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 favourable and unfavourable 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 population biology. It will appeal to anyone interested in tropical vegetation and plant physiological adaptations to hostile environment, as well as to researchers in biogeography and ecology.
Re-issue, originally published in 1994.
List of contributors
1. Introduction to tropical alpine vegetation A. P. Smith
2. Tropical alpine climates P. W. Rundel
3. Paramo microclimate and leaf thermal balance of Andean giant rosette plants F. C. Meinzer, G. Goldstein and F. Rada
4. Comparative water relations of tropical alpine plants F. C. Meinzer, G. Goldstein and P. W. Rundel
5. Cold tolerance in tropical alpine plants E. Beck
6. Anatomy of tropical alpine plants S. Carlquist
7. Environmental biology of a tropical treeline species, polylepis sericea G. Goldstein, F. C. Meinzer and F. Rada
8. Morphological and physiological radiation in paramo draba W. A. Pfitsch
9. Sediment-based carbon nutrition in tropical alpine isoetes J. E. Keeley, D. A. DeMason, R. Gonzalez and K. R. Markham
10. Functional significance of inflorescence pubescence in tropical alpine species of Puya G. A. Miller
11. Turnover and conservation of nutrients in the pachycaul senecio keniodendron E. Beck
12. Soil nutrient dynamics in East African alpine ecosystems H. Rehder
13. An overview of the reproductive biology of espeletia (Asteraceae) in the Venezuelan Andes P. E. Berry and R. Calvo
14. Population biology of Mount Kenya lobelias T. P. Young
15. Population biology of Senecio kenodendron (Asteraceae), an Afroalpine giant rosette plant A. P. Smith and T. P. Young
16. Population dynamics and flowering in a Hawaiian alpine rosette plant, Argyroxiphium sandiwicense P. W. Rundel and M. S. Witter
17. Plant form and function in alpine New Guinea R. J. Hnatiuk
18. Alpine herbivory on Mount Kenya T. P. Young and A. P. Smith
19. Biotic interactions in Hawaiian high elevation ecosystems L. L. Loope and A. C. Medeiros
20. Tropical alpine ecology: progress and priorities P. W. Rundel, F. C. Meinzer and A. P. Smith
"All in all, I liked this book very much. It covers a fascinating subject in a concise and readable style. It is a significant and useful contribution to any tropical alpine specialist's bookshelf, and deserves a general readership amongst curious plant ecologists and students."
- Mountain Research and Development
"[...] I feel sure that the teacher, researcher, specialist and general reader will find this well-presented volume a great stimulus to a new generation of young biologists who are just about to discover ecology, the tropics and high mountains."
- Annal of Botany