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Influences of geomorphology and geology on alpine treeline in the American West - More important than climatic influences?

Physical Geography

By:
, , , and
DOI:10.2747/0272-3646.28.5.434

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Abstract

The spatial distribution and pattern of alpine treeline in the American West reflect the overarching influences of geological history, lithology and structure, and geomorphic processes and landforms, and geologic and geomorphic factors—both forms and processes—can control the spatiotemporal response of the ecotone to climate change. These influences occur at spatial scales ranging from the continental scale to fine scale processes and landforms at the slope scale. Past geomorphic influences, particularly Pleistocene glaciation, have also left their impact on treeline, and treelines across the west are still adjusting to post-Pleistocene conditions within Pleistocene-created landforms. Current fine scale processes include solifluction and changes on relict solifluction and digging by animals. These processes should be examined in detail in future studies to facilitate a better understanding of where individual tree seedlings become established as a primary response of the ecotone to climate change.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Influences of geomorphology and geology on alpine treeline in the American West - More important than climatic influences?
Series title:
Physical Geography
DOI:
10.2747/0272-3646.28.5.434
Volume:
28
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
V.H. Winston
Publisher location:
Silver Spring, MD
Contributing office(s):
Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description:
17 p.
First page:
434
Last page:
450
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
The Rocky Mountains
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N