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Structure and formation of conifer stands in the upper timberline ecotone on the North Chuya Ridge, Central Altai

Research paper by E. E. Timoshok, E. O. Filimonova, O. Yu. Propastilova

Indexed on: 10 May '09Published on: 10 May '09Published in: Russian Journal of Ecology



Abstract

The structure of Siberian stone pine (Pinus sibirica Du Tour.) and Siberian larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.) stands and specific features of their formation have been studies in the forest-tundra ecotone on the North Chuya Ridge (2235–2475 m a.s.l.). Changes in the structure of these stands along the transition from the upper boundary of closed forests to the high-mountain tundra have proved to have an ambiguous pattern. Both tree species form mixed clusters of similar-aged trees in the lower part of the ecotone but grow singly, in scatters, in its upper part. The formation of conifer stands (tree clusters) in the lower part of the ecotone, on the slopes of the Aktru River valley, began during climate warming in the second half of the 19th century. The expansion of confers to its upper part took place markedly later, in the early 20th century (Siberian larch) or even in the 1930s (Siberian stone pine).