ROCKBIRCH (Betula lanata) FORESTS

     In Primorye, Betula lanata forests occupy about 20,000 hectares, notably the upper tiers of slopes of the highest peaks and ridges without forming significant massifs or continuous altitude belts. Gradual passages connect them with alpine elf forests and with spruce-fur forests lying below. Both independently or together with P. ajanensis and A. nephrolepsis and, in the north of Primorye also with Larix spp, B. lanata forests form the upper edge of straight-trunk forests. Individual trees and small groups of B. lanata occur among alpine shrub thickets. In the south of Primorye, small B, lanata groves occur on lowland islands and peninsulas open to all winds in Peter the Great Bay.
    These forests have no industrial significance, but their ecoprotective import is immense, given that some sites are located in the zone of initial forming of runoffs. Their recreational significance is also no doubt great, since they essentially form a green necklace, as it were, around treeless peaks. When fire and/or cuttings destroy forests located below bald peaks, they are replaced by shrub thickets, short-grass meadows, and often by rock talus and detritus to involve an irreversible change in the foreseeable future.
    The scale of the attached map does not allow to show independently the forest sites formed by several representatives of the genus Betula. Hence, all of them are shown under one conventional sign.
 
  
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