Aboveground Biomass Carbon in the Alpine and Arctic Treeline Ecotones in the Ural Region

Vladimir A. Usoltsev, Zoltan Somogyi, Viktor P. Chasovskikh, Yuliya V. Noritsina


This paper reports on measured carbon stocks in the forests of two treeline ecotones of the Ural region where climate change might improve growing conditions. The first is an alpine ecotone that is represented by an altitudinal gradient of the spruce-dominated forests on the Western slope of the Tylaiskii Kamen Mountain (Western part of the Konzhakovskii-Tylaiskii-Serebryanskii Mountain system, 59030'N, 59000'E), at the alpine timber line that has risen from 864 to 960 m above sea level in the course of the last 100 years. The second is an arctic ecotone in larch-dominated forests at the lower course of the Pur River (670N, 780E), at the transition zone between closed floodplain forests and open or island-like communities of upland forests on tundra permafrost. According to our results, there are large differences in the carbon of the aboveground biomass of both ecotones across environmental gradients. In the alpine treeline ecotone, a 19-fold drop of the carbon stocks was detected between the lower and higher altitudinal levels. In the arctic ecotone the aboveground biomass carbon stock of forests of similar densities (1300 to 1700 trees per ha) was 7 times as much in the river flood bed, and 5 times as much in mature, dense forests as the low density forests at higher elevations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v4n4p1

Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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