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The Function of Cushion Plants in Alpine Ecosystems: Patterns and Mechanisms(PDF)

Chinese Journal of Applied & Environmental Biology[ISSN:1006-687X/CN:51-1482/Q]

2013 04
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The Function of Cushion Plants in Alpine Ecosystems: Patterns and Mechanisms
MENG Fengshou SHI Peili YAN Wei HE Yongtao
(1Lhasa Plateau Ecological Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
(2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
cushion plants foundation species ecosystem engineer facilitation alpine ecology

Cushion plants are generally considered as foundation species in alpine ecosystems. As ecosystem engineers they can improve micro-environment and establish habitats for other alpine plants, thus playing an important role in biodiversity maintenance and nutrient cycling. This review started with the environmental features specific to alpine ecosystems. Then we reviewed the facilitation of cushion plants on the establishment and survival of alpine plants and the community assembly. The patterns and mechanisms of facilitation along stress gradients were generalized. At last we advocated future research directions for cushion plants in terms of effects of cusion plants’ function on plants responding to climate change, species interaction change, patterns and processes of alpine communities. Ref 78


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