Monitoring of vascular plant diversity in a changing climate in the alpine zone of the Central Greater Caucasus

Gigauri, Khatuna and Akhalkatsi, Maia and Nakhutsrishvili, Gia and Abdaladze, Otar (2013) Monitoring of vascular plant diversity in a changing climate in the alpine zone of the Central Greater Caucasus. Turkish Journal of Botany, 37 (6). pp. 1104-1114. ISSN 1303-6106

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Short-term changes in plant species number, cover, frequency and composition were 22 studied along an altitudinal gradient crossing four Gloria summits (from 2240 m to 3024 23 m a.s.l.) from the treeline ecotone to the subnival zone in the Central Caucasus. Large-scale (summit area) and small-scale patterns (16 plots of 1m²/ summit) were monitored in 2001. Recording was repeated in 2008. During monitoring period average soil temperature and GDD (growing degree day) did not significantly increase. After seven years, a re-visitation of the summit area revealed a considerable increase of species richness especially at the lower alpine zone (CP1 and CP2 summit). At a small scale (1m²) species richness also increased at the lower summit (from 12.5 ± 2.87 to 15.5 ± 7 3.12 species on CP1 summit). The cover of 17 species significantly decreased, that of 5 increased. There were significant linear relationships between species richness and altitude and climatic variables. The main newcomers were species from the lower altitudinal zones and their percentage was highest on the southern slope. Endemics and cold-adapted species were not seriously endangered. In the Central Caucasus we do not consider the climate warming as the primary driver of the changes of plant richness and competition.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > Ecology
Q Science > QK Botany
Depositing User: Prof.Dr. Maia Akhalkatsi
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 09:57
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015 12:21

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