New Zealand's alpine environment is challenging, not only for the humans who explore it but for the plants and animals that inhabit it. The extremes of temperature, short summers and high rates of erosion make for an uncertain environment, and the flora and fauna have evolved and adapted to it in interesting ways. Above the Treeline: A nature guide to the New Zealand mountains is a guide to the natural history of these fascinating ecosystems. It is the first book to be published that brings together the range of flora and fauna that inhabit the alpine environment. As well as our unique alpine plants, which constitute the majority of the book, this guide includes birds; frogs and lizards; butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates; and mosses and lichens. An informative introduction is followed by descriptions of more than 850 species, illustrated by approximately 1000 colour photographs. Written by eminent botanist and conservationist Sir Alan Mark, with contributions by Brian Patrick, Rod Morris, Mandy Tocher and David Galloway, this book is an important reference and field guide, and a celebration of the richness of New Zealand's alpine environment.
Sir Alan Mark is one of New Zealand's leading plant ecologists, specialising, among other things, in the ecology of alpine areas. He is also a long-time conservationist who has played a key role in linking science with conservation. He has been a president of Forest & Bird (1987-1990); is a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand; and was made a knight for his conservation work in 2010. Now retired, he is still actively involved in conservation.