Petar Zhelev


During the Ice Age the southern parts of Europe, including Balkans, remained practically unaffected by glaciations and served as refugia for many plant and animal species. However, even within the framework of each glacial refugia, the conditions were not homogeneous and isolated “hot spots” appeared that had led to “refugia within refugia”. The territory of Balkan Peninsula could be subdivided into different zones, which are of different importance from the point of view of formation of the present day biodiversity. Tree species are particularly suitable for studies of inter-glacial and post-glacial migrations, due to their important ecological role in shaping the environmental conditions. Today, studying of these issues is greatly facilitated by introducing of genetic markers, allowing precise tracing of post-glacial migrations. The topic is less studied in the Balkan Peninsula, even though the region is considered one of the most important European refugia. A brief review of the more important studies in this respect is presented and the prospects and importance of such studies is discussed.


glacial refugia; Balkans; forest trees; genetic markers; migrations

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