Legacy Effects of Explosive Contamination on Vegetative Communities

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DOI: 10.4236/oje.2016.68047    778 Downloads   955 Views  

ABSTRACT

Natural selection processes are constantly influencing vegetation community composition. In the presence of anthropogenic contaminants additional forces act as filters controlling persistence of naturally occurring species. Classical species diversity and richness metrics can miss subtle changes under disturbance regimes while species composition and functional characteristics may be able to detect them. Our study was designed to investigate legacy impacts of explosives contaminated soils in an experimental minefield on vegetative communities using ecological metrics. As hypothesized, species diversity and richness showed no change in the presence of explosive compounds while species composition provided clear separation of groups and functional trait dominance was also observed to change. Overall, presence of anthropogenic contaminates have led to community composition and functional shifts for vegetation after initial contamination. The responses in species composition and functional diversity/richness were a result of new tolerant species filling open niches in contaminated plots. More work is needed to confirm this in varied systems and in the presence of diverse contaminants.

Cite this paper

Via, S. , Zinnert, J. and Young, D. (2016) Legacy Effects of Explosive Contamination on Vegetative Communities. Open Journal of Ecology, 6, 496-508. doi: 10.4236/oje.2016.68047.

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