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Influences of Geomorphology and Geology on Alpine Treeline in the American West–More Important than Climatic Influences?

Citation

Butler, David R.; Malanson, George P.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Fagre, Daniel B. (2007). Influences of Geomorphology and Geology on Alpine Treeline in the American West–More Important than Climatic Influences?. Physical Geography, 28(5), 434-450.

Abstract

The spatial distribution and pattern of alpine treeline in the American West reflect the overarching influences of geological history, lithology and structure, and geomorphic processes and landforms, and geologic and geomorphic factorsboth forms and processescan control the spatiotemporal response of the ecotone to climate change. These influences occur at spatial scales ranging from the continental scale to fine scale processes and landforms at the slope scale. Past geomorphic influences, particularly Pleistocene glaciation, have also left their impact on treeline, and treelines across the west are still adjusting to post-Pleistocene conditions within Pleistocene-created landforms. Current fine scale processes include solifluction and changes on relict solifluction and digging by animals. These processes should be examined in detail in future studies to facilitate a better understanding of where individual tree seedlings become established as a primary response of the ecotone to climate change.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.2747/0272-3646.28.5.434

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2007

Journal Title

Physical Geography

Author(s)

Butler, David R.
Malanson, George P.
Walsh, Stephen J.
Fagre, Daniel B.