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Published on 09 November 2018

ALTITUDE-ZONE DIFFERENTIATION OF MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPES: IS COMMON TERMINOLOGY POSSIBLE?

A. Gunya, M. Richter

The study of altitude-zone of mountain landscapes has a rich history. However, the allocation of mountain systems from the general natural structure of the Earth has not yet been ensured by the appropriate methodology, the seeming specificity of mountain landscapes does not have its strict justification and terminology. At the present stage of increasing the importance of mountains in the context of global changes, it is necessary to coordinate research and develop a generally accepted conceptual framework. The russian mountain landscape studies, which have rich methodology and experience, face the danger of being unnoticed in world research. Steps are required for convergence of positions, first according to well-known terms denoting the main altitudinal zones. The simplified schemes of high-altitude zoning in the various geographical belts can serve as a basis for further generalization. It seems that the most universal for different regions of the world can be the four main high-altitude stages that carry the signs of both climate and terrain. First, lowest stage, colline. It is separated from below from landscapes, which are often referred to as "planar". The second stage characterizes typical mountain landscapes (montane). The upper limit of this stage, as a rule, is indicated by the upper limit of forest spread and the upper limit of permanent settlement. The third stage - alpine - follows a higher montane and includes landscapes where it is possible to grow non-forest vegetation. In Russian landscape science, the term “alpine”, as a rule, refers to the designation of the forms of macro relief, as well as to the allocation of alpine meadows as subzones of the high-altitude mountain meadow landscape zone. In this respect, the international definition is broader, since it includes all landscapes above the upper boundary of the forest. In arid areas, where the distribution of forests is limited by natural and climatic factors, the boundary between the second and third stages is not expressed. The use of the terms "alpine" and "subalpine" in the Eastern Caucasus, in the mountains of Central Asia and other arid territories does not always reflect the specificity of local landscapes. Finally, the fourth stage - nival - is the least controversial. It stands out in almost all classifications as a step that completes the entire spectrum of high-altitude landscapes and denotes an area above the upper limit of the distribution of vegetation. In the Russian landscape science, it corresponds to the nivalglacial type of landscapes.

CityMoscow, Erlangen-Nürnberg
CountryRussia, Germany
UDCЕрланген – Нюрнберг
Issue2018, № 3 (Т. 10)
Key wordsaltitude-zone, mountain landscapes, nival zone, alpine zone, mountain zone, colline zone.
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Categories: Articles

Tags: высотно-зональная дифференциация, горные ландшафты, нивальная, альпийская, горная и предгорная зоны

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ISSN 1998-4502 (Print)                                                            ISSN 2499-975Х (Online)