Alpine Vegetation

Alpine Vegetation

 

vegetation found in mountainous countries above subalpine vegetation and forests. Despite belonging to various systematic groups, alpine plants have a number of traits in common, depending on similarity of environmental conditions (such as low temperature, short vegetation period, and rapid variations in temperature and humidity). All plants of this group are low-growing and dwarfish. They have short stems and small leaves, which often cling to the stems. The leaves are frequently leathery and are convolute or thickly covered with little hairs; sometimes they are thick and fleshy, with small sunken stomata in the pith. Typical plant communities of Alpine vegetation are meadows with carpets of short grass and a predominance of grasses (for example, meadow grasses), wood-rushes, milk vetches, crowfoots, primroses, gentians, cinquefoils, wood betony, and others. On stonier ground, typical plants are saxifrage, whitlow grass, and others, as well as thickets of rhododendron. Alpine vegetation is characteristic of the Alps; the Caucasus; the Altai; the northern, central, and eastern parts of the Tien Shan; the mountainous parts of the eastern rim of Central Asia; the Himalayas; and some other high-mountain regions. The Alpine vegetation of different mountain systems has its own characteristic floral composition. The majority of plant genera represented in the various alpine belts are of Asiatic origin. Among Alpine vegetation are many good fodder grasses and decorative plants. Alpine meadows are valuable summer pasture land.

V. N. SUKACHEV

References in classic literature ?
The nearer ground was strewn with glaciated boulders and supported nothing but a stunted Alpine vegetation of compact clustering stems and stalkless flowers.
The high biodiversity of the area includes threatened mammals (Rwenzori leopard, Rwenzori red duiker, African elephant, chimpanzee), and the unique alpine vegetation characterised by giant lobelias and groundsels with its associated range-restricted bird species - including 19 Albertine Rift endemics.
The highlands (the area above 800 m) are dominated by alpine vegetation, bordered by boreal forest and wetlands at lower elevations, and have been described as southern mountainous outliers for the High Subarctic Tundra ecoregion (Meades, 1990).
Nevertheless, the available evidence makes it tempting to conclude that dormancy plays a crucial role in persistence at least for alpine vegetation.
On the other hand, some see the damage to alpine vegetation, the expense of managing the population, and the potential hazard to visitors.
These formations stretch across the globe, covering coniferous forests, mixed forests, broadleaf forests, tundra and alpine vegetation, woodlands and shrublands, the British Isles, and tropical regions.
This adaptive capacity is now being recognized within such projects as the GLORIA programme - of which ICIMOD is a member - that has incorporated protocols for working with indigenous informants to document alpine vegetation change as a result of global warming.
Alpine vegetation occurs at over 2200m altitude, with species of Carex curvula, Festuca stupina, over humicosilicate soils.
The first ever pan-European study carried out by an international group of researchers revealed that climate change is having a more profound effect on alpine vegetation than expected.
I walk on a carpet of alpine vegetation and in the undergrowth I find anemones, gentians of every shade, buttercups, violas and so on.
McDonald (1993) described climatic conditions of two of the highest peaks carrying subalpine and alpine vegetation (Cerro Potosi and Pena Nevada); mean annual temperatures were -3 to 18[degrees]C and precipitation was >100 mm/year, occurring mostly during summer.