The Green Cover of Mountains in a Changing Environment
Slopes induce biological diversity, and nowhere else is diversity so important as on slopes. Why the first? Why the second? The inclination of a piece of land causes gravitational forces that structure the surface and climatic vectors that differentiate life conditions across those structures. The resultant multitude of microhabitats leads to a multitude of inhabitants. A major function of those inhabitants is to secure substrate against further action of gravity. Sloping terrain is only as stable as the workforce keeping it in place. It is this endless battle between the force of gravity and biological safeguards against its consequences, which governs mountain biota. If the substrate is gone, so too are most of the plants and animals.
KeywordsAlpine vegetation Biodiversity Climatic warming Elevated CO2 Nitrogen deposition Plant ecology
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