Effect of Mining Activities on Structure and Function of Rangeland Ecosystem Using the Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) (Case study: Dareh Zereshk Copper Mine, Yazd, Iran).

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Assistant Professor, Research Division of Natural Resources, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Shahrekord, Iran *(Corresponding author) Email: elhamfakhimi@gmail.com

2 Associate Professor, Rangeland Research Division, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of copper extraction on the structure and function of rangelands ecosystem around the mine area in Dareh Zereshk, Yazd province, Iran. Three study sites were considered at the specified intervals of the mine (0-200, 200-500 and 500-1000m). This research was conducted from 2012 to 2013. In each location, three linear transects with a length of 50 m were deployed in the slope direction. The structural characteristics were measured for ecological patches and inter patches space along each transect, and the landscape organization indices for each ecological unit (distance from the mine) were calculated. For each patch and inter patch, five measurement areas (replicates) were considered over each transect. In addition, 11 soil surface indices were evaluated and categorized. Using the soil surface indices scoring, the functional characteristics of each ecological unit including stability, permeability and nutrient cycle were calculated for each patch and inter patch in three locations. Based on the results, there were significant differences between the nearest (0-200m) and far (500-1000m) ones from the mine for indicator and functional traits (P<0.05). But there was no significant difference between the mid distance of the mine (200-500m) and two other sites, near and far from the mine (P>0.05). On the other hand, the function of different types of ecological patches was significant at different distances from the mine (P<0.05). So, the combined patches and inter patches had the highest and lowest values of functional indicators, respectively. The results demonstrate the efficiency of the landscape function analysis method to assess the post-mining damages and any subsequent reconstruction of rangeland in the around area.

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