Role of vegetation of Prebaikalia in the formation of the natural environmental quality
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We investigated the ecological potential of vegetation of Prebailakia, the central region of Baikalian Siberia, with a view to identifying new tendencies in nature management. We suggest the definition of the natural environment as a set of natural systems of a different geographical dimension on a particular territory, and their components and functional connections. The natural environmental quality is assessed according to the state of its components and to the persistence of their functional connections. The focus in this study is on the vegetation as the most important polyfunctional component of natural systems (geosystems and ecosystems). For the analysis of the vegetation aimed at identifying connections between the functions of the vegetation and its role in the formation of the natural environment of Prebaikalia, we developed the legend and compiled the map (sc 1:500 000) for the present-day vegetation of the region. The vegetation map was used as the basis for assessing the quality (state) of the natural environment of Prebaikalia having regard to the main environment-forming, environment-protective and environment-regulating functions of plant communities in geosystems. The findings formed the basis for the 1:500 000 assessment map of the state of the natural environment for southern Prebaikalia. The natural environmental quality of Prebaikalia was assessed according to six categories. Analysis of the spatio-geographical characteristics of the present status of the natural environment and of the functional organization of the vegetation furnishes a means of identifying a correlation between the officially existing nature-conservation territories and the present state of the natural environment, and the structural-cenotic and functional state of vegetation. This is especially true in regard to the ecological zones of the Baikal natural territory. The assessment of the natural environmental quality of Prebaikalia as reported herein will be useful in tackling a large number of existing and future ecological nature management challenges in the region.
Keywordsnatural environmental quality functional organization of vegetation natural environment of Prebaikalia.
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