Included here are the Caucasus Mountains. These mountains are actually composed of two separate ranges - the Greater Caucasus in the north and the largely volcanic Lesser Caucasus in the south.

Great Caucasian Subalpine Grassland and Thicket

These range in altitude from about 2300-2500 m, and on Mount Kazbegi in the Great Caucasus can be broadly divided into four types. At the lowest part of the altitudinal range thicket dominated by Vaccinium myrtillus and the endemic Rhododendron caucasicum (Ericaceae) often predominate. These stands are fairly homogenous in structure with few associated species but may include Geranium sylvaticum, Oxalis acetosella, Solidago virgaurea and the endemic Empetrum caucasicum (Empetraceae) and Dolichorrhiza caucasica (Asteraceae). At similar altitudes there are forb dominated stands characterized by Taraxacum stevenii and Veratrum lobelianum. The latter can reach heights of 2 m and its presence is thought to indicate a lack of grazing by cattle.  Also its broad ground-leaves protect nearby areas from grazing favouring the occurrence of Arenaria rotundifolia, Gentiana aquatica and the endemic Anthriscus ruprechtii (Apiaceae). Tussocks of Nardus strictus, however, invariably dominate the lower layers. On south and southeast slopes up to about 2490 m grassland characterized by the endemic or near endemic Bromopsis variegata and Festuca woronowii (Poaceae) predominate. Other constant species here are Campanula stevenii, Kobresia persica, Minuartia oreina, Potentilla crantzii, Trifolium canescens and the endemic Plantago caucasica (Plantaginaceae). Finally at the highest part of this altitudinal range often on exposed ridges with clear evidence of frost action (e.g. soil polygons) grass becomes less conspicuous and the short forbs Chamaesciadium acaula and Polygonum viviparum become two of the main species. Associated species are Festuca woronowii, Thalictrum alpinum and the endemic Alchemilla caucasica (Rosaceae) and Androsace lehmanniana (Primulaceae). All of these sub-alpine communities are usually subject to varying degrees of grazing by domestic stock.

Western Caucasian Alpine and Subalpine Grassland and Thicket

Between 2100-3000 m in the western Caucasian (Colchic) zone are various grassland and thicket communities. Ranging from about 2100 to 2750 m are grasslands characterized by Agrostis lazica, Festuca djimilensis, Nardus stricta and the Caucasian endemic forb Geranium gymnocaulon (Geraniaceae). On limestone at these altitudes, the sub-alpine meadows include Calamagrostis arundinaceae, Carex pontica and the Caucasian generic endemic Woronowia speciosa (Rosaceae). The sub-alpine thickets at these altitudes are typically dominated by the Caucasian endemic Rhododendron caucasicum (Ericaceae). At higher elevations (2750-2900 m) Festuca supina becomes one of the main grass species and can be found in association with Kobresia schoenoides and mats of Cerastium cerastoides, Potentilla crantzii and Ranunculus svaneticus. At even high altitudes (2900-3700 m) in the so-called subnival zone there are mainly open plant communities with Minuartia trautvetteriana and the Caucasian endemics Cerastium polymorphum (Caryophyllaceae) and Saxifraga scleropoda (Saxifragaceae).


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