Extent of montane grasslands and shrublands

Montane grasslands and shrublands are a biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund.[1] The biome includes high elevation grasslands and shrublands around the world. The term "montane" in the name of the biome refers to "high elevation", rather than the ecological term that denotes the region below the treeline.

This biome includes high elevation (montane and alpine) grasslands and shrublands, including the puna and páramo in South America, subalpine heath in New Guinea and East Africa, steppes of the Tibetan plateaus, as well as other similar subalpine habitats around the world.[1]

The plants and animals of tropical montane páramos display striking adaptations to cool, wet conditions and intense sunlight. Around the world, characteristic plants of these habitats display features such as rosette structures, waxy surfaces, and abundant pilosity.[1]

The páramos of the northern Andes are the most extensive examples of this habitat type. Although ecoregion biotas are most diverse in the Andes, these ecosystems are distinctive wherever they occur in the tropics. The heathlands and moorlands of East Africa (e.g., Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Rwenzori Mountains), Mount Kinabalu of Borneo, and the Central Range of New Guinea are all limited in extent, isolated, and support endemic plants and animals.[1]

Drier subtropical montane grasslands, savannas, and woodlands include the Ethiopian Highlands, the Zambezian montane grasslands and woodlands, and the montane habitats of southeastern Africa.[1][2][3]

The montane grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau still support relatively intact migrations of Tibetan antelope (Pantholops Hodgsoni) and kiang, or Tibetan wild ass (Equus hemionus). A unique feature of many tropical páramos is the presence of giant rosette plants from a variety of plant families, such as Lobelia (Africa), Puya (South America), Cyathea (New Guinea), and Argyroxiphium (Hawai’i). These plant forms can reach elevations of 4,500–4,600 metres (14,800–15,100 ft) above sea level.[1]

Montane grassland and shrubland ecoregions

Angolan montane forest–grassland mosaic Angola
Angolan Scarp savanna and woodlands Angola
Drakensberg alti-montane grasslands and woodlands Lesotho, South Africa
Drakensberg montane grasslands, woodlands and forests Lesotho, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland)
East African montane moorlands Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
Eastern Zimbabwe montane forest–grassland mosaic Mozambique, Zimbabwe
Ethiopian montane grasslands and woodlands Ethiopia, Sudan
Ethiopian montane moorlands Ethiopia, Sudan
Highveld grasslands Lesotho, South Africa
Jos Plateau forest–grassland mosaic Nigeria
Madagascar ericoid thickets Madagascar
Maputaland–Pondoland bushland and thickets Mozambique, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland)
Rwenzori–Virunga montane moorlands Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda
South Malawi montane forest–grassland mosaic Malawi, Mozambique
Southern Rift montane forest–grassland mosaic Malawi, Tanzania
Australian Alps montane grasslands Australia
Central Range sub-alpine grasslands Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Southland montane grasslands New Zealand
Kinabalu montane alpine meadows Malaysia
Central Andean dry puna Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
Central Andean puna Argentina, Bolivia, Peru
Central Andean wet puna Bolivia, Peru
Cordillera Central páramo Ecuador, Peru
Cordillera de Merida páramo Venezuela
High Monte Argentina
Northern Andean páramo Colombia, Ecuador
Santa Marta páramo Colombia
Talamanca Paramo Costa Rica, Panama
Southern Andean steppe Argentina, Chile
Zacatonal Mexico, Guatemala
Altai alpine meadow and tundra China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia
Central Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe China
Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows Bhutan, Myanmar, China, India, Nepal
Ghorat–Hazarajat alpine meadow Afghanistan
Hindu Kush alpine meadow Afghanistan
Karakoram–West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan
Khangai Mountains alpine meadow Mongolia
Kopet Dag woodlands and forest steppe Iran, Turkmenistan
Kuh Rud and Eastern Iran montane woodlands Iran
Mediterranean High Atlas juniper steppe Morocco
North Tibetan Plateau–Kunlun Mountains alpine desert China
Northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows China, India, Pakistan
Ordos Plateau steppe China
Pamir alpine desert and tundra Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Qilian Mountains subalpine meadows China
Sayan alpine meadows and tundra Mongolia, Russia
Southeast Tibet shrub and meadows China
Sulaiman Range alpine meadows Afghanistan, Pakistan
Tian Shan montane steppe and meadows China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Tibetan Plateau alpine shrublands and meadows China
Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows India, Nepal
Yarlung Zambo arid steppe China

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. World Wide Fund for Nature. "Montane Grasslands and Shrubland Ecoregions". Archived from the original on 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  2. ^ Werger, MJA; van Bruggen, AC, eds. (1978). Biogeography and ecology of southern Africa. Springer. ISBN 9789061930839.
  3. ^ White, F (1983). The vegetation of Africa: A descriptive memoir to accompany the UNESCO/AETFAT/UNSO vegetation map of Africa. Natural Resources Research. Vol. 20. Paris, France: UNESCO.