Climatic Controls of the Global High Elevation Treelines

Körner, Christian. (2020) Climatic Controls of the Global High Elevation Treelines. In: Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes, Volume 1, Section 2: Mountains (Alpine Systems) - Life at the Top. The Hague, pp. 275-281.

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The term “treeline” refers to the natural high elevation or polar limit of tree growth, irrespective of the tree species. Thus, the treeline is a limit of the life form tree, with trees defined as single stemmed, upright woody species taller than an adult person. This life form boundary occurs globally wherever the seasonal mean temperature declines to c. 6 °C and the length of the growing season is at least 3 months. The position of this treeline isotherm is near sea level in the Arctic and can exceed 4000 m in the subtropics and tropics. It commonly is higher in drier and lower at more humid conditions. Human land use (logging, pastoralism) or disturbances (fire, erosion, avalanches) can cause trees to be absent from the climatic treeline. The reason why trees reach a thermal limit, beyond which alpine or arctic, small stature plants do well, has to do with the coupling of tree crowns to atmospheric circulation, while small plants profit from solar heating near the ground.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Pflanzenökologie und -evolution (Willi)
UniBasel Contributors:Körner, Christian
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Series Name:Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:13 Oct 2020 14:47
Deposited On:13 Oct 2020 14:47

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