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 accomplished 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 rigidity and plant improvement, biomass creation, and features of human affects on alpine plants. Geographically the publication covers all components of the area together with the tropics.
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Extra info for Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems
If they lived at that time at the altitudes they inhabit today (ca. 5000 m), such plants would have had to cope with a partial pressure of CO 2 of ca. 5 Pa (or four times less than found at sea level today). Would this have been enough for their survival? Pressure reduction also increases molecular diffusivity (less likelyhood of molecular collisions). De Saussure (1779-1796 in Barry 1978), concludes from his experiments on Mt Blanc: "other things being equal, a decrease of about one third in air density causes more than a doubling of the evaporative amount" (not to be referred to quantitatively).
The latter pub- lication in particular makes it quite clear that the general notion of high mountain environments being particularly windy does not match the data. As Barry states "the most important characteristics of wind velocity over mountains are related to their topographic, rather than their altitudinal effects". Of course, wind speeds up to 200kmh- 1 are measured at some mountain stations on isolated peaks, and plants living on exposed ridges in certain mountain regions are facing severe mechanical wind stress, just as many coastal plants do.
After Friedel 1961) • Despite some inter-annual fluctuations, the overall pattern of snow distribution is "rigidly "engraved" into the alpine plant cover ("Darum liegt die raumliche Variation des Isolinienfeldes als eisernes Gesetz im Gelande eingeschrieben"). • He re-emphasizes that, at high altitudes, the spatial variability in life conditions becomes more important than the temporal variability (the latter being the usual focus of climatology), and that • elevation per se becomes a less useful predictor of life conditions the higher one ascends in the mountains.
Alpine Plant Life: Functional Plant Ecology of High Mountain Ecosystems by Christian Körner