Biodiv Sci ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (2): 117-128.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.13130

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effect of mining landscape history on local species diversity: a case study of the Yimin open-pit coal mine in Inner Mongolia

Sarula Kang1, Qing Zhang1, Jianming Niu1,2,*(), Jianjun Dong1, Wenjing Ma1, Xin Li2,3, Changming Chang1, Chenwei Shang1   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021
    2 Sino-US Center for Conservation, Energy and Sustainability Science, Hohhot 010021
    3 School of Economics & Management, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021
  • Received:2013-05-28 Accepted:2013-12-20 Online:2014-03-20 Published:2014-04-03
  • Contact: Niu Jianming


The exploration and utilization of mineral resources accelerates local economic and social development and simultaneously exacerbates the effects of climate and landscape changes, resulting in landscape fragmentation. Landscape change is widely considered as a major threat to species loss at a regional and global scale. However, how species diversity responds to landscape changes on a temporal scale has usually been ignored. In this study, we explored relationships between landscape and biodiversity (species level and functional group level) during different years 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2010) at the Yimin open-pit coal mine, a mine that has been exploited for more than 30 years and that has produced obvious fragmentation effects on the landscape in Hulunbuir City. The ongoing patterns of transformation of the landscape were measured using the landscape dominance index, the habitat integral index of connectivity (IIC), and the habitat probability of connectivity (PC) at seven different spatial scales. The main results were as follows: The present species diversity is significantly correlated with the landscape pattern indices of previous and earlier mining at a medium-sized spatial scale (4–8 km buffers). Different plant functional groups responded in various ways to changing landscape patterns. The species richness of perennial rhizome grasses was significantly correlated with the present small-scale landscape pattern (1–3 km), and the species richness of perennial forbs was significantly correlated with the previous and earlier mining large-scale landscape patterns (4–10 km). Perennial bunchgrasses were not significantly correlated with landscape patterns. We concluded that the time lag expressed by changes in plant species diversity occurred in response to changing patterns of construction and configurations of habitats in the landscape. The regional species pool determined the local species diversity. The connected habitat patches within a 4–8 km buffer region represented the principal species pool. The propagation strategies and dispersal traits of various functional groups were important mechanisms maintaining species diversity in a fragmented area.

Key words: suitable habitat, extinction debt, habitat connectivity, dispersal treat, mining area