Anthropogenic influence on the flora of Russian Lapland: assessing the current impact and projecting future changes

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.4 Sustainable development of the Arctic - boreal regions
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 03:15 PM - 03:30 PM (UTC +3)
Location IT105
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Mikhail Kozhin
Author(s) Mikhail Kozhin (Moscow State University, Russian Federation), Alexander Sennikov (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Abstract text

Plants provide means for sustainable existence of humans; yet humans negatively affect the flora and vegetation cover of all areas on Earth. The flora of Russian Lapland (Murmansk Region), developed in a fragile environment, consists of ca. 1350 species of vascular plants, including about 450 alien species (1/3 of the total). These counts demonstrate a high level of anthropogenic impact on this Arctic-Boreal flora, which urgently requires an assessment with intention to understand future changes that may have a bad effect on human well-being.

To assess the human influence on the flora, we verified the checklist of vascular plants of Russian Lapland and developed a database of floristic records from the Kola Peninsula. Emphasis was placed on historical records that documented the earliest appearance of alien species in the territory.

The early introductions were connected with boat transportation and local gardening and farming performed by Russian colonists. These activities brought only 20 alien species registered in the beginning of 19th century, and 44 species known by the mid-19th century.

Further changes were connected with industrialization, and many new alien species were introduced by long-distance transportation (oceanic ships to major ports, railways and motor roads to the western parts of the Peninsula). The number of aliens reached 200 in the mid-20th century, 270 in 1980s, 450 by the end of 2000s. A small set of plants was transported during the wars. Differences in the distributions, abundance and naturalization of these sets of alien plants are discussed in the presentation.

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