophic, parasitic and ectomycorrizal) and sporocarps of slime molds. We also analyzed concentrations of C, Ca, Mg, S, N, P, K in the soil, light conditions, bark pH and the distance from two emission sources (ES). Increased alkaline dust, corresponding to a smaller distance from the emission source correlated with higher concentrations of Mg, Ca, Fe, S, C/N in soil samples. Regressive succession converted oak-hornbeam woodland to degraded woodland with opened canopy, further to ruderal grasslands, then to halophilous procoenoses of Agrostis stolonifera and Puccinellia distans on degraded soils with eroded magnesite crust and biocrusts (formed by cyanobacteria Microcoleus steenstrupii, Nostoc microscopicum and Schizothrix arenaria; bryophytes Desmatodon cernuus, Didymodon tophaceus; pioneer terrestrial lichen Thelidium zwackhii) and finally into habitat with no vegetation. This is the first report on early successional stages with halophilous procoenoses in the Western Carpathians. We also recorded significant differences in species richness and the species pools in all organism groups along the gradient. Overall species diversity decreased. The degradation stages are characterized by low representation of symbiotic macromycetes and by a high proportion of saprotrophic macromycetes. The highest species richness of vascular plants was recorded in degradation stages B and C, the highest herb-layer cover in stage B. The highest species richness of terrestrial bryophytes is also found in dense grassland vegetation in stage B. Occurrence of nitrophilous epiphytic lichens differentiates unaffected oak-hornbeam woodlands from the plots close to the emission source.


Alkaline dust Terrestrial cyanobacteria Macrofungi Terrestrial and epiphytic lichens and bryophytes Vascular plants Post-industrial habitats Slovakia 



We are very grateful to Anna Petrášová for help with identification of terrestrial bryophytes. We also thank to anonymous reviewers and Michal Slezák (Associate Editor in Biologia) for their very valuable comments on the manuscript. The research was financially supported by the projects of the Slovak Scientific Grant Agency VEGA 2/0032/17, 1/0639/17 and 2/010118.

Supplementary material

11756_2019_344_MOESM1_ESM.xls (10 kb)
Supplementary S1 Frequency (%) of terrestrial cryptogams (cyanobacteria, lichens, bryophytes) in degradation stages A, B, C and D (XLS 10 kb)
11756_2019_344_MOESM2_ESM.xls (35 kb)
Supplementary S2 Frequency (%) of macromycetes and slime molds in degradation stages A, B, C and D (XLS 35 kb)
11756_2019_344_MOESM3_ESM.xls (12 kb)
Supplementary S3 Frequency (%) of epiphytic bryophytes and epiphytic lichens in degradation stages A, B, C and D (XLS 12 kb)
11756_2019_344_MOESM4_ESM.xls (20 kb)
Supplementary S4 Frequency (%) of vascular plants in degradation stages A, B, C and D (XLS 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drahoš Blanár
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anna Guttová
    • 3
  • Ivan Mihál
    • 4
  • Vítězslav Plášek
    • 5
  • Tomáš Hauer
    • 6
  • Zdeněk Palice
    • 7
    • 8
  • Karol Ujházy
    • 2
  1. 1.Administration of the Muránska planina National ParkRevúcaSlovakia
  2. 2.Department of Phytology, Faculty of ForestryTechnical University in ZvolenZvolenSlovakia
  3. 3.Institute of Botany, Plant Science and Biodiversity CentreSlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  4. 4.Institute of Forest EcologySlovak Academy of SciencesZvolenSlovakia
  5. 5.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic
  6. 6.Faculty of ScienceČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  7. 7.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Science of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  8. 8.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPrahaCzech Republic

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