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Modern ecosystems are the legacy of past climate change as a result of changes in glacial and interglacial cycles that began 2.6 million years ago and mostly took place without human impact. Today, a sharp change in atmospheric conditions, climate warming, and instability, an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the disappearance of natural habitats, pollution of the environment, excessive fishing and hunting, invasion of ecosystems of pathogenic species and an increase in human biomass turned out to be the most extreme factors for living organisms.

The Altai Mountains, located on the border of several states and climatic zones, is an interesting and important object for studying the biodiversity and natural landscape of the Holocene. Obtaining high-resolution Holocene records will allow a detailed study of climate dynamics and related changes in natural conditions and the level of biodiversity in the region, as well as assess the impact of human activities on biodiversity change at present and in the Holocene.

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Thus, one of the most important tasks for scientists working with natural Holocene paleoarchives of Central Asia as a whole and the Altai Mountains, in particular, is the need to assess whether desertification and loss of biodiversity are the cause (1) of only increased anthropogenic pressure on landscapes (overgrazing, intensive deforestation); (2) only the influence of natural trends or (3) both of these factors are in superposition in different periods of the Holocene. The solution to this problem requires detailed local and regional paleoecological reconstructions using various paleoarchives. Another important issue besides a retrospective analysis of the interaction of people and nature, which is also solved by a quantitative study of the characteristics of the paleoclimate, is the development of ideas about modern changes in natural conditions for predicting and modeling the future.

The aim of the project is a quantitative assessment of biological diversity and the relationship of the level of biodiversity with climate fluctuations during the Holocene for the Altai Mountains.

The project is supported by
RNF 20-17-00110

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