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Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (4): 439-451    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0175-x
Research Articles     
Phytogeography of the northeastern coast of the Caspian Sea: native flora and recent colonizations
Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction, Almaty 050040, Kazakhstan
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Abstract  The northeastern coast of the Caspian Sea is one of the youngest territories for plant colonization in Kazakhstan, and the flora of the most recent portion of this coastal area, the New Caspian marine plain, was chosen to study phytogeographical characteristics of plant species, especially as related to alien origin and invasive potential. Because of the recent formation of this flora, I expected that a large proportion of the species may be alien and invasive. After compiling a comprehensive species list from previous research, I identified the taxonomic, life form, ecological, and geographical structures of the flora. The area belongs to the northern type of deserts with continental climate and low annual precipitation. Taxonomic and life form structures show that the flora is specific to Central Asian deserts. Ecological structure demonstrates a high percentage of halophytes, which resulted from their adaptation to soil salinity and shallow ground waters that occur throughout the study area. Geoelements of the flora indicate allochtonous properties of the flora (i.e. species derived from areas outside the study area) with a low proportion of native (Caspian) plants. Alien species are estimated to comprise 12%–19% of the flora. Although some species have invasive features, severe arid environmental conditions and high salinity of soils and ground waters decrease invasive capacity of exotic plants. However, a threat of expansion of potentially invasive plants exists in the New Caspian marine plain due to the fast growth of anthropogenic habitats associated with recent oil developments.

Key wordsNH3      N emission      grazing intensity      stocking rate      nitrogen cycle      Inner Mongolia     
Received: 27 November 2012      Published: 06 December 2013
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Liliya A DIMEYEVA. Phytogeography of the northeastern coast of the Caspian Sea: native flora and recent colonizations. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(4): 439-451.

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