Montane and Wadi vegetation
To Aucher-Éloy and other early travellers, the mountains of the Arabian Peninsula presented a rugged and difficult terrain for passage, and today the more remote regions have yet to yield their final secrets. These mountain chains, lying on the western, southwestern and eastern periphery of the Peninsula, were uplifted during the period of the great Alpine orogeny from the Mid Tertiary onwards, and they were thereafter eroded, often dramatically, during successive pluvial periods (see Chapter 3). Today these mountains exert a strong influence on the climate of the Peninsula (see Chapter 2), and the soil and vegetation structure of their slopes, valleys and summits undoubtedly play a vital, though as yet largely undocumented, role in the hydrogeology of the region. From the Tertiary onwards the mountains were important phytogeographically, providing a relatively equable climatic ‘corridor’ between Africa and Asia, and vice versa, during the Late Tertiary (see Chapter 4), and today the higher altitudes provide a climatic refuge for species that once had much wider distributions.
KeywordsArabian Peninsula Rock Fissure Rocky Habitat Northern Mountain Middle Altitude
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