HOME

TheInfoList




Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
s. The
alpine climate Alpine may refer to: Places * Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. ...
in these regions strongly affects the
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
because temperatures fall as elevation increases, causing the ecosystem to stratify. This stratification is a crucial factor in shaping plant community, biodiversity, metabolic processes and ecosystem dynamics for montane ecosystems. Dense montane
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
s are common at moderate elevations, due to moderate temperatures and high rainfall. At higher elevations, the climate is harsher, with lower temperatures and higher winds, preventing the growth of trees and causing the plant community to transition to montane grasslands, shrublands or
alpine tundra Alpine tundra is a type of natural region A natural region (landscape unit) is a basic geographic unit. Usually, it is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scien ...

alpine tundra
. Due to the unique climate conditions of montane ecosystems, they contain increased numbers of endemic species. Montane ecosystems also exhibit variation in
ecosystem service Social forestry in Andhra Pradesh, India, providing fuel, soil protection, shade and even well-being to travellers. Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits to humans provided by the natural environment and from healthy ecosystems ...
s, which include carbon storage and water supply.


Life zones

As elevation increases, the climate becomes cooler, due to a decrease in
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the ...
and the
adiabatic cooling In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, radiation, and physical properties of matter. The behavior of these quantities is govern ...
of airmasses. The change in climate by moving up 100 meters on a mountain is roughly equivalent to moving 80 kilometers (45 miles or 0.75° of
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
) towards the nearest pole. The characteristic flora and fauna in the mountains tend to strongly depend on elevation, because of the change in climate. This dependency causes
life zone The life zone concept was developed by C. Hart Merriam in 1889 as a means of describing areas with similar plant and animal communities. Merriam observed that the changes in these communities with an increase in latitude at a constant elevation ar ...
s to form: bands of similar ecosystems at similar altitude. One of the typical life zones on mountains is the montane forest: at moderate elevations, the rainfall and temperate climate encourages dense forests to grow. Holdridge defines the climate of montane forest as having a biotemperature of between , where biotemperature is the mean temperature considering temperatures below to be . Above the elevation of the montane forest, the trees thin out in the subalpine zone, become twisted
krummholz ''Krummholz'' (german: krumm, "crooked, bent, twisted" and ''Holz'', "wood") — also called ''knieholz'' ("knee timber") — is a type of stunted, deformed vegetation encountered in the subarctic and subalpine tree line The tree line is ...
, and eventually fail to grow. Therefore, montane forests often contain trees with twisted trunks. This phenomenon is observed due to the increase in the wind strength with the elevation. The elevation where trees fail to grow is called the
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...

tree line
. The biotemperature of the subalpine zone is between . Above the tree line the ecosystem is called the alpine zone or
alpine tundra Alpine tundra is a type of natural region A natural region (landscape unit) is a basic geographic unit. Usually, it is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scien ...

alpine tundra
, dominated by grasses and low-growing shrubs. The biotemperature of the alpine zone is between . Many different plant species live in the alpine environment, including
perennial grass A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...
es,
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
,
forb A forb or phorb is a herbaceous Herbaceous plants are vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from the Greek ''trācheia''), form a large group of plants ( 300,000 accepte ...
s,
cushion plant'', moss campion A cushion plant is a compact, low-growing, mat-forming plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformat ...
s,
moss Mosses are small, non-vascular flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some other plant ...

moss
es, and
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
s. Alpine plants must adapt to the harsh conditions of the alpine environment, which include low temperatures, dryness, ultraviolet radiation, and a short growing season. Alpine plants display adaptations such as rosette structures, waxy surfaces, and hairy leaves. Because of the common characteristics of these zones, the
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
groups a set of related
ecoregions An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including h ...

ecoregions
into the "
montane grassland and shrubland Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountains. The alpine climate in these regions strongly affects the ecosystem because temperatures lapse rate, fall as elevation increases, causing the ecosystem to stratify. This stratification is a cr ...
" biome. A region in the
Hengduan Mountains The Hengduan Mountains () are a group of mountain ranges in southwest China, southwest China that connect the southeast portions of the Tibetan Plateau with the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. The Hengduan Mountains are primarily large north-south mo ...
adjoining Asia's Tibetan Plateau have been identified as the world's oldest continuous alpine ecosystem with a community of 3000 plant species, some of them continuously co-existing for 30 million years. Climates with biotemperatures below tend to consist purely of rock and ice.


