A study of the natural altitudinal treeline and krummholz growth form found in Scots pine at Creag Fhiaclach, Scotland.

Mellis, Christopher (2006) A study of the natural altitudinal treeline and krummholz growth form found in Scots pine at Creag Fhiaclach, Scotland. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Aims To understand the causes of the treeline and relationship between krummholz form and elevation at Creag Fhiaclach, Scotland. Location The study was carried out in the Rothiemurchus forest focusing on the natural forestry between 400 and 600 metres on Creag Fhiaclach (57 08N, 3���°50W), Scotland. The dominant species being Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Methods A series of gradient transects through the ecotone between forest limit (400m) and treeline (600m) were identified. These were studied in order to investigate the relationship between changing tree form from tall erect trunks with large bushy crowns within the forest limit to short stunted gnarled forms of krummholz at the treeline. Tree dimensions were measured and recorded along with general physiological, meteorological and topographic observations. A sinuosity ratio was calculated of the trunks of trees along these transects in order to define a measure of krummholz. Results The variation in tree form along the gradient transects showed form changes with altitude with dimensions such as height, trunk length decreasing significantly with increasing altitude. However trunk sinuosity did not prove to be a significant measure of the variation in form. The most obvious cause of tree form variation was the wind. Main conclusions Krummholz form is the result of the trees mechanical reaction to wind, throughout the year, however this only comes about due to the trees inability to fully develop and ripen and a lack of important vitamins such as calcium during the growing season.The elevation the treeline is located at corresponds with temperature isotherms during growing seasons. Damage caused by winter desiccation due to inability of plants to ripen in the growing season is the cause but this then relates to previous growing seasons. Temperature thresholds identified in literature included air temperature in mid-growing season being within the range 10-12���°C (Grace, 1977) and mean growing season temperature of 5-6���°C (Korner, 1999).

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/214

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