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Analysing Betula litwinowii encroachment and reforestation in the Kazbegi region, Greater Caucasus, Georgia

Analysing Betula litwinowii encroachment and reforestation in the Kazbegi region, Greater... INTRODUCTIONThe encroachment of woody plants into grasslands has become an increasing global phenomenon in alpine areas in recent years, often resulting in the upwards advance of tree and timber lines (Gehrig‐Fasel, Guisan, & Zimmermann, ; Holtmeier & Broll, ; Komac, Kefi, Nuche, Escós, & Alados, ). Caused by the reduction of land‐use intensity, such as intensive grazing (Holtmeier & Broll, ; Pauli et al., ; Tasser & Tappeiner, ), encroachment of woody species is often followed by forest regeneration and possibly full reforestation – a process that is expected to greatly alter landscape structure and ecosystem functions. Large expansions of shrub and secondary forest patches result in grassland loss and reduce landscape heterogeneity, as well as floristic diversity. This will further affect ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling and plant species composition, particularly in high‐mountain regions (DeMarco, Mack, & Bret‐Harte, ; Knapp et al., ; Sturm et al., ). However, high‐mountain forests provide important ecosystem services, such as water regulation, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, different habitats and protection against avalanches and landslides (Fagre, ; Gret‐Regamey, Brunner, & Kienast, ; Mina et al., ; Price et al., ). They further offer beautiful scenery and places for recreation and thereby also contribute to touristic development (Schirpke, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Vegetation Science Wiley

Analysing Betula litwinowii encroachment and reforestation in the Kazbegi region, Greater Caucasus, Georgia

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References (76)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 International Association for Vegetation Science
ISSN
1100-9233
eISSN
1654-1103
DOI
10.1111/jvs.12589
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INTRODUCTIONThe encroachment of woody plants into grasslands has become an increasing global phenomenon in alpine areas in recent years, often resulting in the upwards advance of tree and timber lines (Gehrig‐Fasel, Guisan, & Zimmermann, ; Holtmeier & Broll, ; Komac, Kefi, Nuche, Escós, & Alados, ). Caused by the reduction of land‐use intensity, such as intensive grazing (Holtmeier & Broll, ; Pauli et al., ; Tasser & Tappeiner, ), encroachment of woody species is often followed by forest regeneration and possibly full reforestation – a process that is expected to greatly alter landscape structure and ecosystem functions. Large expansions of shrub and secondary forest patches result in grassland loss and reduce landscape heterogeneity, as well as floristic diversity. This will further affect ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling and plant species composition, particularly in high‐mountain regions (DeMarco, Mack, & Bret‐Harte, ; Knapp et al., ; Sturm et al., ). However, high‐mountain forests provide important ecosystem services, such as water regulation, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, different habitats and protection against avalanches and landslides (Fagre, ; Gret‐Regamey, Brunner, & Kienast, ; Mina et al., ; Price et al., ). They further offer beautiful scenery and places for recreation and thereby also contribute to touristic development (Schirpke,

Journal

Journal of Vegetation ScienceWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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