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Contemporary Problems of Ecology

2013 year, number 3

Bird Population in the Forests of the Southern Urals under the Conditions of Industrial Pollution. Communication 2. A Connection with Habitat Variables

Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology UrB RAS, 620144, Yekaterinburg, 8 Marta str., 202
Keywords: industrial pollution, the Southern Urals, birds, vegetation, invertebrates


Changes in environmental variables were analyzed according to the data obtained in 2009 at 10 sites in the gradient of pollution with emissions from the Karabash copper smelter (Chelyabinsk Region): pollution level, basic structural characteristics of phytocoenosis, abundance of invertebrate phyllophages and ground-living invertebrates. The height of the top canopy, stand basal area, cover of all forest layers, biomass of ground-living invertebrates decrease with an increasing pollution. The damage of birch leaves (an index of the abundance of phyllophages) changes only insignificantly. It appears impossible to separate the contributions from abiotic and biotic variables into the formation of bird population in the region under study because of a close correlation between them. Pollution seems to affect bird population indirectly, through changes of habitat.