Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alpine vegetation zone (11)

The Alps - Wikipedia
The Early Slavs did not live in the Alps, though at their most westerly early Medieval extent they reached the eastern end of the Alpine system.

The Alps, a very high mountain range some 200 km across, extend in an 800 km (500 mi) arc from France in the south and west to Slovenia in the east, and from Monaco in the south to Germany in the north.  The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are lower than those in the central and western portions.

The natural habitats range from meadows, bogs, woodland (deciduous and coniferous) areas to soilless scree and moraines, and rock faces and ridges. The chief deciduous trees of the region are oak, beech, ash and sycamore maple.  Human interference has nearly exterminated the trees in many areas, and, except for the beech forests of the Austrian Alps, forests of deciduous trees are rarely found after the extreme deforestation between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Alps with modern borders (Wikipedia)
A natural vegetation limit with altitude is usually lies about 1,200 m above the sea on the north side of the Alps, but on the southern slopes it often rises to 1,500 m , sometimes even to 1,700 m. Above the forest, there is often a band of short pine trees (Pinus mugo), which is in turn superseded by various dwarf shrubs and  alpine meadow plants. The vegetation has changed since the second half of the 20th century, as the high alpine meadows cease to be harvested for hay or used for grazing which eventually might result in a regrowth of forest. 

Naturpark Zillertal
Naturpark, Zillertal

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