Russian Journal of Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 486–497 | Cite as

Climate changes and tree stand dynamics at the upper limit of their growth in the North Ural mountains

  • P. A. Moiseev
  • A. A. Bartysh
  • Z. Ya. Nagimov


The composition and structure of tree stands near the timberline have been studied on different slopes and at different elevations in the Tylaisko-Konzhakovsko-Serebryanskii Massif, the North Urals. It has been found that the upper limits of tree stands with different degrees of canopy closure have risen considerably (by about 100 m of elevation) since the mid-19th century, although the formation of these stands started as early as the late 18th century. Woodless areas in the eastern part of the massif started to be colonized by Larix sibirica in the late 18th to early 19th centuries; those in the western part, by Picea obovata in the mid-19th century; and in the southern part, by Betula tortuosa in the late 19th century. Analysis of meteorological data provides evidence for warming and increasing humidity of the climate since the late 19th century. Favorable climatic changes that facilitated the expansion of the forest have taken place both in the summer (prolongation of the growing period) and in winter seasons (increase of air temperature and precipitation). The observed differences in the composition and dynamics of tree stands between the studied areas of the mountain range are most probably explained by different requirements of tree species for the depth of snow cover and the degree of soil freezing.


timberline ecotone tree stand structure climate warming and increasing humidity snow cover air and soil temperatures 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Basov, V.A., Dynamics of Seed Production by Main Conifer Tree Species, in Zakonomernosti poluvekovoi dinamiki bioty devstvennoi taigi Severnogo Predural’ya (Trends in Half-Centennial Biota Dynamics in the Virgin Taiga Forests of the Northern Cisural Region), Syktyvkar, 2000, pp. 22–30.Google Scholar
  2. Cairns, D.M., Patterns of Winter Desiccation in Krummholz Forms of Abies lasiocarpa at Treeline Sites in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, Geogr. Ann. Ser. A: Phys Geogr., 2001, vol. 83, pp. 157–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gorchakovskii, P.L. and Shiyatov, S.G., Fitoindikatsiya uslovii sredy i prirodnykh protsessov v vysokogor’yakh (Phytoindication of Environmental Conditions and Natural Processes in High Mountain Regions), Moscow: Nauka, 1985.Google Scholar
  4. Harsch, M.A., Hulme, P.E., McGlone, M.S., and Dunca, R.P., Are Treelines Advancing? A Global Meta-Analysis of Treeline Response to Climate Warming, Ecol. Lett., 2009, no. 12, pp. 1040–1049.Google Scholar
  5. Kammer, A., Hagedorn, F., Shevchenko, I., et al., Upward-Shifting Treelines Change Soil Organic Matter Dynamics in the Ural Mountains, Global Change Biol., 2009, no. 15, pp. 1570–1583.Google Scholar
  6. Kapralov, D.S., Shiyatov, S.G., Moiseev, P.A., and Fomin, V.V., Changes in the Composition, Structure, and Altitudinal Distribution of Low Forests at the Upper Limit of Their Growth in the Northern Ural Mountains, Ekologiya, 2006, no. 6, pp. 403–409.Google Scholar
  7. Kimiko, H. and Michinori, S., Spatial Distribution of Canopy and Subcanopy Species along a Sloping Topography in a Cool-Temperate Conifer-Hardwood Forest in the Snowy Region of Japan, Ecol. Res., 2003, no. 4, pp. 443–454.Google Scholar
  8. Koshkina, N.B., Moiseev, P.A., and Goryaeva, A.V., Reproduction of the Siberian Spruce in the Timberline Ecotone of the Iremel’ Massif, Ekologiya, 2008, no. 2, pp. 93–102.Google Scholar
  9. Mikan, C.J., Schimel, J.P., and Doyle, A.P., Temperature Controls of Microbial Respiration above and below Freezing in Arctic Tundra Soils, Soil Biol. Biochem., 2002, vol. 34, pp. 1785–1795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Moiseev, P.A., Meer, M., Rigling, A., and Shevchenko, I.G., Effect of Climatic Changes on the Formation of Siberian Spruce Generations in Subgoltsy Tree Stands of the South Urals, Ekologiya, 2004, no. 3, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  11. Osokin, N.I., Samoilov, R.S., and Sosnovskii, A.V., Role of Snow Cover in Soil Freezing, Izv. Akad. Nauk, Ser. Geogr., 2001, no. 4, pp. 52–57.Google Scholar
  12. Shiyatov, S.G., Age Structure and Development of Tree Stands in Open Larch Forests at the Upper Timberline in the Sob’ River Basin, Polar Urals, in Geografiya i dinamika rastitel’nogo pokrova (Plant Cover Geography and Dynamics), Tr. Inst. Biol., Sverdlovsk, 1965, issue 42, pp. 81–96.Google Scholar
  13. Shiyatov, S.G., Dendrokhronologiya verkhnei granitsy lesa na Urale (Dendrochronology of the Upper Timberline in the Urals), Moscow: Nauka, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. Shiyatov, S.G., Terent’ev, M.M., and Fomin, V.V., Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Forest-Tundra Communities in the Polar Urals, Ekologiya, 2005, no. 2, pp. 1–8.Google Scholar
  15. Sovershaev, P.F., On Frost Heaving of Sprouts and Seedlings, Lesnoi Zh., 1961, no. 3, pp. 3–7.Google Scholar
  16. Tierney, G.L., Fahey, T.J., Groffman, P.M., et al., Soil Freezing Alters Fine Root Dynamics in a Northern Hardwood Forest, Biogeochemistry, 2001.Google Scholar
  17. Turmasova, L.I., Seed Productivity of Siberian Spruce in the Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve, Tr. Komi Nauchn. Tsentra Ural. Otd. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Syktyvkar, 1991, vol. 116, pp. 27–37.Google Scholar
  18. Weih, M. and Karlsson, S., Low Winter Soil Temperature Affects Summertime Nutrient Uptake Capacity and Growth Rate of Mountain Birch Seedlings in the Subarctic, Swedish Lapland, Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res., 2002, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 434–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Moiseev
    • 1
  • A. A. Bartysh
    • 2
  • Z. Ya. Nagimov
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural DivisionRussian Academy of SciencesYekaterinburgRussia
  2. 2.Ural State Forest Engineering UniversityYekaterinburgRussia

Personalised recommendations