Tropical Alpine Environments: Plant Form and Function

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Plants growing in tropical alpine environments (at altitudes above the closed canopy forest and below the limit of plant life) have evolved distinct forms to cope with a hostile environment characterized by cold, drought and fire. Unlike temperate alpine environments, where there are distinct seasons of favorable and unfavorable conditions for growth, tropical alpine habitats present summer conditions every day and winter conditions every night. Using examples from all over the tropics, this fascinating account reviews for the first time the unique form and functional relationships of tropical alpine plants, examining both their physiological ecology and their population biology. It will appeal to anyone interested in tropical vegetation and plant physiological adaptations to hostile environments, as well as to researchers in biogeography and ecology.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a book not only for those interested in tropical alpine plants, but for anyone interested in physiological ecology and alpine plants. The editors have produced a comprehensive review of tropical alpine plant biology; indeed, the book goes beyond the title's plant form and function. This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the adaptations of plants to unique environments." Michael E. Loik, Plant Science Bulletin

"...this book is one of the best to have appeared in recent years with a focus on high-altitude ecology." Francisco l. PĂ©rez, Arctic and Alpine Research

"The editors have done a good job of brining the information about tropical alpine plant form and function together in one volume." Henrik Balsev, Systematic Botany

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521054119
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors
1 Introduction to tropical alpine vegetation 1
2 Tropical alpine climates 21
3 Paramo microclimate and leaf thermal balance of Andean giant rosette plants 45
4 Comparative water relations of tropical alpine plants 61
5 Cold tolerance in tropical alpine plants 77
6 Anatomy of tropical alpine plants 111
7 Environmental biology of a tropical treeline species, Polylepis sericea 129
8 Morphological and physiological radiation in paramo Draba 151
9 Sediment-based carbon nutrition in tropical alpine Isoetes 167
10 Functional significance of inflorescence pubescence in tropical alpine species of Puya 195
11 Turnover and conservation of nutrients in the pachycaul Senecio keniodendron 215
12 Soil nutrient dynamics in East African alpine ecosystems 223
13 An overview of the reproductive biology of Espeletia Asteraceae in the Venezuelan Andes 229
14 Population biology of Mount Kenya lobelias 251
15 Population biology of Senecio keniodendron Asteraceae, an Afroalpine giant rosette plant 273
16 Population dynamics and flowering in a Hawaiian alpine rosette plant, Argyroxiphium sandwicense 295
17 Plant form and function in alpine New Guinea 307
18 Alpine herbivory on Mount Kenya 319
19 Biotic interactions in Hawaiian high elevation ecosystems 337
20 Tropical alpine ecology: progress and priorities 355
Index 365
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