Description

The alpine treeline ecotone (ATE) is an area of transition high on mountains where closed canopy forests from lower elevations give way to the open alpine tundra and rocky expanses above. Alpine tundra is an island biome and its ecotone with forest is subject to change, and like oceanic islands, alpine tundra is subject to invasion – or the upward advance of treeline. The invasion of tundra by trees will have consequences for the tundra biome as invasion does for other island flora and fauna. To examine the invasibility of tundra we take a plant’s-eye-view, wherein the local conditions become extremely important. Among these local conditions, we find geomorphology to be exceptionally important. We concentrate on aspects of microtopography (and microgeomorphology) and microclimate because these are the factors that matter: from the plant’s-eye-view, but we pay attention to multiple scales. At coarse scales, snow avalanches and debris flows are widespread and create “disturbance treelines” whose elevation is well below those controlled by climate. At medium scales, turf-banked terraces create tread-and-riser topography that is a difficult landscape for a tree seedling to survive upon because of exposure to wind, dryness, and impenetrable surfaces. At fine scales, turf exfoliation of the fronts of turf-banked risers, and boulders, offer microsites where tree seedlings may find shelter and are able to gain a foothold in the alpine tundra; conversely, however, surfaces of needle-ice pans and frost heaving associated with miniature patterned ground production are associated with sites inimical to seedling establishment or survival. We explicitly consider how local scale processes propagate across scales into landscape patterns. The objective of this book is to examine the controls on change at alpine treeline. All the papers are focused on work done in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Although any one place is limiting, we are able

Key Features

* Subject matter: geomorphology at alpine treeline * Expertise of contributors: each editor brings over 25 years of experience in studies of ecotones and geomorphology, and collectively over 100 years of experience in Glacier National Park * Changing alpine treeline examines climate change

Readership

Professionals and students, both graduate and undergraduate, with interests in Physical Geography, Geomorphology, Ecology, and Environmental Science; wildland and park managers

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Understanding the Importance of Alpine Treeline Ecotones in Mountain Ecosystems, D.B. Fagre 2. Pattern-Process Relations in the Alpine and Subalpine Environments: A Remote Sensing and GIScience Perspective, S.J. Walsh, D.G. Brown, Ch.A. Geddes, D.J. Weiss, S. McKnight, E.S. Hammer, and J.P. Tuttlea 3. Ecotone Dynamics: Invasibility of Alpine Tundra by Tree Species from the Subalpine Forest, G.P. Malanson, D.G. Brown, D.R. Butler, D.M. Cairns, D.B. Fagre, and S.J. Walsh 4. Geomorphic Patterns and Processes at Alpine Treeline, D.R. Butler, G.P. Malanson, L.M. Resler, S.J. Walsh, F.D. Wilkerson, G.L. Schmid, and C.F. Sawyer 5. Environmental Controls on Turf-Banked Terraces, D.J. Weiss, S.J. Walsh, S.A. McKnight, and E.S. Hammer 6. Soils and Pedogenesis at Alpine Treeline, G.L. Schmid, D.R. Butler, G.P. Malanson, and L.M. Resler 7. Canopy Structure in the Krummholz and Patch Forest Zones, E.S. Hammer, and S.J. Walsh 8. A Markov Analysis of Tree Islands at Alpine Treeline, L.M. Resler, and M.A. Fonstad 9. Modeling Feedback Effects on Linear Patterns of Subalpine Forest Advancement, M.F. Bekker, and G.P. Malansonb 10. The Future of Treeline, D.R. Butler, G.P. Malanson, and S.J. Walsh

Details

No. of pages:
224
Language:
English
Copyright:
© 2009
Published:
Imprint:
Elsevier Science
Print ISBN:
9780444533647
Electronic ISBN:
9780080957098