Altitudinal Zonation of Vegetation in Continental West Greenland
The vegetation of arctic mountain complexes is still unexplored to a great extent. Extensive knowledge about arctic vegetation is needed for predictions and observations of climate change (biomonitoring). Hence, the AZV-Project aims at providing basic data for this research by accomplishing a detailed analysis of mountain vegetation. The AZV-Project was initiated in the year 2002 and expeditions were carried out in 2002, 2003 and 2006. In the final year a model of vegetation belts based on observations in the examined region is developed. It characterizes altitudinal belts with regards to flora, vegetation types, vegetation pattern and habitats and presents criteria for the delimitation of these belts. Besides, the present-day limits of the altitudinal belts are defined. Based on the described model the results will be generalized so that vegetation of inaccessible arctic regions can also be considered in future studies. The model comprises three constituent parts that provide criteria for detecting vegetational changes. Theses are altitudinal indicator species and indicator vegetation types, detailed vegetation maps of each elevation belt and the current limits of these belts. These elements constitute the basis for future biomonitoring projects with regards to climate change.