, Volume 79, Issue 1–2, pp 21–32 | Cite as

Vegetation patterns on Mount Everest as influenced by monsoon and föhn

  • Georg Miehe


The vegetation of Mt Everest is described by means of the dominant plant formations and characteristic features of biotopes. Climatic data givenin connection with weather observations show evidence that the extreme asymmetry of the altitudinal vegetation belt on the south and north slope is induced by heavy rainfall on the south slope and the desiccating effect of the Himalaya föhn in the valleys of the north slope. Biotope shift from hypsozonal distribution on the south slope to extrazonal distribution on the north slope is described, the patterns of the actual timber line are discussed in order to reconstruct the natural upper forest limit, and regressive plant successions during the last 400 years of man's impact are summarized. The dominant vegetation pattern of the alpine belt is compared with that in the European Alps. On the arid north slope alpine steppe communities occur up to 5 500 m. The highest altitudinal vegetation belt and the highest plant communities at 5 960 m are dominated by periglacial processes. The highest records of flowering plants (6 100/6 200 m) and lichens (7 400 m) are discussed in light of the present knowledge on high-altitude vegetation ecology.


Forest limit High mountain vegetation Himalaya Periglacial environment Relative habitat constancy Upper limit of plants 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg Miehe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

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