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Dry Alpine Scrub

The dry alpine scrub is the uppermost limit of scrub xerophytic, dwarf shrubs, over 3,500 meters above sea level and found....

The dry alpine scrub is the uppermost limit of scrub xerophytic, dwarf shrubs, over 3,500 meters above sea level and found in the dry zone. Juniper, honeysuckle, Artemisia, etc. are important species. These forests are found in both the main Himalayan regions and the trans-Himalayan barren freezing deserts representing the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh. In shaded depressions and along streams generated by snow meltwaters, the scrub thrives. Xerophytic and dwarf shrubs characterize this ecosystem.

Dry Alpine Scrub: Exploring the High Altitudes

The dry alpine scrub represents the uppermost limit of alpine vegetation, situated over 3,500 meters above sea level in arid zones. This unique ecosystem comprises scrub xerophytic vegetation, characterized by dwarf shrubs. Key species such as juniper, honeysuckle, and Artemisia thrive in this challenging environment, adapting to the harsh conditions of high altitudes. This distinctive zone showcases the resilience of plant life in extreme elevations, contributing to the ecological diversity of alpine landscapes.

Alpine Forests: A Classification

Alpine forests are categorized into three types: sub-alpine, moist alpine scrub, and dry alpine scrub.

1. Sub-Alpine Forests:

  • Found in lower alpine scrub and grasslands.
  • Mix of coniferous and broad-leaved trees; conifers reach 30 m, broad-leaved trees reach 10 m.
  • Notable species include fir, spruce, and rhododendron.

2. Moist Alpine Scrub:

  • Low evergreen dense growth featuring rhododendron, birch, etc.
  • Occurs from 3,000 meters up to the snowline.

3. Dry Alpine Scrub:

  • Located at the uppermost limit (over 3,500 meters) as scrub xerophytic with dwarf shrubs.
  • Found in the dry zone, housing species like juniper, honeysuckle, and Artemisia.
  • Altitudes ranging between 2,900 to 3,500.
  • The sub-alpine forests occur in lower alpine scrub and grasslands.
  • It is a mixture of coniferous and broad-leaved trees in which the coniferous trees attain a height of about 30 m while the broad-leaved trees reach only 10 m.
  • Fir, spruce, rhododendron, etc. are important species.
  • Xerophytic and dwarf shrubs characterize this ecosystem
Spruce Fauna
Spruce Fauna
Climatic Conditions
  • Dry arctic conditions prevail, with snowfall lasting for 5 to 6 months each year.
  • The annual rainfall is usually less than 370 millimeters.
  • Nutrients are scarce in the soil.
  • Summer temperatures average between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius.
  • Winter temperatures are typically considerably below freezing.

Aldo read : Moist Alpine Scrub

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