Montane grasslands and shrublands
Montane grasslands and shrublands is a habitat type defined by the World Wildlife Fund. The biome includes high altitude grasslands and shrublands around the world. The term "montane" in the name of the biome refers to "high altitude", rather than the ecological term which denotes the region below treeline.
This habitat type includes high elevation (montane and alpine) grasslands and shrublands, including the puna and paramo in South America, subalpine heath in New Guinea and East Africa, steppes of the Tibetan plateaus, as well as other similar subalpine habitats around the world.
The plants and animals of tropical montane paramos display striking adaptations to cool, wet conditions and intense sunlight. Around the world, characteristic plants of these habitats display features such as rosette structures, waxy surfaces, and abundant pilosity.
The paramos of the northern Andes are the most extensive examples of this habitat type. Although ecoregion biotas are most diverse in the Andes, these ecosystems are distinctive wherever they occur in the tropics. The heathlands and moorlands of East Africa (e.g., Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Rwenzori Mountains), Mount Kinabalu of Borneo, and the Central Range of New Guinea are all limited in extent, isolated, and support endemic plants and animals.
Drier subtropical montane grasslands, savannas, and woodlands include the Ethiopian Highlands, the Zambezian montane grasslands and woodlands, and the montane habitats of southeastern Africa.
The montane grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau still support relatively intact migrations of Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni) and kiang, or Tibetan wild ass (Equus hemionus). A unique feature of many tropical paramos is the presence of giant rosette plants from a variety of plant families, such as Lobelia (Africa), Puya (South America), Cyathea (New Guinea), and Argyroxiphium (Hawai’i). These plant forms can reach elevations of 4,500–4,600 metres (14,800–15,100 ft) above sea level.
Montane grassland and shrubland ecoregions
|Australasia Montane grasslands and shrublands|
|Australian Alps montane grasslands||Australia|
|Central Range sub-alpine grasslands||Indonesia, Papua New Guinea|
|Southland montane grasslands||New Zealand|
|Kinabalu montane alpine meadows||Malaysia|
- This article incorporates text available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. World Wide Fund for Nature. "Montane Grasslands and Shrubland Ecoregions". Archived from the original on 2011-04-01.
- Werger, MJA; van Bruggen, AC, eds. (1978). Biogeography and ecology of southern Africa. Springer. ISBN 9789061930839.
- White, F (1983). The vegetation of Africa: A descriptive memoir to accompany the UNESCO/AETFAT/UNSO vegetation map of Africa. Natural Resources Research. 20. Paris, France: UNESCO.