Montane forests

Montane forests occur between the
submontane zone Image:Foothillsco.JPG, Rocky Mountain foothills near Denver, Colorado, CO. Foothills or piedmont are geography, geographically defined as gradual increases in elevation at the base of a mountain range, higher hill range or an Highland, upland area. ...
and the
subalpine zone Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area ...
. The elevation at which one habitat changes to another varies across the globe, particularly by
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
. The upper limit of montane forests, the
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...

tree line
, is often marked by a change to hardier species that occur in less dense stands. For example, in the
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and align ...
of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
, the montane forest has dense stands of
lodgepole pine ''Pinus contorta'', with the common names lodgepole pine and shore pine, and also known as twisted pine, and contorta pine, is a common tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), tr ...
and
red fir ''Abies magnifica'', the red fir or silvertip fir, is a western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern su ...

red fir
, while the
Sierra Nevada subalpine zone The Sierra Nevada subalpine zone refers to a biotic zone below treeline in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area ...
contains sparse stands of
whitebark pine ''Pinus albicaulis'', known by the common names whitebark pine, white bark pine, white pine, pitch pine, scrub pine, and creeping pine, is a conifer tree native to the mountains of the western United States and Canada, specifically subalpine ...
. The lower bound of the montane zone may be a "lower timberline" that separates the montane forest from drier
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
or
desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

desert
region. Montane forests differ from lowland forests in the same area. The climate of montane forests is colder than lowland climate at the same latitude, so the montane forests often have species typical of higher-latitude lowland forests. Humans can disturb montane forests through
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
and
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
. On isolated mountains, montane forests surrounded by treeless dry regions are typical "
sky island Sky islands are isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. The term originally referred to those found near the southern borders of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50 ...
" ecosystems.


Temperate climate

Montane forests in temperate climate are typically one of
temperate coniferous forest Temperate coniferous forest is a terrestrial ecoregion, terrestrial biome defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Temperate coniferous forests are found predominantly in areas with warm summers and cool winters, and vary in their kinds of plant ...
or
temperate broadleaf and mixed forest Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest is a temperate climate In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic ...
, forest types that are well known from
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and northeastern
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
. The trees are, however, often not identical to those found further north: geology and climate causes different related species to occur in montane forests. Montane forests outside Europe tend to be more species-rich, because the major mountain chains of Europe are oriented east–west. Montane forests in temperate climate occur in Europe (the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
,
Carpathians The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians () are a range of mountains forming an arc throughout Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central regio ...
,
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
and
more More or Mores may refer to: Computing * MORE (application), outline software for Mac OS * more (command), a shell command * MORE protocol, a routing protocol * Missouri Research and Education Network Music Albums * More! (album), ''More!'' (album ...
), in North America (
Cascade Range The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structur ...
, Klamath-Siskiyou,
Appalachians The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a mountain range, system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician, Ordovician Period. They once reache ...
and more), south-western South America,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ar ...

Himalayas
. Climate change is predicted to affect temperate montane forests. For example, in the
Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western North America bounded by its coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains to the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common co ...
of North America, climate change may cause "potential reduced snowpack, higher levels of evapotranspiration, increased summer drought" which will negatively affect montane wetlands.


Mediterranean climate

Montane forests in
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
are warm and dry except in winter, when they are relatively wet and mild. Montane forests located in Mediterranean climates exhibit towering trees alongside high biomass. These forests are typically mixed conifer and broadleaf forests, with only a few conifer species.
Pine A pine is any conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The divi ...

Pine
and
juniper Junipers are conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The divi ...

juniper
are typical trees found in Mediterranean montane forests. The broadleaf trees show more variety and are often evergreen, e.g.
evergreen oak Live oak or evergreen oak is any of a number of oaks in several different sections of the genus ''Quercus'' that share the characteristic of evergreen foliage. These oaks are not more closely related to each other than they are to other oaks. ...
. This type of forest is found in the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
and the
southwestern US The southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ...
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
.


Subtropical and tropical climate

In the tropics, montane forests can consist of
broadleaf forest A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. The Food and Agricult ...
in addition to
coniferous forest Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ex ...
. One example of a tropical montane forest is a
cloud forest A cloud forest, also called a water forest, primas forest, or tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF), is a generally tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cance ...

cloud forest
, which gains its moisture from clouds and fog. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of
moss Mosses are small, non-vascular flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some other plant ...

moss
es covering the ground and vegetation, in which case they are also referred to as mossy forests. Mossy forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained. Depending on latitude, the lower limit of montane rainforests on large mountains is generally between while the upper limit is usually from . Tropical cloud forests might exhibit high sensitivity to climate change. Climate change may cause variation in temperature, precipitation and humidity, which will cause stress on the cloud forests. The predicted upcoming impacts of climate change might significantly affect
biodiversity loss Biodiversity loss includes the extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...
and might result in change of species range and community dynamics and potential forest death.
Global climate model A general circulation model (GCM) is a type of climate model. It employs a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean. It uses the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamics, therm ...

Global climate model
s predict reduced cloudiness in the future. Reduction in cloudiness may already be affecting the Monteverde cloud forest in
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Amer ...

