Case study 5:
New data from the Greater Caucasus
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