By Christian Körner
Generations of plant scientists were enthusiastic about alpine plants - with the publicity of organisms to dramatic climatic gradients over a really brief distance. This entire textual content treats a variety of issues: alpine weather and soils, plant distribution and the treeline phenomenon, physiological ecology of water-, dietary- and carbon kinfolk of alpine vegetation, plant pressure and plant improvement, biomass construction, and points of human affects on alpine plants. Geographically the booklet covers all components of the realm together with the tropics.
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Extra info for Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems
Just like human skin, warm plant layers may lose as much or more moisture at high compared with low altitudes, because of the physical conse- quences of such temperature gradients, and despite low ambient temperatures and almost moisture saturated air. 12 helps demonstrate this phenomenon for a 3300 m altitude difference in the tropics. 5 K (mostly + 1 K) at low altitude to + l3 K (mostly + 10K) at high altitude. The midday vapor pressure deficit (vpd) at low altitude ranges from 20 to 25 hPa and never exceeds 1 hPa at the high altitude site.
Even greater leaf-air humidity gradients can build up in dry tropical mountains (Schulze et al. 1985). Plant morphology also has pronounced effects on night-time temperature. Clear skies, particularly at high altitudes, cause horizontal surfaces to lose much more heat by thermal radiation than vertical structures. In addition, upright structures 'en are usually better coupled to atmospheric tempe- (\j 3 Ecuadorian Andes, 4510 m rature by enhanced heat convection (Figs. 9). §. 0 rian Andes. It is important to note that both these LL 0 plant species have their apex 2-3 cm below the a ground, hence meristem temperatures may not be [) 25 Hypochoeris ~ so different.
12 +3/+4 ca. +5 , A, Alaska (Barrow); B, Southern Alps of New Zealand; C, Austrian Central Alps; D, Rocky Mountains (Niwot Ridge); E, Mt. · 29 30 3 Alpine climate Other aspects of the alpine climate, particularly those relating to snow distribution, biologically effective temperature, radiative cooling or heating and evaporative forcing need to be discussed in a micro climatological context (Chaps. 4, 6, 7 and 9), because the atmospheric conditions measured above the vegetation in the alpine zone most often have little in common with those at vegetation level.
Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems by Christian Körner