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Contribution of mass elevation effect to the altitudinal distribution of global treelines
Zhao F.; Zhang, B. P.; Zhang, S.; Qi, W. W.; He, W. H.; Wang, J.; Yao, Y. H.
Source PublicationJournal of Mountain Science
KeywordAlpine Treeline Intra-mountain Base Elevation Multiple Regression Analysis Geographical Factor Continentality Contribution Rate Northern-hemisphere Species Richness Tibetan Plateau Forest Vegetation Mountains Line Asia Timberline Patterns
AbstractAlpine treeline, as a prominent ecological boundary between forested mountain slopes and alpine meadow/shrub, is highly complex in altitudinal distribution and sensitive to warming climate. Great efforts have been made to explore their distribution patterns and ecological mechanisms that determine these patterns for more than 100 years, and quite a number of geographical and ecophysiological models have been developed to correlate treeline altitude with latitude or a latitude related temperature. However, on a global scale, all of these models have great difficulties to accurately predict treeline elevation due to the extreme diversity of treeline site conditions. One of the major reasons is that "mass elevation effect" (MEE) has not been quantified globally and related with global treeline elevations although it has been observed and its effect on treeline elevations in the Eurasian continent and Northern Hemisphere recognized. In this study, we collected and compiled a total of 594 treeline sites all over the world from literatures, and explored how MEE affects global treeline elevation by developing a ternary linear regression model with intra-mountain base elevation (IMBE, as a proxy of MEE), latitude and continentality as independent variables. The results indicated that IMBE, latitude and continentality together could explain 92% of global treeline elevation variability, and that IMBE contributes the most (52.2%), latitude the second (40%) and continentality the least (7.8%) to the altitudinal distribution of global treelines. In the Northern Hemisphere, the three factors' contributions amount to 50.4%, 45.9% and 3.7% respectively; in the south hemisphere, their contributions are 38.3%, 53%, and 8.7%, respectively. This indicates that MEE, virtually the heating effect of macro-landforms, is actually the most significant factor for the altitudinal distribution of treelines across the globe, and that latitude is relatively more significant for treeline elevation in the Southern Hemisphere probably due to fewer macro-landforms there.
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GB/T 7714
Zhao F.,Zhang, B. P.,Zhang, S.,et al. Contribution of mass elevation effect to the altitudinal distribution of global treelines. 2015.
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