The phenomenon of tree waves (hedges and ribbons) formation within the alpine ecotone in Altai Mountains and its response to observed air temperature increase was considered. At the upper limit of tree growth Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica) forms hedges on windward slopes and ribbons on the leeward ones. Hedges were formed by prevailing winds and oriented along winds direction. Ribbons were formed by snow blowing and accumulating on the leeward slope and perpendicular to the prevailing winds, as well as to the elevation gradient. Hedges were always linked with microtopography features, whereas ribbons were not. Trees are migrating upward by waves and new ribbons and hedges are forming at or near tree line, whereas at lower elevations ribbons and hedges are being transformed into closed forests. Time series of high-resolution satellite scenes (from 1968 to 2010) indicated an upslope shift in the position ribbons averaged 155±26 m (or 3.7 m yr-1) and crown closure increased (about 35%–90%). The hedges advance was limited by poor regeneration establishment and was negligible. Regeneration within the ribbon zone was approximately 2.5 times (5060 vs 2120 ha-1) higher then within the hedges zone. During the last four decades, Siberian pine in both hedges and ribbons strongly increased its growth increment, and recent tree growth rate for 50 year-old trees was about twice higher than those recorded for similarly-aged trees at the beginning of the 20th century. Hedges and ribbons are phenomena that are widespread within the southern and northern Siberian Mountains.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Ashraf S, Brabyn L, Hicks BJ (2012) Image data fusion for the remote sensing of freshwater environments. Applied Geography 32(2): 619–628. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.07.010
Baker BB, Moseley RK (2007) Advancing treeline and retreating glaciers: implications for conservation in Yunnan, P. R. China. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 39(2): 200–209. DOI: 10.1657/1523-0430(2007)39[200:ATARGI]2.0.CO;2
Bekker MF (2005) Positive feedback between tree establishment and patterns of subalpine forest advancement, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 37: 97–107. DOI: 10.1657/1523-0430(2005)037 [0097:PFBTEA]2.0.CO;2
Bekker MF, Malanson GP (2008) Linear forest patterns in subalpine environments. Progress in Physical Geography 32(6): 635–653. DOI: 10.1177/0309133308101384
Bekker MF, Clark JT, Jackson MW (2009) Landscape metrics indicate differences in patterns and dominant controls of ribbon forests in the Rocky Mountains, USA. Applied Vegetation Science 12: 237–249. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2009.01021.x
Billings WD (1969) Vegetational pattern near alpine timberline as affected by fire-snowdrift interactions. Vegetatio 19(1–6): 192–207. DOI: 10.1007/BF00259010
Butler DR, Malanson GP, Bekker MF, Resler LM (2003) Lithologic, structural, and geomorphic controls on ribbon forest patterns in a glaciated mountain environment. Geomorphology 55(1): 203–217. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-555X(03)00140-5
Dial RJ, Scott ST, Sullivan PF, et al. (2016) Shrubline but not treeline advance matches climate velocity in montane ecosystems of south-central Alaska. Global Change Biology 22: 1841–1856. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13207
Fagre DB (2009) Introduction: Understanding the importance of alpine treeline ecotones in mountain ecosystems. In: Butler DR, et al. (eds.), The Changing Alpine Treeline: The Example of Glacier National Park, MT, USA. Developments in Earth Surface Processes No. 12. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. pp 1–9.
Gamache I, Payette S (2004) Height growth response of treeline black spruce to recent climate warming across the foresttundra of eastern Canada. Journal of Ecology 92: 835–845. DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-0477.2004.00913.x
Hättenschwiler S, Smith WK (1999) Seedling occurrence in alpine treeline conifers: a case study from the central Rocky Mountains, USA. Acta Oecologica 20: 219–224. DOI: 10.1016/S1146-609X(99)80034-4
Hijioka Y, Lin E, Pereira JJ, et al. (2014) Asia. In: Barros VR, Field CB, et al. (eds.), Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, NY. pp 1327–1370.
