A mini review: biodiversity, life form and vegetation of flora in the Alpine zone

Paper Details

Review Paper 01/07/2014
Views (197) Download (8)

A mini review: biodiversity, life form and vegetation of flora in the Alpine zone

Narjes Ebrahimnezhad
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 1), 526-531, July 2014.
Certificate: JBES 2014 [Generate Certificate]


The Alpine and Arctic biomes cover 16% of the earth’s surface area. Because of the importance of alpine flora, this review discuses on the results of different studies on the Biodiversity and phytogeography of the alpine flora. The Alpine Region has such a rich and diverse biodiversity. Alpine vegetation is defined zone of vegetation between the altitudinal limit for tree growth and the nival zone. Many different plant species live in the alpine environment. Terrestrial plants of arctic and alpine regions are mainly flowering plants (Angiosperms), bryophytes, and lichens; ferns are also represented but with fewer species. Almost all the Angiosperms are herbaceous perennials or very low shrubs; annuals are very rare. Alpine plants must adapt to the harsh conditions of the alpine environment, which include low temperatures, dryness, ultraviolet radiation, and a short growing season. Alpine plants face pollination problems caused by low temperatures which confine insect activities. The principal kinds of pollinating insects in alpine locations are short-tongued bees, bumblebees, flies, butterflies, and moths. Alpine plants use both sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction. The principal means of vegetative reproduction in both arctic and alpine plants is by rhizomes. During the past few decades, human activity has increased in alpine environments and our disturbance is probably the biggest threat to alpine plant. Climate change also poses a direct threat to alpine plants.


Austrheim G, Kristian H, Atle M. 2005. The role of life history traits for bryophyte community patterns in two contrasting alpine regions. The Bryologist 108 (2), 259–271. http://dx.doi.org/ doi:10.1639/0007-2745 (2005) 108[0259:TROLHT]2.0.CO;2

Barry R.G. 1994. Past and potential future changes in mountain environments; A review. In (Beniston, M., ed. Routledge Publishing Company, London and New York, Mountain Environments in Changing Climates pp. 3–33.

Beniston M, Fox DG, Adhikary S, Andresson R, Guisan A, Holten JI, Ines J, Maitima B, Bliss LC. 1960. Adaptations of arctic and alpine plants to environmental conditions. Symposium Life under Extreme Conditions.

Bliss LC. 1971. Arctic and Alpine Plant life Cycles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 2.

Breckle SW. 1971. Vegetation in alpine regions of Afghanistan. In: Davis PH et al (eds) Plant life of South- West Asia. Proceedings of the symposium Edinburgh, 107–116.

Breckle SW, Wucherer W. 2006. Vegetation of the Pamir (Tajikistan): land use and desertification problems. In: Spehn E, Ko¨rner C, Liberman M (eds) Land use change and mountain biodiversity. CRC Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, pp 225–237

Grime JP. 1979. Plant stratergies and vegetation processes. (John Wiley: Chichester.)

Guisan A, Holten JI, Spichiger R, and Tessier L (eds.). 1995. Potential Ecological Impacts of Climate Change in the Alps and Fennoscandian Mountains, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques,Genève, p. 194.

Hacker J, Gilbert N. 2008. Ice Propagation in Dehardened Alpine Plant Species Studied by Infrared Differential Thermal Analysis (IDTA). Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 40 (4), 660–670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1657/1523-0430(07-077) [HACKER] 2.0.CO;2.

Huntley B. 1991. How Plants Respond to Climate Change: Migration Rates, Individualism and the Consequences for Plant Communities. Ann. Botany 67 (Suppl. 1), 15–22.

Kienast F, Wildi O, Brzeziecki B, Zimmermann N, Lemm R. 1998. Klimaänderung und mögliche langfristige Auswirkungen auf die Vegetation der Schweiz, Schlussbericht NFP31, VDG Hochschulverlag, Zürich, p. 71

Klotzli F. 1994. Vegetation als Spielball naturgegebener Bauherren, Phytocoenologia 24, 667–675.

Körner C. 2003. Alpine plant life: functional plant ecology of high mountain ecosystems. Springer.

Kullman L. 2004. The changing face of the alpine world. IGBP, Global Change Newsletter 57, 12–14.

Mani MS. 1962. Introduction to high altitude entomology. Insect life above the timber-line in the north-west Himalaya. London. 302 pp.

Noroozi J, Akhani H, Breckle S. 2008. Biodiversity and phytogeography of the alpine flora of Iran. Biodiversity and Conservation 17, 493–521.

Ozenda P. 1985. La ve´ge´tation de la chaıˆne alpine dans l’espace montagnard europe´en,Masson, Paris, 344 pp.

Porsild AE. 1951. Plant life in the Arctic. Canadian Geographical Journal 42,120-45

Quezel P. and Barbero M. 1990. Les foreˆts me´diterrane´ennes: proble`mes pose´s par leur signification historique, e´cologique et leur conservation, Acta Botanica Malacitana 15, 145–178.

Rajaei P, Maassoumi AA, Mozaffarian V, Nejad Sattari T, Pourmirzaei A. 2011. Alpine flora of Hezar mountain (SE Iran). Rostaniha 12(2), 111-127.

Ramau JC, Mansion D, Dume G, Lecointe A, Timbal J, Dupont P, Keller R. 1993. Flore Forestie`re Franc¸ aise, Guide Ecologique Illustre´. Lavoisier TEC and DOC Diffusion, Paris, 2419.

Theurillat JP & Guisan A. 2001. Potential impacts of climate change on vegetation in the European Alps: a review. Climatic Change 50, 77–109.

Tranquilwli N. 1963. Climate and water relations of plants in the sub-alpine region. In The Water Relutions of Plants, pp. 153-67. Ed. A. J. Rutter. Dorking, England.

Tsukaya H, Tsuge T. 2001. Morphological Adaptation of Inflorescences in Plants that Develop at Low Temperatures in Early Spring: The Convergent Evolution of “Downy Plant. Plant Biology 3 (5), 536– 543. http://dx.doi.org/ doi:10.1055/s-2001-17727

Went FW. 1964. Growing conditions of alpine plants. Israel Journal of Bot. 13, 82-92.

Went FW. 1953. Annual plants at high altitudes in the Sierra Nevada, California. Mudrono 12, 109-114.

Price LW. 1981. Mountains and man: a study of process and environment. University of California, Berkeley, USA.