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a natural region in northeastern Turkey, within the boundaries of the northern slopes of the eastern Pontic Mountains, which face the Black Sea. Maximum altitude, 3,931 m (Mount Kaçkar on the Lazistan Ridge). The slopes are deeply dissected by transverse river valleys. The climate is subtropical, with abundant moisture throughout the year (2,000–3,000 mm per year). The coastal strip is cultivated (tobacco, vineyards, corn, hazelnuts, and citrus trees). In the foothills of the ridges there are broad-leaved forests of oak, maple, beech, and hornbeam with dense evergreen undergrowth; at altitudes of 400 to 1,250 m there are beech and spruce forests; at 1,250 to 1,900 m there are spruce forests with a mixture of fir; and higher there are scrub forests and mountain meadows. During ancient glaciations, Lazistan served as a refuge for thermophilic flora and fauna.