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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the spatial structure of vegetation on the repository of the mine “Fryderyk” in Tarnowskie Góry. Tested area was located in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region (a large industrial region in Poland). It was a unique refuge habitat – Natura2000; PLH240008. The main aspect of this elaboration was to investigate the possible use of geotechniques and generally available geodata for mapping LULC changes and determining the spatial structure of vegetation. The presented study focuses on the analysis of a spatial structure of vegetation in the research area. This exploration was based on aerial images and orthophotomaps from 1947, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011 and airborne laser scanning data (2011, ISOK project). Forest succession changes which occurred between 1947 and 2011 were analysed. The selected features of vegetation overgrowing spoil heap “Fryderyk” was determined. The results demonstrated a gradual succession of greenery on soil heap. In 1947, 84% of this area was covered by low vegetation. Tree expansion was proceeding in the westerly and northwest direction. In 2011 this canopy layer covered almost 50% of the research area. Parameters such as height of vegetation, crowns length and cover density were calculated by an airborne laser scanning data. These analyses indicated significant diversity in vertical and horizontal structures of vegetation. The study presents some capacities to use airborne laser scanning for an impartial evaluation of the structure of vegetation.
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