J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1973, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (2): -.

• Research Articles •    

A Primary Study on the Vertical Vegetation Belt of Mt. Jolmo-Lungma (Everest) Region and Its Relationship with Horizontal Zone

Chang King-wai and Chiang Shu   

Abstract: Mt. Jolmo-Lungma (Everest) is the highest peak on the earth. The subdivision of vertical vegetation belt there has been reported previously. But between scientistsopinions about its relationship with horizontal vegetation zone are still debatable. This paper deal primary with the observations of the vertical vegetational belt of Mt.Jolmo-Lungma and discussed its nature as compared with the horizontal vegetationzone. The climate of Mt. Jolmo-Lungma region characterized by its intensive solar-radiation, rich sunlight, great diurnal but small annual variation of temperature and higher precipition in the summer. Owing to the great height of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalaya range which intercapts the warm and wet monsoon of Indian Ocean from the south and at the same time hindered the cold currents from the north, there has, naturally, developed a difference of climate and vegetation on either side of Mt. Johno-Lungma. There are more rainfalls on the southern slope than on the north, but temperature, based on corresponding altitude, southern slope is lower than the north. The snow line on the southern side generally is situated between 5500 m–6100 m above sea level, which is lower than northern slope (5800 m –6200 m above sea level). Due to abundant rain and deep velley on the southern slope of Mt. Jolmo-Lungma region, there developed diversified forest vegetation; but on the north, there are fewer rainfall, the slight-cutting surface of the topography with many broad valleys and basins dominated by steppe. The vertical vegetational belt on the southern slope of Mt. Jolmo-Lungma region may be divided as follows: Below altitude 1000 m.: Monsoon rain forest of Shorea robusta. Between 1000 m–2500 m: Evergreen bra0d-leaf forest of Castanopsis indica and Schima wallichii etc. (the lower part of this belt) and Quercus glauca and Lithocarpus grandifolius, etc. (the upper part of this belt). The dividing line between these two part situated at an altitude of about 2000 m. Between 2500 m–3000 m (3100 m): The belt of mountain needle and broadleaf mixed forest consituted from Tsuga dumosa (= T. yunnanensis) and Quercus semicarpifolia, their pure forest and mixture. From 3000 m (3100 m) up to 3800 m. 4100 m.: Sub-alpine needleaf forest, in which Abies spectabilis is predominant. From this belt upward, there developes the alpine vegetation. Between 3800 m. (–4100 m) –4500 m. (4600 m): Alpine bushwood of Rhododendron hamaetortum., Rh. setosym and Sabina reeurva, S. wallichiana. Between 4500m. (4600m) –5200m: Alpine meadows of Kobresia pygmaea, K. kangtingensis, K. royleana and Carex atrata var. glacialis. From this belt upward, Lichen and bare rock belt are found upward to the snow line (5200–5500 m or 5600 m), among which, common species are: Rhizocarpon geographicum, Glypholecia scabra, Pertusaria sp., Umbilicaria tornata, Caloplaca elegans and Parmelia conspersa, etc. The vertical vegetation belt on the northen slope of Mt. Jolmo-Lungma distributes as follows: From 3900 m to 4400 m i. e. from south bank of Tsang-po (Brahmaputra) upward: Steppe formed by Pennisetum flaccidum, etc. Between 4400–5000 m (5100 m): Alpine steppe of Stipa purpurea. Between 5000 m, (5100 m) –5700m: Alpine meadows of Carex atrata var. glacialis and Kobresia spp. Lichen-bare rock belt distributes between alpine meadow up to the snow line (5800 m–6200 m.), the species of lichen are similar to those of southern slope. Comparing the above with the vertical vegetation belt of temperate zone (Sit. Chang-bat), subtropical zone (mountainous region of Western Szechuan province) and tropical zone (Eastern and Western parts of Mt. Himalaya and mountain of Mexico), the authors hold that the southern slope of Mt. Jolmo-Lung Taa region belongs to the type of tropical (Northern marginal) mountainous vertical vegetation belt.

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