Alpine treelines mark the low-temperature limit of tree growth and occur in mountains world-wide. Presenting a companion to his book Alpine Plant Life, Christian Koerner provides a global synthesis of the treeline phenomenon from sub-arctic to equatorial latitudes and a functional explanation based on the biology of trees. The comprehensive text approaches the subject in a multi-disciplinary way by exploring forest patterns at the edge of tree life, tree morphology, anatomy, climatology and, based on this, modelling treeline position, describing reproduction and population processes, development, phenology, evolutionary aspects, as well as summarizing evidence on the physiology of carbon, water and nutrient relations, and stress physiology. It closes with an account on treelines in the past (palaeo-ecology) and a section on global change effects on treelines, now and in the future. With more than 100 illustrations, many of them in colour, the book shows alpine treelines from around the globe and offers a wealth of scientific information in the form of diagrams and tables.
Christian Koerner was born in 1949 in Salzburg, Austria, got his academic degrees from the University of Innsbruck, and became professor of botany at the University of Basel, Switzerland in 1989. He published over 300 scientific articles on plant-environment interactions and authored and coauthored numerous scientific books, including the leading plant science textbook Strasburger.
1. High elevation treelines 1.1 The task 1.2 Previous works 2. Definitions and conventions 2.1 The life form `tree' 2.2 Lines and transitions 2.3 Limitation, stress and disturbance 2.4 Altitude-related and other environmental drivers 2.5 Treeline nomenclature 3. Treeline patterns 3.1 Treeline taxa 3.2 The summit syndrome and other treeline depressions 3.3 Mass elevation effect 3.4 Treeline elevation 3.5 Time matters 3.6 Forest structure near treeline 4. Treeline climate 4.1 Specific aspects of treeline climatology 4.2 Criteria to define temperature regimes at treeline 4.3 Treeline temperatures in different bioclimatic regions 4.4 Seedbed and branch temperatures 4.5 Whole forest temperatures 5. Global mountain statistics based on treeline elevation 5.1 Mountain geostatistics 5.2 Elevational belts 5.3 Global treeline ecotones 6. Structure and stature of treeline trees 6.1 Foliage properties 6.2 Wood properties 6.3 Bark properties 6.4 Root traits 6.5 Tree stature 6.6 Dry matter allocation in treeline trees 7. Growth and development 7.1 Tree growth near treeline 7.2 Xylogenesis at treeline 7.3 Apical growth dynamics 7.4 Root growth 7.5 Phenology at treeline 8. Evolutionary adjustments to life at treeline 8.1 Phylogenetic selection 8.2 Genotypic responses of growth and development 8.3 Genotypic responses of physiological traits 9. Reproduction, early life stages and tree demography 9.1 Amount and quality of seeds at high elevation 9.2 Germination, seedling and sapling stage 9.3 Tree demography at treeline 10. Freezing and other forms of stress 10.1 Stress at treeline in a fitness context 10.2 Mechanisms and principles of freezing resistance 10.3 Freezing resistance in treeline trees 10.4 Other forms of stress at treeline 11. Water, nutrient and carbon relations 11.1 Tree water relations during the growing season 11.2 Nutrient relations 11.3 Carbon relations 12. Treeline formation - currently, in the past and in the future 12.1 Causes of current treelines 12.2 Treelines in the recent past 12.3. Treelines in the distant past (Holocene) 12.4 Future treelines References Taxonomic index Subject index