By Friedrich-Karl Holtmeier
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Additional resources for Mountain Timberlines: Ecology, Patchiness, and Dynamics (Advances in Global Change Research, 36)
000 km away from the contiguous highmountain ranges of the world. This isolated position resulted in a comparatively great variety of tree species at timberline that cannot be described in detail here. Timberlines are mainly formed by evergreen broad-leaved trees and also by conifers native to the southern hemisphere. In New Guinea, for example, 13 tree species and tall shrub species occur at the upper timberline. They belong to at least five genera, among them Podocarpus, Dacrycarpus, Quintinia, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, Rapanea, Olearia and others (Wardle, 1971, 1974; Hope, 1976; Löffler, 1979; Corlett, 1984).
Open stands of Polylepis tarapacana (about 2 m high) on Sajama volcano (Bolivia). A field layer is missing, possibly due to lack of moisture. M. Y. Bader, 23 August 2003. Some authors suppose the scattered occurrences of Polylepis to be dependent on comparatively favourable soil-climatic conditions (Troll, 1959; Koepke, 1961; Walter and Medina, 1969; Lauer and Klaus, 1975a; Lauer, 1979a, 1986; Walter and Breckle, 1984; Rauh, 1988). Ellenberg (1958, 1959, 1966), however, objected to this hypothesis since he had found such isolated groves on completely different substrates ranging from loamy to coarse material such as debris and boulders (Ellenberg, 1975).
Stands of birch (Betula tortuosa) also occur in southern Greenland. This birch is very likely genetically related to dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa). The upper limit of birch trees is located at an elevation of about 150 m. Stunted outliers have advanced to almost 250 m (Böcher, 1979). Birch is also quite common to the subalpine belt of some mountain regions in central Asia: for example in the Lake Baikal region (Betula ermanii), in Tien-Shan (Betula saposhnikovii), Alai mountains, Pamir (Betula alaijica), Altai (Betula tortuosa) and in the Himalayas (Betula utilis).