Vegetation Change on Bolshoi Iremel Peak 3 (Southern Urals, Russia) 1929 / 1999

Moiseev PA & Shiyatov SG

, 2003

This pair was taken in 1929 (L.N. Tyulina) and 1999 (P.A. Moiseev and S.G. Shiyatov) from the north-facing slope of Bolshoi Iremel, at the boundary of low open forest. The foreground shows a mixed herbaceous meadow with spruce bushes, the middle ground the western slope of the north-eastern spur of Bolshoi Iremel, and the background the southwest-facing slope of Maly Iremel. The photo was taken from approx. 1350 m asl, where the abrupt northern slope begins to flatten out. No significant change in the position of the treeline took place over the 70 years. The reason for this is probably that underground water flows to the surface, creating damp soil on the gentle slope. The area of forest massif located on the western slope of the north-eastern spur of Big Iremel has increased visibly. Many new spruce bushes have appeared on its earlier unafforested upper part. On the gentle southwest-facing slope of Small Iremel, the expansion of spruce trees to mountain tundras resulted in a 30-40% reduction in the area occupied by typical tundra communities with tree densities less than 10%. In the summer of 2002, we installed a series of plots along an altitudinal gradient on the south-western slopes of Maly Iremel and we intend to continue this investigation on other slopes. The main objective is to study the influence of regional and global climate changes on the spatio-temporal dynamics of the upper treeline and carbon sequestration in the South Ural Mountains during the 20th century.

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Category: Paired pictures