Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems ; with 47 Tables

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 14, 2003 - Nature - 344 pages
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Recent years have seen renewed interest in the fragile alpine biota. The International Year of Mountains in 2002 and numerous international programs and initiatives have contributed to this. Since nearly half of mankind depends on water supplies originating in mountain catchments, the integrity and functional signi?cance of the upland biota is a key to human welfare and will receive even more attention as water becomes an increasingly limited resource. Intact alpine vegetation,as the safeguard of the water towers of the world, is worth being well understood. This new edition of Alpine Plant Life is an update with over 100 new references,new diagrams, revised and extended chapters (particularly 7, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17) and now also offers a geographic index. My thanks go to the many careful readers of the ?rst edition for their most valuable comments, in parti- lar to Vicente I. Deltoro (Valencia) and Johanna Wagner (Innsbruck). Basel,April 2003 Christian Körner Preface to the ?rst edition One of the largest natural biological experiments, perhaps the only one replicated across all latitudes and all climatic regions,is uplift of the la- scape and exposure of organisms to dramatic climatic gradients over a very short distance, otherwise only seen over thousands ofkilometers of poleward traveling. Generations of plant scientists have been fascinated by these natural test areas,and have explored plant and ecosystem responses to alpine life conditions. Alpine Plant Life is an attempt at a synthesis.
  

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Contents

Plant ecology at high elevations
1
A regional and historical account
3
The challenge of alpine plant research
7
The alpine life zone
9
Global alpine land area
12
Alpine plant diversity
13
Origin of alpine floras
16
Alpine growth forms
18
Nitrogen fixation
160
Mycorrhiza
163
Responses of vegetation to variable nutrient supply
165
Uptake and loss of carbon
171
Photosynthetic responses to the environment
180
Daily carbon gain of leaves
186
C4 and CAM photosynthesis at high altitudes
189
Tissue respiration of alpine plants
190

Alpine climate
21
Regional features of alpine climates
26
The climate plants experience
31
How alpine plants influence their climate
38
The geographic variation of alpine climate
45
Life under snow protection and limitation
47
Solar radiation under snow
48
Gas concentrations under snow
52
Plant responses to snowpack
54
Alpine soils
63
The organic compound
70
The interaction of organic and inorganic compounds
74
Alpine treelines
77
Current altitudinal positions of climatic treelines
78
Treelineclimate relationships
80
Intrazonal variations and pantropical plateauing of alpine treelines
86
Treelines in the past
87
Attempts at a functional explanation of treelines
88
A hypothesis for treeline formation
95
Growth trends near treelines
97
Evidence for sink limitation
99
Climatic stress
101
Survival of low temperature extremes
102
Avoidance and tolerance of low temperature extremes
106
Heat stress in alpine plants
111
Ultraviolet radiation a stress factor?
114
Water relations
123
Soil moisture at high altitudes
126
Plant water relations a brief review of principles
133
Water relations of alpine plants
134
Desiccation stress
143
Water relations of special plant types
145
Mineral nutrition
149
Soil nutrients
150
The nutrient status of alpine plants
152
Nutrient cycling and nutrient budgets
155
Ecosystem carbon balance
196
Carbon investments
201
Lipids and energy content
209
Carbon costs of leaves and roots
211
Whole plant carbon allocation
214
Growth dynamics and phenology
221
Diurnal leaf extension
226
Rates of plant dry matter accumulation
228
Functional duration of leaves and roots
230
Cell division and tissue formation
235
Mitosis and the cell cycle
237
From meristem activity to growth control
243
Plant biomass production
247
Primary productivity of alpine vegetation
248
Plant dry matter pools
253
Biomass losses through herbivores
257
Plant reproduction
259
Seed development and seed size
266
Germination
271
Alpine seed banks and natural recruitment
274
Clonal propagation
279
Alpine plant age
289
Community processes
290
Global change at high elevation
291
The impact of altered atmospheric chemistry
294
Climatic change and alpine ecosystems
296
References with chapter annotation
299
Index
335
Geographical index
339
Subject index
341
Color Plates
345
Plant life forms
346
The alpine life zone
347
Environmental stress
348
The human dimension
349
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Christian Körner was born 1949 in Salzburg, Austria. He studied in Innsbruck, where he received his Ph.D. and lectured until his appointment as Professor of Botany at the University of Basel (Switzerland) in 1989.

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