Flora and vegetation on dumps of uranium mining in the southern part of the former GDR

Hartmut Sänger


From 1946 to 1990 an intensive uranium mining had been carried out with underground mining and also with opencast mining by the Wismut enterprise in the southern part of the former GDR. The mining activity lead also in the surroundings of Ronneburg to a permanent growth of devastated areas, among others in the form of dumps and tailings. These areas form by reason of mining-specific contaminations, extrem biotops which demand high claims on the pioneer organisms during the phase of natural first settlement. From 1990 to 1992 vegetation mappings were carried out on 15 dumps of the Thuringia mining area according to Braun-Blanquet (1964). The utilization of the computer programm Flora _D (Frank and Klotz 1990) enabled the ecological characterisation of the dumps. On the 15 investigated dumps found were 498 higher plants, belonging to 65 families. One hundred species are species with a high dominance. The number of species per dump fluctuates between 1 I and 282. Pioneer plants occur on the berms mostly in the second year after stoppage of the dumping, on the slopes after five to ten years. After nearly ten years the first step of settlement seems to be finished. Among the mechanisms of spreading dominate wind- and burdock spread. According to the form of life forms the dump species are predominantly hemicryptophytes, further therophytes, geophytes and phanerophytes.


uranium mining; dumps; flora; vegetation; bioindication; ecological characteristics

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