V.N. Sukachev Institute of Forest  
Laboratory of Ecophysiology of Permafrost Systems  




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Study Site Tura

Location: 64 N  100 E
Biome: Northern Larch taiga (Needle-leaf deciduous forest, GLC2000)
Permafrost regime: continuous permafrost (-5-7C) and medium to low ice content
Climate: Exceptionally continental (Johansson Continentality Index = 76.5)
Mean annual temperature: -8.9C (1929-2013)
Mean annual precipitation: 369 mm (1929-2013). About 3040% of annual precipitation fall as a snow


Parent material: Basalts (T1), Siberian traps complex (248 mln a)


Soils Soils (USDA Soil taxonomy, 1998): mostly Turbic Haplic Cryosols (Reductaquic), partly thixotropic

Toeslope: Typic Haplorthels and Sphagnic Fibristel
South aspect slopes: Typic Haplorthels, Typic Haplocryept, Entisols
North aspect slopes: Glacic Haploturbel, Glacic Histoturbel, Typic Aquorthel, Typic Haplorthel, Typic Haploturbel
Soils are characterized by coarse texture (high gravel content), shallow (2050 cm) depths, medium to high clay contents and slight or neutral acidity. The river valley bottoms consist of alluvial silt and gravels over bedrock.
Depth of the active soil layer (mineral part), defined as the portion of the upper soil that thaws in summer, typically reaches a maximum in September of up to 0.4 m on north facing slopes and boggy valleys and about 1.3 m on south facing slopes.

Vegetation:

Overstory (trees): Larix gmelinii (>95% of territory), Picea obovata (rare), Pinus sibirica (rare) and Betula pubenscens (after disturbance).
Understory (shrubs): Duschekia fruticosa (former Alnus fruticosa) and Betula nana.


Spruce and Siberian pine occurs on well-drained south-facing slopes and alluvial soils in stream valleys and river banks. Birch appears after fires on hill tops. All tree stands are regenerating after ground fires driving composition, productivity and carbon stock of stands. Fire return interval is 20-200 years (ca. 90 years mean).
Ground vegetation: ericoid dwarf shrubs (mainly Ledum palustre L., Vaccinium vitis-idaea L., and Vaccinium uliginosum L.), mosses (Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt., Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) B.S.G., and Aulocomnium palustre (Hedw.) Schwaegr.) with patches of lichens (Cladina spp. and Cetraria spp.). Larch forests with domination of Sphagnum fuscum in moss layer occurs in landscape depressions.

Landscapes

<250 m a.s.l.



300–700 m a.s.l.



>900 m a.s.l.



Forests on flat areas (<250 m a.s.l.)





Drunk forests on North-facing slope (Photo by N. Gentsch)

Forests on South-facing slope

Plateaus (>500 m a.s.l.)
Birch forests with rare spruce

Sphagnic Fibristel (Fibric Cryic Histosol) in toeslope area