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Experimental modeling of effects of winter recreation activity on ecology



Experimental modeling of effects of winter recreation activity on ecology



Ekologiya (Moscow) (3): 13-21



An experimental model imitating winter recreational loads (skiing) of different intensity was created by dosed snow packing in the Volga-Kama Reserve, Tatar ASSR, Russian SFSR, USSR. Packing of snow and increasing its heat conduction led to a radical rearrangement of the soil thermal state under the snow mantle, affecting the freezing and thawing of soil. A combination of summer and winter recreational load compounded the adverse effect. The experimental model revealed that undisturbed and compacted snow melted at the same rate, causing earlier melting of ski slops. Soil melting proceeded evenly from above and below undisturbed snow, but under compacted snow the soil melted mainly from the surface. Surface melting, combined with early appearance of thawed patches, created erosion, which caused washing-off of melted layer of soil on ski slopes. Snow compaction played a major role in the alteration of vegetational cover in winter recreational areas. Plants for which development beneath snow cover was typical vanished from the cenosis. Ephemerals and other early spring herbaceous perennials were the most inhibited. Inhibition was also observed in Corydalis halleri, Anemone ranunculoides, Mercurialis perennis, Stellaria holostea, Convallaria majalis and Carex pilosa but not Pulmonaria obscura. Summer and fall blooming species (Aegopodium podagraria, Aconitum excelsum, Glechoma hederacea and Anthriscus sylvestris) were unaffected.

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