Costa Rica
.


Subalpine zone

The subalpine zone is the biotic zone immediately below the
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...

tree line
around the world. In tropical regions of
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
the tree line may be above , whereas in Scotland it may be as low as . Species that occur in this zone depend on the location of the zone on the Earth, for example, (scrub mountain pine) in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
,
snow gum ''Eucalyptus pauciflora'', commonly known as snow gum, cabbage gum or white sally, is a species of tree or mallee that is native to eastern Australia. It has smooth bark, lance-shaped to elliptical leaves, flower buds in clusters of between seven ...
in Australia, or
subalpine larch ''Larix lyallii'', the subalpine larch, or simply alpine larch, is a deciduous, coniferous tree native to northwestern North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Wester ...
,
mountain hemlock ''Tsuga mertensiana'', known as mountain hemlock, is a species of hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''maculatum'' is the only ...
and
subalpine fir ''Abies lasiocarpa'', the subalpine fir or Rocky Mountain fir, is a western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the ...
in western North America. Trees in the subalpine zone often become
krummholz ''Krummholz'' (german: krumm, "crooked, bent, twisted" and ''Holz'', "wood") — also called ''knieholz'' ("knee timber") — is a type of stunted, deformed vegetation encountered in the subarctic and subalpine tree line The tree line is ...
, that is, crooked wood, stunted and twisted in form. At tree line, tree seedlings may germinate on the
lee sideLEE may refer to: * Law Enforcement Exploring * Locus of Enterocyte Effacement, a pathogenicity island * Leesburg International Airport's IATA airport code * Lee's Summit (Amtrak station)'s Amtrak station code * Lake Erie and Eastern Railroad's repor ...
of rocks and grow only as high as the rock provides wind protection. Further growth is more horizontal than vertical, and additional rooting may occur where branches contact the soil. Snow cover may protect krummholz trees during the winter, but branches higher than wind-shelters or snow cover are usually destroyed. Well-established krummholz trees may be several hundred to a thousand years old.
Meadows A meadow (, ; ) is an open , or field, by es, s, and other non-s. s or s may sparsely populate meadows, as long as these areas maintain an open character. Meadows may be naturally occurring or artificially created from shrub or . They can occu ...
may be found in the subalpine zone.
Tuolumne MeadowsTuolumne Meadows () is a gentle, dome A dome (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...
in the
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and align ...
of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
, is an example of a subalpine meadow. Example subalpine zones around the world include the
French Prealps The French Prealps (''Préalpes'') are a group of subalpine mountain ranges of medium elevation located immediately west of the French Alps. They roughly stretch from Lake Geneva southwest to the rivers Isère and Drôme; east to a line runn ...
in Europe, the
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and align ...
and
Rocky Mountain The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, ...
subalpine zones in North America, and subalpine forests in the
eastern Himalaya] The Eastern Himalayas extend from eastern Nepal across Northeast India, Bhutan, the Tibet Autonomous Region to Yunnan in China and northern Myanmar. The climate of this region is influenced by the monsoon of South Asia from June to September. It i ...
, Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, western Himalaya, and
Hengduan mountains The Hengduan Mountains () are a group of mountain ranges in southwest China, southwest China that connect the southeast portions of the Tibetan Plateau with the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. The Hengduan Mountains are primarily large north-south mo ...
of Asia.


Alpine grasslands and tundra

Alpine grasslands and tundra lie above the tree line, in a world of intense radiation, wind, cold, snow, and ice. As a consequence, alpine vegetation is close to the ground and consists mainly of
perennial grass A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...
es,
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
, and
forb A forb or phorb is a herbaceous Herbaceous plants are vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from the Greek ''trācheia''), form a large group of plants ( 300,000 accepte ...
s. Annual plants are rare in this ecosystem and usually are only a few inches tall, with weak root systems. Other common
plant life-formPlant life-form schemes constitute a way of classifying plants alternatively to the ordinary species-genus-family scientific classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including thei ...
s include
prostrate shrub A prostrate shrub is a woody plant A woody plant is a plant that produces wood as its structural tissue and thus has a hard stem. In cold climates, woody plants further survive winter or dry season The dry season is a yearly period of low ra ...
s,
graminoids In botany and ecology, graminoid refers to a herbaceous plant with a grass-like morphology, i.e. elongated culm (botany), culms with long, blade-like leaves. They are contrasted to forbs, herbaceous plants without grass-like features. The plant ...

graminoids
forming tussocks, and
cryptogams '', a fern '', a moss '', a brown alga Image:Hypholoma fasciculare01.jpg">'' Hypholoma fasciculare'', a fungus A cryptogam (scientific name Cryptogamae) is a plant (in the wide sense of the word) that reproduces by spores, without flowers or seed ...
, such as
bryophytes Bryophytes are an informal group consisting of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new n ...

