Montane grasslands and shrublands

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Montane grasslands and shrublands is a biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund. The biome includes high altitude (montane, subalpine, and alpine) grasslands and shrublands around the world.

Montane grasslands and shrublands located above the tree line are commonly known as alpine tundra, which occurs in mountain regions around the world. Below the tree line are subalpine and montane grasslands and shrublands. Stunted subalpine forests are known as krummholz, and occur just below the tree line, where harsh, windy conditions and poor soils create dwarfed and twisted forests of slow-growing trees.

Montane grasslands and shrublands, particularly in subtropical and tropical regions, often evolved as virtual islands, separated from other montane regions by warmer, lower elevation regions, and are frequently home to many distinctive and endemic plants which evolved in response to the cool, wet climate and abundant tropical sunlight. Characteristic plants of these habitats display adaptations such as rosette structures, waxy surfaces, and hairy leaves. A unique feature of many wet tropical montane regions is the presence of giant rosette plants from a variety of plant families, such as Lobelia (Afrotropic), Puya (Neotropic), Cyathea (New Guinea), and Argyroxiphium (Hawaii).

The most extensive montane grasslands and shrublands occur in the Neotropic Páramo of the Andes Mountains. This biome also occurs in the mountains of east and central Africa, Mount Kinabalu of Borneo, highest elevations of the Western Ghats in South India and the Central Highlands of New Guinea.

Where conditions are drier, one finds montane grasslands, savannas, and woodlands, like the Ethiopian Highlands, and montane steppes, like the steppes of the Tibetan Plateau.

Montane grassland and shrubland ecoregions[edit]

Afrotropic Montane grasslands and shrublands
Angolan montane forest-grassland mosaic Angola
Angolan Scarp savanna and woodlands Angola
Drakensberg alti-montane grasslands and woodlands Lesotho, South Africa
Drakensberg montane grasslands, woodlands and forests Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland
East African montane moorlands Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
Eastern Zimbabwe montane forest-grassland mosaic Mozambique, Zimbabwe
Ethiopian montane grasslands and woodlands Ethiopia, Sudan
Ethiopian montane moorlands Ethiopia, Sudan
Highveld grasslands Lesotho, South Africa
Jos Plateau forest-grassland mosaic Nigeria
Madagascar ericoid thickets Madagascar
Maputaland-Pondoland bushland and thickets Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland
Ruwenzori-Virunga montane moorlands Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda
South Malawi montane forest-grassland mosaic Malawi, Mozambique
Southern Rift montane forest-grassland mosaic Malawi, Tanzania
Australasia Montane grasslands and shrublands
Australian Alps montane grasslands Australia
Central Range sub-alpine grasslands Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Southland montane grasslands New Zealand
Indomalaya Montane grasslands and shrublands
Kinabalu montane alpine meadows Malaysia
Neotropic Montane grasslands and shrublands
Central Andean dry puna Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
Central Andean puna Argentina, Bolivia, Peru
Central Andean wet puna Bolivia, Peru
Cordillera Central páramo Ecuador, Peru
Cordillera de Merida páramo Venezuela
Northern Andean páramo Colombia, Ecuador
Santa Marta páramo Colombia
Talamanca Paramo Costa Rica, Panama
Southern Andean steppe Argentina, Chile
Zacatonal Mexico, Guatemala
Palearctic montane grasslands and shrublands
Altai alpine meadow and tundra China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia
Central Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe China
Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Nepal
Ghorat-Hazarajat alpine meadow Afghanistan
Hindu Kush alpine meadow Afghanistan, Pakistan
Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan
Khangai Mountains alpine meadow Mongolia
Kopet Dag woodlands and forest steppe Iran, Turkmenistan
Kuhrud-Kohbanan Mountains forest steppe Iran
Mediterranean High Atlas juniper steppe Morocco
North Tibetan Plateau-Kunlun Mountains alpine desert China
Northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows China, India, Pakistan
Ordos Plateau steppe China
Pamir alpine desert and tundra Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Qilian Mountains subalpine meadows China
Sayan Alpine meadows and tundra Mongolia, Russia
Southeast Tibet shrub and meadows China
Sulaiman Range alpine meadows Afghanistan, Pakistan
Tian Shan montane steppe and meadows China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Tibetan Plateau alpine shrub and meadows China
Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows India, Nepal
Yarlung Zambo arid steppe China

See also[edit]

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