24/ Quarries

Stone quarries are places where stone mining takes place, while mines are used to extract e.g. ores or coal. As mining progresses, the terrain becomes vertically divided into ‘etages’, creating areas with different exposures and flora, including a number of transition zones between various habitats. In the past, quarries used to be reclaimed, e.g. by filling in or flooding with water, or left to develop naturally, resulting in them being overgrown with forest. A sensitive approach combined with the treeless nature of the rock surfaces exposed by mining can support the diversity of flora and fauna in the area. The Rožmitál quarry near Broumov is a good example of such a sensitive approach to the mined land.



Areas exposed by mining host species dependent on open (treeless) habitats, such as Tulostoma, Lycoperdon, Bovista, and Omphalina species. The quarry spoil tips initially form ruderal habitats, which provide a suitable environment for various species of parasol mushrooms. Limestone quarry spoil tips are richer in terms of both the number of rare species and species in general. Of particular interest are the ascomycetes – various species of Pezizaceae, Helvellaceae, and Morchellaceae.



The composition of quarry plant communities depends on the source of seeds in the surrounding area, the chemical composition of the substrate, rainfall, and temperature conditions. Shallow skeletal soils host heliophilic and xerophilic plants, e.g., Field Cudweed (Filago arvensis) or Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis).



Quarries represent a substitute habitat mainly for animals of non-forest environments. Invertebrates use ‘artificially made’ rock walls (e.g., petrophilic moths), scree slopes, shallow substrates on newly excavated areas, ruderal habitats on spoil tips, and oligotrophic (i.e., low-nutrient) water bodies and their banks (if present in the quarry).

Sunlit rock steppes and walls in quarries are inhabited by several reptile species; the species composition depends on the altitude and area in which the quarry is located. Birds nesting on the rocks include the Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), and the Common Raven (Corvus corax). Forested quarries are inhabited by the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis). If there are wetland habitats at the bottom of the quarry, they tend to be occupied by amphibians – the species composition again depends on the location of the site.