Mountain Timberlines: Ecology, Patchiness, and Dynamics

Front Cover
Springer Science & Business Media, Mar 15, 2009 - Science - 438 pages
For more than 40 years I have been engaged in timberline research. Thus, one could suppose that writing this book should not have been too difficult. It was harder, however, than expected, and in the end I felt that more questions had arisen than could be answered within its pages. Perhaps it would have been easier to write the book 30 years ago and then leave the subject to mature. Lastly it was the late Prof. Heinz Ellenberg who had convinced me to portray a much needed and complete picture of what we know of the timberline with special respect to its great physiognomic, structural and ecological variety. The first version of this book was p- lished in the German language (Holtmeier, 2000). Nevertheless, I was very delighted when Prof. Martin Beniston encouraged me to prepare an English edition for the series ‘Advances in Global Change Research’, which guaranteed a wider circulation. Timberline is a worldwide and very heterogeneous phenomenon, which can only be presented by way of examples. My own field experience is necessarily limited to certain timberline areas, such as the Alps, northern Scandinavia, northern Finland and many high mountain ranges in the western United States and Canada. However, my own observations and the results of my and my previous collaborators research were essential for developing the concept of the book and became integrated into the picture of timberline that is presented in the following chapters.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
HISTORY AND PRESENT STATE OF TIMBERLINE RESEARCH
5
22 Modern timberline research
7
DEFINITIONS TERMINOLOGY
11
PHYSIOGNOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL DIFFERENTIATION OF MOUNTAIN TIMBERLINE
29
412 Tree species at temperate and northern timberlines
32
413 Tree species at timberlines in the southern hemisphere and in the tropics
42
42 Relationship of timberline elevation to macroclimate climate character and the masselevation effect
49
4392 Exposure
162
4310 Regeneration
167
43102 Vegetative reproduction
182
4311 Influence of site conditions on growth form
188
4312 Influence of trees and tree stands on site conditions
220
4313 Influence of animals on timberline
244
43131 Large herbivorous mammals
245
43132 Burrowing herbivorous mammals
253

43 Ecological conditions and processes at the timberlines
58
432 Carbon balance carbon limitation
61
433 Frost tolerance and damage
65
4332 Tropical timberlines
73
434 Winter desiccation and abrasion
75
435 Soil temperature
86
436 Wind
104
437 Snow cover
107
4371 Distribution and characteristics of snow cover
108
4372 Effects of the snow cover on sites
111
438 Soils
122
439 Topographygeomorphology
135
4391 Slope gradient and geomorphic structure
136
43133 Birds
254
43134 Defoliating insects Epirrita autumnata Operophtera brumata
264
4314 Anthropogenic impact on timberline
268
43142 Aftereffects of timberline decline and present impact
278
TIMBERLINE FLUCTUATIONS
293
52 Timberline fluctuations in the past
297
53 Driving processes and adverse factors controlling present timberline dynamics
299
54 Regional variation in timberline response after the Little Ice Age
301
55 Conclusions and perspectives
326
TIMBERLINE PROSPECTS AND RESEARCH NEEDS
335
REFERENCES
343
INDEX
421
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