Alpine Biodiversity in Europe: an introduction
(2003)
Nagy, L., Thompson, D., Grabherr, G., Körner., C
This booklet is an introductory companion to the book 'Alpine Biodiversity in Europe' (2003). The book has arisen from the efforts of a network of scientists working on biodiversity throughout the alpine areas of Europe (ALPNET 1998-2000), sponsored by the European Science Foundation.

Summary

High mountains have long fascinated people. The ancient Greeks made Mount Olympus the seat of many of their gods, and the people of the Alps populated their austere mountaintops with dragons. Today, scientists, nature lovers, and of course casual walkers find alpine environments equally fascinating. Their open landscape, dominated by scrub, heaths and grasslands, and their specialist animal life has a special allure. This publication introduces alpine environments. The alpine zone begins where low temperatures limit tree growth, and it stretches high to the permanent snow line; at northerly latitudes it grades into tundra. Worldwide, about 3% of the earth's surface lies in the alpine zone; glaciers and snow hold about two-thirds of all the planet's freshwater.

Compared with the lowlands, alpine vegetation and wildlife have been less modified by human activities. In most of the mountains of Europe one still finds some of the wilderness long lost in the lowlands. However, given the pressures of agriculture, tourism and other forms of development, and the nature of climate change, there is wide concern for the fragile state of these alpine environments. The delicate relationships between the landscape, soils, plants and animals render these areas highly sensitive to environmental change.

This booklet is an introductory companion to the book 'Alpine Biodiversity in Europe' (2003). The book has arisen from the efforts of a network of scientists working on biodiversity throughout the alpine areas of Europe (ALPNET 1998-2000), sponsored by the European Science Foundation.
The full volume Alpine Biodiversity in Europe, Ecological Studies vol. 167 (Nagy L, Grabherr G, Körner C, and Thompson DBA, eds) was launched at the annual conference of the British Ecological Society, held in Manchester Metropolitan University 9-11 September, 2003. It is published by Springer Verlag, priced £105. Sample pages, full contents list and ordering is available on-line:  www.springeronline.com/3-540-00108-5

 
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Please cite as: Nagy, L., Thompson, D., Grabherr, G., Körner., C, (2003), Alpine Biodiversity in Europe: an introduction