Arctic and Alpine Biomes (Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the by Joyce A. Quinn

By Joyce A. Quinn

This quantity within the Greenwood publications to Biomes of the area: sequence covers the biomes at excessive altitudes and close to the poles, together with the arctic tundra biomes, the Mid-Latitude Alpine Tundra Biome (found within the mountain levels of North the United States, Asia, and South America), and the tropical alpine tundra biome (for instance, Hawaii).

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Eurasian tundra is further degraded by overgrazing by domestic reindeer. Much of Antarctica’s ice-free land is used for research stations with buildings, airfields, garbage, trampling, and noise. In some countries, alpine regions are subjected to heavy grazing, and woody shrubs at the edges of the alpine zone are often burned in an attempt to create more pasture. In some areas, it is hard to determine what the natural vegetation is. The rising popularity of ecotourism may be beneficial in preservation of both arctic and alpine ecosystems, but it requires careful management unless increased numbers of visitors disturb the natural landscape the travelers have come to see.

Incoming solar radiate from both land and sea surfaces all year, radiation striking a white snowy surface will even during winter darkness. The result is a con- reflect back into space and not enter Earth’s tinual energy loss most of the year. The energy energy system at all. This phenomenon is balance does not become positive until after called albedo. A sunburn on the bottom of snow melts, usually in June, even though incom- your chin is from solar radiation reflected off ing solar radiation increases from the time of the snow or water.

This mechanism is used by insects living in ponds or lakes that freeze solid. Morphological adaptations include small size, making it easier for those insects to find enough food and shelter. The Colias species of butterflies are largest in the subtropics and smallest in the Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, and Arctic. Pierine butterflies in the Andes are also small with smaller wings than lowland species. They hide in vegetation on the Altiplano to escape low temperatures and windy conditions. The percentage of species having small wings, or none, increases with elevation.

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