This book is a completely revised, substantially extended treatment of the physical and biological factors that drive life in high mountains. The book covers the characteristics of alpine plant life, alpine climate and soils, life under snow, stress tolerance, treeline ecology, plant water, carbon, and nutrient relations, plant growth and productivity, developmental processes, and two largely novel chapters on alpine plant reproduction and global change biology. The book explains why the topography driven exposure of plants to dramatic micro-climatic gradients over very short distances causes alpine biodiversity to be particularly robust against climatic change. Geographically, Alpine Plant Life draws on examples from all parts of the world, including the tropics. This book is complemented with novel evidence and insight that emerged over the last 17 years of alpine plant research. The number of figures – mostly in colour – nearly doubled, with many photographs providing a vivid impression of alpine plant life worldwide.
Christian Körner was born in 1949 in Austria, received his academic education at the University of Innsbruck, and was a full professor of Botany at the University of Basel from 1989 to 2014. As Emeritus Professor, he is continuing alpine plant research in the Swiss Alps.
"For me, the greatest appeal of this book is its strong anchoring in our shared cultural history of scientific research on alpine systems and its more personal, respectful attention towards alpine plants. [...] Körner's book provides a valuable reference that points to how we may consider modifying our interactions to support the long-term integrity of life at the edges of the earth. [...] it provides motivation and tools for improving our responsible stewardship of life beyond the treeline."
– Jill Johnstone, Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 41(4), 2021