Article

Russian Journal of Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 223-227

First online:

Altitudinal and horizontal shifts of the upper boundaries of open and closed forests in the Polar Urals in the 20th century

  • S. G. ShiyatovAffiliated withInstitute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , M. M. Terent’evAffiliated withInstitute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , V. V. FominAffiliated withInstitute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • , N. E. ZimmermannAffiliated withSwiss Federal Research Institute WSL

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Abstract

In the Polar Urals (the Rai-Iz massif and Mounts Tchernaya and Malaya Tchernaya), altitudinal and horizontal shifts of the upper boundary of open and closed larch forests in the 20th century have been studied. Spatiotemporal parameters of these shifts have been assessed with the aid of the ARC/INFO geographic information system (ESRI Inc., United States), using our original large-scale geobotanical maps showing the distribution of different types of forest-tundra communities in the early 1910s and 2000s. The results show that tree vegetation has been actively expanding to higher elevations over the past 90 years. On average, the upper boundaries of open and closed forests have ascended 26 and 35 m and shifted horizontally 290 and 520 m, respectively. These shifts have been conditioned by climate warming and increasing humidity observed since the 1920s.

Key words

timberline ecotone altitudinal and horizontal shifts of upper boundaries of open and closed forests climate warming increasing humidity geographic information system Larix sibirica the Polar Urals