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Case study 5: New data from the Greater Caucasus mountains, Georgia

Pre- and post congress field surveys

The Institute of Botany of the Georgian Academy of Sciences kindly hosted a week-long pre-Congress tour of the Minor and Central Caucasus mountains that included a memorable visit to Mt Kazbegi (Prof. G. Nakhutshrishvili and Dr O. Abdaladze). The greater Kazbegi region is situated in the part of the Great Caucasus that is the richest in endemics. 26% of the angiosperms of the Khevi flora are endemic. The flora of the Khevi region numbers more than 1100 species of vascular plants. Although there are about 6000 species registered in the whole Caucasus, 4130 of them occur in Georgia. Most of the genera and species of the Khevi flora belong to the family Asteraceae. The number of genera and species of certain families present in the region decreases in the following order: Poaceae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae, Scrophulariaceae. The region is widely known as the source of many agricultural and horticultural species and ornamental plants now common Europe and elsewhere. Below 1900 m a.s.l. the climate is moderately humid, winter is relatively dry and cold, and summer is long.

1."Mt kazbegi, Central Caucasus" 2, "Georgia Krummholz ( crippled wood)-Birch"( Betula litwinowii) Mt Kazbegi Georgia.
3."Subalpine (Anemonastrum sp) Mt Kazbegi, Georgia"

The mean temperature of the coldest months (December, January) ranges from -3°C to -6°C (the extreme is -28°C). Above 3,400 m a.s.l. The climate is moderately humid with persistent snow and glaciers. Two zones are distinguished: the nival (3400-4300m) and glacial (above 4300m). The average annual precipitation is 1000-1200m. The number of days with precipitation amounts to 170 per year. Precipitation is only as snow in the glacial zone. The mean winter temperature is -10°C (the extreme is -33°C) [Notes from G. Nakhutshrishvili, O. Abdaladze and A. Kikodze, in press]. The tour was extraordinarily successful, made all the more so by the legendary hospitality of the Georgian people and the highly professional staff of the Institute. The IBC ‘tourists’ were able to see firsthand some of the world’s finest alpine and sub-alpine vegetation. CBM staff ( A. & P. Gillison) took the oportunity to establish a number of transects ranging from 302 to 2650 m a.s.l.. The data from these transects has made an important contribution to the VegClass© database and helped fill in gaps that have been lacking for high elevation, inland areas subject to continental winters.

 






 

 



 











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