Climate Changes and Anthropogenic Influence on Subalpine Birch Forest

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Global Climate Change, Subalpine Birch Forest, Natural Reforestation, Treeline Ecotone, Plant Species Diversity
Natalia Togonidze
Evaluation of influence of global climate changes on high mountains is an actual problem for present. It is expectable that global warming and connected with it change of precipitations and snow cover will influence on vegetation of highlands first of all. Climate changes in the 21st century may cause significant decrease of bio diversity on the Earth, that in the case of global warming means extinguishing of such species which are adapted to extremely low temperature and unexpected ceasing of vegetation season. It is known, that changes caused by the climate conditions particularly affect broad-leaved trees, including birch. The process of natural renewal of birch forest is actively proceeding in on the slopes of northern exposition of Central Caucasus in Kazbegi district. Decrease of grazing in the connection with climate changes is considered as factor causing such a large-scale reforestation. We have studied the process of natural regeneration of subalpine birch forest and determined how diversity of vegetation changes during the process of forest restoration. We have revealed the stages of forest restoration and compare them, both by physical features and vegetative composition, where rather sharp changes have been revealed. We consider data got by us very important from the point of view of environmental protection, and they could be used during the process of artificial rehabilitation of forest It is necessary to know, what kind of conditions the tree species of forest which is to be regenerated need for their development and what kind of environment we should create for their planting in order that in future they would take root and form the perfect forest. We have defined the degree of damages of birch trees and its influence on the diversity of plant species. The results have shown that the species number in degraded birch forest is relatively less, than in virgin subalpine forest. Based on our results we think that, it is extremely necessary to conduct constant monitoring on treeline ecotone in the connection with climate changes. This will give us information on the condition of vegetation cover of this region.