1. bookVolume 15 (2016): Issue 2 (December 2016)
Journal Details
First Published
10 Jul 2007
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

Grasslands of intermontane basins of Central Caucasus: land use legacies and present-day state

Published Online: 12 Aug 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 15 (2016) - Issue 2 (December 2016)
Page range: 37 - 47
Received: 07 Dec 2015
Accepted: 16 Apr 2016
Journal Details
First Published
10 Jul 2007
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

Mountain semi-natural grasslands of intermontane basins of Central Caucasus, North Ossetia-Alania and the history of its land use were studied. It was found that post-forest, meadow-steppe and partially subalpine grasslands in the study area had been used as croplands for centuries and have been transformed into grazing lands about 60 years ago. In the last 20 years, the grasslands have been underused. It was revealed that current spatial distribution of grasslands is different from the classic scheme of natural climate-induced vegetation distribution. Species composition of meadow steppes is similar in different locations and does not reflect climatic differences of “dry” leeward and “wet” windward slopes of the intermontane basins. Present-day soils reflect parent material differences and erosion degree, but not topography-induced local climate specificity. However, discovered buried soils showed contrasting soil diversity on the southern and northern slopes. It is assumed that the present convergence of soil cover and vegetation is a result of long homogenising human impact and relatively short grassland development.


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