Grasslands of intermontane basins of Central Caucasus: land use legacies and present-day state


  • Elena Belonovskaya Institute of Geography RAS, Staromonetny per. 29, 119017 Moscow
  • Raisa Gracheva Institute of Geography RAS, Staromonetny per. 29, 119017 Moscow
  • Ilya Shorkunov Institute of Geography RAS, Staromonetny per. 29, 119017 Moscow
  • Vera Vinogradova Institute of Geography RAS, Staromonetny per. 29, 119017 Moscow


buried soils, ecosystem convergence, land use history, mountain meadow-steppes, semi-natural grasslands, subalpine meadows,


Mountain semi-natural grasslands of intermontane basins of Central Caucasus, North Ossetia-Alania and the history of its land use were studied. It was found that post-forest, meadow-steppe and partially subalpine grasslands in the study area had been used as croplands for centuries and have been transformed into grazing lands about 60 years ago. In the last 20 years, the grasslands have been underused. It was revealed that current spatial distribution of grasslands is different from the classic scheme of natural climate-induced vegetation distribution. Species composition of meadow steppes is similar in different locations and does not reflect climatic differences of “dry” leeward and “wet” windward slopes of the intermontane basins. Present-day soils reflect parent material differences and erosion degree, but not topography-induced local climate specificity. However, discovered buried soils showed contrasting soil diversity on the southern and northern slopes. It is assumed that the present convergence of soil cover and vegetation is a result of long homogenising human impact and relatively short grassland development.


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How to Cite

Belonovskaya, E., Gracheva, R., Shorkunov, I., & Vinogradova, V. (2016). Grasslands of intermontane basins of Central Caucasus: land use legacies and present-day state. Hacquetia, 15(2). Retrieved from




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