bryophytes
and
lichens A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among Hypha, filaments of multiple Fungus, fungi species in a mutualism (biology), mutualistic relationship.
. Plants have adapted to the harsh alpine environment.
Cushion plant'', moss campion A cushion plant is a compact, low-growing, mat-forming plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformat ...
s, looking like ground-hugging clumps of moss, escape the strong winds blowing a few inches above them. Many flowering plants of the alpine tundra have dense hairs on stems and leaves to provide wind protection or capable of converting the sun's light rays into heat. Some plants take two or more years to form flower buds, which survive the winter below the surface and then open and produce fruit with seeds in the few weeks of summer. Non-flowering
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
s cling to rocks and soil. Their enclosed can
photosynthesize upright=1.8, Overall equation for the type of photosynthesis that occurs in plants Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Docto ...
at any temperature above , and the outer fungal layers can absorb more than their own weight in water. The adaptations for survival of drying winds and cold may make tundra vegetation seem very hardy, but in some respects the tundra is very fragile. Repeated footsteps often destroy tundra plants, leaving exposed soil to blow away, and recovery may take hundreds of years. Alpine meadows form where sediments from the weathering of rocks has produced soils well-developed enough to support grasses and sedges. Alpine grasslands are common enough around the world to be categorized as a
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
by the
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
. The biome, called "Montane grasslands and shrublands", often evolved as virtual islands, separated from other montane regions by warmer, lower elevation regions, and are frequently home to many distinctive and
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interact ...
plants which evolved in response to the cool, wet
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
and abundant sunlight. The most extensive montane grasslands and shrublands occur in the
Neotropical The Neotropical realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting Earth's land surface. Physically, it includes the tropics, tropical Ecoregion#Terrestrial, terrestrial ecoregions of the Americas and the entire South American temperat ...
of the
Andes Mountains The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America South America is a continent e ...

Andes Mountains
. This biome also occurs in the mountains of east and
central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhab ...

central Africa
,
Mount Kinabalu Mount Kinabalu ( ms, Gunung Kinabalu, Dusun: ''Gayo Ngaran or Nulu Nabalu'') is the highest mountain in Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the ...

Mount Kinabalu
of
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
, highest elevations of the
Western Ghats The Western Ghats is a mountain range that covers an area of in a stretch of parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', ...

Western Ghats
in South India and the Central Highlands of
New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...

New Guinea
. A unique feature of many wet tropical montane regions is the presence of giant rosette plants from a variety of plant families, such as ''
Lobelia ''Lobelia'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), cir ...

Lobelia
'' (
Afrotropic The Afrotropical realm is one of Earth's eight biogeographic realms. It includes Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square&nbs ...
), ''
Puya The Puya, also known as Meetei Puya, ( mni, ꯄꯨꯌꯥ), from ''pu'' "ancestors" and ''ya'' or ''yaba'' "accept", are scriptures or documents, written by various scholar, Maichou(s) from time to time. The Meetei Puyas deal with the genealogy, ...
'' (
Neotropic The Neotropical realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting Earth's land surface. Physically, it includes the tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the T ...
), ''
Cyathea ''Cyathea'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a ...

Cyathea
'' (
New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...

New Guinea
), and ''
Argyroxiphium ''Argyroxiphium'' is a small genus of plants in the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Its members are known by the common names of silversword or greensword due to their long, narrow leaves and the silvery hairs on some species. It belongs to a lar ...
'' (
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
). Where conditions are drier, one finds montane grasslands, savannas, and woodlands, like the
Ethiopian Highlands The Ethiopian Highlands is a rugged mass of mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit are ...
, and montane
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
s, like the steppes of the
Tibetan Plateau The Tibetan Plateau (, also known as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau () or as the Himalayan Plateau in India, is a vast elevated plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and - ...
.


See also

* * *
Forest ecology in Queensland Queensland ( ,) is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the States and territories of Australia, second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia an ...
*
Tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...

Tree line
*
Temperate coniferous forests Temperate coniferous forest is a terrestrial biome A biome is a collection of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological ...
*
Ecology of the Rocky Mountains The ecology of the Rocky Mountains is diverse due to the effects of a variety of environmental factors. The Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountain ...
* Sierra Nevada lower montane forest * East African montane forests * Afromontane, a series of high-elevation regions in Africa * California montane chaparral and woodlands, an ecoregion. * Angolan montane forest-grassland mosaic, an ecoregion. * Australian Alps montane grasslands, an ecoregion. * South Western Ghats montane rain forests, an ecoregion * Polonyna (montane meadow) * Altitudinal zonation * Biome


References


External links

{{Wiktionary, montane
Tree cover map for mountain forests - UNEP Map 2011
Montane ecology, Forest ecology