Holtmeier FK (2009) Mountain timberlines: ecology, patchiness, and dynamics. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p 437. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9705-8
Holtmeier FK, Broll G (2007) Treeline advance–driving processes and adverse factors. Landscape Online 1: 1–33. DOI: 10.3097/LO.200701
Holtmeier FK, Broll G (2010) Wind as an ecological agent at treelines in North America, the Alps, and the European Subarctic. Physical Geography 31(3): 203–233. DOI: 10.2747/0272-36184.108.40.206
Kharuk VI, Ranson KJ, Im ST, et al. (2009) Response of Pinus sibirica and Larix sibirica to climate change in Southern Siberian alpine forest-tundra ecotone. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 24(2): 130–39. DOI: 10.1080/02827580902845823
Kharuk VI, Im ST, Dvinskaya ML, et al. (2010a) Climateinduced mountain treeline evolution in southern Siberia. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 25(5): 446–454. DOI: 10.1080/02827581.2010.509329
Kharuk VI, Ranson KJ, Im ST, et al. (2010b) Spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of high elevation forest stands in southern Siberia. Global Ecology and Biogeography Journal 19: 822–830. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00555.x
Kharuk VI, Dvinskaya ML, Im ST, et al. (2011) The potential impact of CO2 and air temperature increases on krummholz’s transformation into arborescent form in the southern Siberian Mountains. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 43: 593–600. DOI: 10.1657/1938-4246-43.4.593
Kharuk VI, Ranson KJ, Im ST, et al. (2013a) Tree Line Structure and Dynamics at the Northern Limit of the Larch Forest: Anabar Plateau, Siberia, Russia. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 45(4): 526–537. DOI: 10.1657/1938-4246-45.4.526
Kharuk VI, Im ST, Oskorbin PA, et al. (2013b) Siberian pine decline and mortality in southern Siberian Mountains. Journal of Forest Ecology and Management 310: 312–320. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.08.042
Kharuk VI. Im ST, Petrov IA, et al. (2017) Climate-induced mortality of Siberian pine and fir in the Lake Baikal Watershed, Siberia. Forest Ecology and Management 384: 191–199. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.10.050
Kullman L (2007) Treeline population monitoring of Pinus sylvestris in the Swedish Scandes, 1973–2005: implications for treeline theory and climate change ecology. Journal of Ecology 95: 41–52. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01190.x
Lenoir J, Gegout JC, Marquet PA, et al. (2008) A significant upward shift in plant species optimum elevation during the 20th century. Science 320(5884): 1768–1771. DOI: 10.1126/science.1156831
Liang E, Wang Y, Piao S, et al. (2016) Species interactions slow warming-induced upward shifts of treelines on the Tibetan Plateau. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(16): 4380–4385. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520582113
Máliš F, Kopecký M, Petřík P, et al. (2016) Life stage, not climate change, explains observed tree range shifts. Global Change Biology 22(5): 1904–1914. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13210
Minnich RA (1984) Snow drifting and timberline dynamics on Mount San Gorgonio, California, USA. Arctic and Alpine Research 16: 395–412.
Petrov IA, Kharuk VI, Dvinskaya ML, et al. (2015) Reaction of coniferous trees in the Kuznetsk Alatau alpine forest tundra ecotone to climate change. Contemporary Problems of Ecology 8(4): 423–430. DOI: 10.1134/S1995425515040137
Reiners WA, Lang GE (1979) Vegetational patterns and processes in the balsam fir zone, White Mountains New Hampshire. Ecology 60(2): 403–417. DOI: 10.2307/1937668
Resler LM, Butler DR, Malanson GP (2005) Topographic shelter and conifer establishment and mortality in an alpine environment, Glacier National Park, Montana. Physical Geography 26: 112–125. DOI: 10.2747/0272-36220.127.116.11
Resler LM (2006) Geomorphic controls of spatial pattern and process at alpine treeline. The Professional Geographer 58: 124–138.
Smith WK, Germino MJ, Hancock TE, et al. (2003) Another perspective on altitudinal limits of alpine timberlines. Tree Physiology 23: 1101–1112. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/23.16.1101
Sprugel DG (1976) Dynamic structure of wave-regenerated Abies balsamea forests in the northeastern United States. Journal of Ecology 64: 889–911. DOI: 10.2307/2258815
Theurillat JP, Guisan A (2001) Potential impact of climate change on vegetation in the European Alps: a review. Climatic Change 50(1): 77–109. DOI: 10.1023/A:1010632015572
Tomback DF, Chipman KG, Resler LM, et al. (2014) Relative Abundance and Functional Role of Whitebark Pine at Treeline in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 46(2): 407–418. DOI: 10.1657/1938-4246-46.2.407
Vicente-Serrano SM, Beguería S, López-Moreno JI (2010) A Multi-scalar drought index sensitive to global warming: The Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index–SPEI. Journal of Climate 23: 1696–1718. DOI: 10.1175/2009JCLI 2909.
This research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (grant #14-24-00112). K. J. Ranson was supported by NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program. WorldView-2 imagery was collected from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) under the NextView license agreement with DigitalGlobe. The authors thank the Referees and Editor for valuable comments that helped us improve the manuscript.
Electronic Supplementary Materials: Supplementary materials (Appendixes 1-11) are available in the online version of this article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4286-7.
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Kharuk, V.I., Im, S.T., Dvinskaya, M.L. et al. Tree wave migration across an elevation gradient in the Altai Mountains, Siberia. J. Mt. Sci. 14, 442–452 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4286-7
- Ribbon forest
- Siberian forests
- Alpine treeline
- Tree waves
- Siberian pine
- Altai Mountains