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Library Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows (PA1003)

Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows (PA1003)

Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows (PA1003)

Resource information

Date of publication
November 2000
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Biome: Montane Grasslands and Shrublands...
Size: 46,800 square miles...
Conservation Status: Relatively Stable/Intact.....
"The Eastern Himalayan Alpine Shrub and Meadows [PA1003] represent the alpine scrub and meadow habitat along the Inner Himalayas to the east of the Kali Gandaki River in central Nepal. Within it are the tallest mountains in the world-Everest, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, and Jomalhari-which tower far above the Gangetic Plains. The alpine scrub and meadows in the eastern Himalayas are nested between the treeline at 4,000 m and the snowline at about 5,500 m and extend from the deep Kali Gandaki gorge through Bhutan and India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, to northern Myanmar.
The Eastern Himalayan Alpine Shrub and Meadows [PA1003] ecoregion supports one of the world's richest alpine floral displays that becomes vividly apparent during the spring and summer when the meadows explode into a riot of color from the contrasting blue, purple, yellow, pink, and red flowers of alpine herbs. Rhododendrons characterize the alpine scrub habitat closer to treeline. The tall, bright-yellow flower stalk of the noble rhubarb, Rheum nobile (Polygonaceae), stands above all the low herbs and shrubs like a beacon, visible from across the valleys of the high Himalayan slopes.

The plant richness in this ecoregion sitting at the top of the world is estimated at more than 7,000 species, a number that is three times what is estimated for the other alpine meadows in the Himalayas. In fact, from among the Indo-Pacific ecoregions, only the famous rain forests of Borneo are estimated to have a richer flora. Within the species-rich landscape are hotspots of endemism, created by the varied topography, which results in very localized climatic variations and high rainfall, enhancing the ability of specialized plant communities to evolve. Therefore, the ecoregion boasts the record for a plant growing at the highest elevation in the world: Arenaria bryophylla, a small, dense, tufted cushion-forming plant with small, stalkless flowers, was recorded at an astonishing 6,180 m by A. F. R. Wollaston (Wollaston 1921, in Polunin and Stainton 1997)...

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