What is a montane ecosystem?
A montane ecosystem is a mountain area between the lower timberline (lower tree line) and the timberline (tree line), with soil temperatures approximately between 6-12 degrees Celsius (43-54 Fahrenheit).
In the montane region, there can be dense forests and high winds. There are different forest types, depending on the location in the world.
Temperate montane forests occur in Europe (e.g. the Alps, Carpathians, and the Caucasus Mountains), North America (e.g. Cascade Range and Appalachians), South America, New Zealand, and Himalaya.
Mediterranean montane forests are warmer and drier than temperate montane forests in summer, and have a mild wet climate in winter. These forests occur in the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa, Mexico, southwestern America, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Tropical montane forests (rain forests) occur in the continents of North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America, as well as in Borneo, south India, and New Guinea, where the temperatures and hot and moist.
There are also montane grasslands and shrublands in drier climate zones.
Above the tree line in montane areas, in the alpine zone, the trees diminish and there are more low shrubs and ground plants because the climate is colder. Below the tree line, in the foothill zone, the climate is drier and warmer, and the area is flatter.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM