By Christian Körner

Generations of plant scientists were enthusiastic about alpine flowers - with the publicity of organisms to dramatic climatic gradients over a really brief distance. This complete textual content treats quite a lot of issues: alpine weather and soils, plant distribution and the treeline phenomenon, physiological ecology of water-, dietary- and carbon family of alpine crops, plant tension and plant improvement, biomass creation, and features of human affects on alpine plants. Geographically the publication covers all elements of the area together with the tropics.

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Extra resources for Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems

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10. Note that Decayed, but still standing leaves further add to a substantial canopy warming persists throughout overcast or calm tussock environment. However, in humid foggy periods, with low stature plants measuring ca. 6 K mountains, where tussocks are particularly abun- above air temperature. (Korner et al. 1983) 41 42 4 The climate plants experience forms. The leaf area index (LAl) of cushion plants is around 1 to 2 m 2 of leaf area per m 2 of ground area (Korner and DeMoraes 1979), and values between 2 and.

The upper diagram shows quantum flux density. ture usually has a greater effect on dark respira- (Diemer 1996) tion than on photosynthesis, and most alpine plants have more than half of their respiring plant tively cool temperatures, whatever the oscillations mass below the ground (Chap. 12). Even though a of temperature in the leaf canopy. On the other large fraction of the roots tends to accumulate in hand, upper soil layers may be warmer than air upper soil horizons in more humid mountains, temperatures during periods of bright weather, plants in both humid and drier mountains also but this is strongly influenced by the type of veghave very deep roots persistently exposed to rela- etation cover.

Fig. 4. Snowmelt figures in alpine terrain are spatially A number of conclusions emerged from conservative and determine plant distribution (location as Friedel's work which apply to plant distribution Fig. 3) in orographically structured alpine terrain in general, and which confirm what earlier people (Fig. 4). However, while these melting pat- researchers have intuitively assumed. Friedel terns, particularly in later stages are quite consis- noted: tent over the years, winter snow depth is rather variable and the timing of melting also changes • Boundaries between units of low stature alpine from year to year and also across topographic vegetation are mostly sharp rather than gradual profiles, depending on wind direction during late and can be defined with an accuracy better than snowfalls.

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