By Christian Körner

Generations of plant scientists were serious about alpine flora - with the publicity of organisms to dramatic climatic gradients over a really brief distance. This complete textual content treats a variety of themes: alpine weather and soils, plant distribution and the treeline phenomenon, physiological ecology of water-, dietary- and carbon relatives of alpine crops, plant pressure and plant improvement, biomass construction, and facets of human affects on alpine plants. Geographically the ebook covers all elements of the area together with the tropics.

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Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems

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

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The difference between mixing ratios (which do not significantly change with altitude in the range of interest here) and partial pressures (which do change) often causes confusion. The following two examples further underline the significance of this distinction for high altitude ecology. SPa) and 1996 (ca. 36 Pa). This means that plants living at 2600 m today experience a partial pressure of CO 2 that lowland plants had experienced at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Another, more extreme example: it is known that plants lived on equator facing slopes of mountain peaks ("nunatakkers") which protruded through the ice shields during the last ice age when the partial pressure of CO 2 was 18-19 Pa at sea level (ca.

The diurnal variation in surface temperature of a dome shaped specimen of the alpine cushion plant Silene acaulis ssp. exscapa (above), measured on a bright day at 2300 m altitude in the Alps. Letters mark the geographic orientation of measurement points. Note the large (shaded) differences between cushion (center-top) and air temperature. (Korner and DeMoraes 1979) trate alpine plants is a realistic possibility (Larcher and Wagner 1976; Gauslaa 1984; see Chap. 8). Hence, benefits other than canopy warming in bright weather need to be considered when explaining the high abundance of compact life How alpine plants influence their climate forms in the alpine zone - perhaps the following three advantages are most important: • During periods' of overcast conditions, when photosynthesis is co-limited by low temperature, slightly warmer temperatures of only 2 or 3 K above air temperature may improve the carbon balance significantly.

3. The annual course of root zone temperature (10 cm below the surface) at precisely 2500 m altitude, but at sites contrasting in slope exposure. 1, SW slope with tall alpine grassland; 2, almost horizontal glacier forefield with sparse pioneer vegetation; 3, steep N slope with fellfield vegetation. Unpublished data from 1996/1997 near the Furka Pass, Swiss Alps, ca. 300 m above the climatic treeline. o Interactions of relief, wind and sun this field by his classical mapping and monitoring work.

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