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Alpine and subalpine plant species are of special interest in ecology and ecophysiology because they represent life at the climate limit and changes in their relative abundances can be a bellwether for climate-change impacts. Perennial life forms dominate alpine plant communities, and their form and function reflect various avoidance, tolerance, or resistance strategies to interactions of cold temperature, radiation, wind, and desiccation stresses that prevail in the short growing seasons common (but not ubiquitous) in alpine areas. Plant microclimate is typically uncoupled from the harsh climate of the alpine, often leading to substantially warmer plant temperatures than air temperatures recorded by weather stations....
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As elevation increases, both temperature and moisture availability decrease. In many parts of the world, this decrease in temperature is a limiting factor for vegetation—at certain elevations, the temperature becomes too cold for plants to survive. However in the tropics, moisture availability may play a more important role than temperature in determining the altitude at which forests can grow. For example on Haleakalā, a volcano on the Hawaiian Island of Mauʻi, the forest line is not found at the same elevation everywhere, as you would expect if it were controlled by temperature. Rather, the forest line is highest in the wetter eastern-most end and lower on the drier, western end of the volcano. Research also...


map background search result map search result map Measurement of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-related Climate Conditions and Ecosystem Responses in Hawaiʻi Measurement of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-related Climate Conditions and Ecosystem Responses in Hawaiʻi