How treelines from the Nepal Himalaya are responding to climate change?

Authors: Parveen Chhetri*, California State University Dominguez Hills
Topics: Biogeography, Mountain Environments, Asia
Keywords: Treeline, Ecotone, Climate change, Nepal, Himalaya
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8212, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The treeline ecotone is the high-elevation limit of forests, commonly referred to as treeline, timberline, or forestline, and represents transitional vegetation zones between the closed continuous forest below and the treeless alpine zone above. The alpine treeline ecotone is an important component of mountain ecosystems of the Nepal Himalayas; it plays a vital role in the livelihood of indigenous people and provides ecosystem services. In Nepal, few extensive scientific studies have been carried out on the treeline area, but in recent years, there has been an increased interest in treeline research triggered by concerns about the climate change and potential shift in the high mountain vegetation zone. So far, dendrochronological and dendroecological studies on the treelines of Nepal have depicted some site- and species-specific treeline dynamics and influences of climatic and non-climatic factors in the ecotone. However, a proper investigation into the causes of treeline shift was necessary in order to fully understand the treeline dynamics in the Nepal Himalayas. In this paper, I will address the following research questions focusing on the Nepal Himalaya: What are the treeline positions, the species compositions, and the spatial patterns? What kind of structural change has occurred in the treeline ecotone? How will the habitat suitability of treeline species change in future climate change scenarios?

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