Arctic: ecology and economy
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Home Archive of journals Issue 3(39) 2020 Tundra and forest of the Russian Arctic: the interaction vector in the context of current climate warming


JOURNAL: 2020, 3(39), p. 48-61

HEADING: Research activities in the Arctic

AUTHORS: Tishkov A.A., Belonovskaya E.A., Glazov P.M., Krenke A.N., Puzachenko A.Y., Tertitsky G.M., Titova S.V.

ORGANIZATIONS: Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2020-3-48-61

UDC: 504.05(571.121:574.45)

The article was received on: 20.04.2020

Keywords: Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, climate warming, forest tundra contact strip, vertical timberline, biogeographic and succession status, fauna of mammals and birds, zoogeographic zoning

Bibliographic description: Tishkov A.A., Belonovskaya E.A., Glazov P.M., Krenke A.N., Puzachenko A.Y., Tertitsky G.M., Titova S.V. Tundra and forest of the Russian Arctic: the interaction vector in the context of current climate warming. Arctic: ecology and economy, 2020, no. 3(39), pp. 48-61. DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2020-3-48-61. (In Russian).


The aim of the research is to analyze the climatogenic dynamics of the timberline in the Russian Arctic. The authors consider the issue from the perspective of the current biogeographic and succession status of forests on the northern limit using remote analysis and ground-based verification methods. They identify three penetration options of the forest to the tundra: (a) the forest recovers its position in cutover areas; (b) the forest expands its area, occupying the “new” tundra habitats within its millennium-long dynamics; (c) forest vegetation “approaches” the tundra, using the conditions of short-term temperature anomalies, while maintaining the geobotanical and biogeographic status of the tundra. The research proves that the characteristic formation/restoration time of the “zonal forest” in the contact zone with the tundra is at least 200-400 years, i.e. equal to its succession cycle. Using remote methods, the researchers trace the landscape features of the forest advance on the tundra in the regions: along river valleys from south to north, from valleys to terraces and the watershed slopes, and on watersheds — from the forest wall and from the borders of the forest broken masses. According to the literature and analysing the satellite imagery archives, the researchers with help of the GoogleEarthPro program determine the scale and intensity of the upper timberline (UTL) dynamics in the mountainous regions of the Russian Arctic. In the last century, they reveal here at least 2-3 cycles of afforestation of the oro-tundra belts. Over the last intra-century warming cycle (30—40 years), UTL rose by 15m (northern slopes) — 50m (southern slopes) m. Based on the special zoogeographic zoning and comparison of the zonal fauna of mammals and birds of the tundra, forest-tundra, and northern taiga the researchers confirm the attribution of the forest-tundra to the north-taiga to faunistic complex. They conclude that while maintaining the medium-term cyclical climate in the Arctic (about 60 years), current warming is not able to “move” the zonal borders of the forest, but can only maintain its contact with the tundra in a permanent dynamic state. This is possible only if the trend is maintained for at least 100-200 years.

Finance info: The article was prepared under RFBR grant No. 18-05-60057 The tundra greening as a driver of current dynamics of the Arctic biota and on the state assignment theme of the Institute of geography of the RAS No. 0148-2019-0007 Assessment of physical, geographical, hydrological and biotic changes in the environment and their implications for laying the foundations of sustainable nature management.


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DOI 10.25283/2223-4594