Climate Interactions in Montane Meadow Ecosystems
Climate change can alter ecosystems and thereby trigger feedback effects that can either enhance or retard the climate change (Lashof et al. 1997). Such feedbacks are especially likely in montane and high-latitude ecosystems where soils are carbon-rich (Whittaker 1975; Schlesinger 1997), ecotones are prevalent as a result of topographic variability, vegetation is sensitive to climatic variables such as snowmelt date and length of growing season (Körner 1992; Harte and Shaw 1995; Goulden et al. 1998), and climate change is expected to be large due to snow-albedo feedback (Groisman et al. 1994). Predicting the chronology and magnitude of such feedbacks is a major challenge in ecology today, as well as an important issue both for global climate change science and policy and, locally, for people whose livelihood is dependent upon montane climatic and ecological regimes.
KeywordsClimate-ecosystem feedback Colorado Rockies ecosystem response to climate change Gradient studies Warming manipulation
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