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5 Reasons Why Are Plants In The Alpine Biome Typically Low Growing?

Alpine biomes refer to an ecosystem that contains little or no trees due to its high altitude. They are found in mountainous areas around the globe.

The questions that arise are what are alpine biomes, why are plants in the alpine biome typically low growing, and what are the reasons and causes behind the unsuitable climate for plant growth?

So if you want to know the answers to the question of why are plants in the alpine biome typically low growing, then keep on reading.

Why Are Plants In The Alpine Biome Typically Low Growing
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What Is Alpine Biome And Why Is It Important?

Alpine biomes are biomes mostly found in mountain areas. These biomes include wet, snowy, and cold areas and are found at almost 1000 feet in height above sea level.

Alpine biomes are considered important because they provide a thriving ecosystem for living organisms. They have unique characteristics that help plants and animals to adapt to them.

Due to limited nutrients, there is limited to no growth of trees in alpine biomes, but over 200 species can survive in this thriving ecosystem. Alpine biomes are considered great tourism spots and are used for manufacturing and mining, as they contribute an important part to the ecosystem.

Plants In Alpine Biomes

Due to varying environmental factors, plants in alpine biomes have unique characteristics. It is believed that plants in alpine biomes grow lower as compared to plants in other ecosystems.

The alpine biomes have low-growing plants because they have access to limited nutrients in their environment.

Due to this unavailability, trees are unable to grow in mountain areas, but still, over 200 plant species are found in alpine biomes. Lichens, perennial grasses, forbs, and mosses are among the list of plants that grow in such environments.

Why Are Plants Smaller In Alpine Biomes?

Unlike Antarctic and Arctic tundras that are found at the northern and southern poles of the Earth, alpine biomes are present throughout the world at high altitudes. They are usually found in mountains between the treeline and snowline. 

Limited Nutrients

Plants in alpine biomes have an excess supply of water, but a limited supply of nutrients, which makes it difficult for them to grow. Such plants are often subject to land sliding, which destroys the soil.

This soil is essential for their growth, so events like land sliding produce unfavorable conditions for the plant to grow.

Lack Of Sunlight

Another reason for the low growth of plants is the lack of sunlight. The temperature in these areas is comparatively lower than that of other regions, which makes their growth significantly slow.

Low Level Of Carbon dioxide

The survival of plants depends on the rate of photosynthesis. At high altitudes, the level of carbon dioxide drops down to an abnormally low level. This makes it difficult for the plant to survive, which also results in low plant growth as compared to areas where carbon dioxide is readily available.


Alpine biomes have windy weather and these strong winds limit the plant’s growth and propagation. Alpine biomes are characterized by the presence of little groundcover plants.

These plants grow closer to the ground to protect themselves from the strong winds. As a result, plants in alpine biomes grow low for their survival and propagation.

Slow Degradation

Another reason of why are plants in the alpine biome typically low growing includes slow degradation. Due to the low temperature in such regions, the rate of degradation of plants after their death is very slow. This results in poor soil conditions, which makes it difficult for the plants to grow.

How Are The Plants Able To Survive In Alpine Biomes?

Plants that grow in alpine biomes contain an antifreeze molecule that covers and protects the plant. This helps the plant to survive in extreme weather conditions and prevents it from freezing to death.

Also, these plants have specialized root systems that help them survive. The roots spread horizontally instead of growing vertically. This stops the roots to reach permafrost soil, which can cause plant death due to water loss.

Human Impact On Alpine Biomes

The degradation of alpine biomes started in the mid-twentieth century when these areas became popular tourist attractions. With popularity came expansion and the influence of the people started the destruction of the natural ecosystem.

As a result of its popularity, the quality of air present in alpine biomes deteriorated, the water quality started declining, and the land and noise pollution also increased. Slope erosion became common due to the construction of ski slopes and roads.

The scenery of these biomes has also changed over time. Many low-land suburbs are produced as a result of the transformation of upper lateral valleys by the communities. The natural scenery of alpine biomes is transformed to promote tourist attractions at these places.


The alpine biomes are found at an altitude of 1000 feet above sea level, where the environment is not suitable for plant growth.

The temperature drops significantly, which makes the survival of living organisms difficult. The plants that are present in such harsh environmental conditions grow at a very slow rate due to many reasons.

Inadequate nutrients required for plant growth are the major cause. There is plenty of oxygen but very little carbon dioxide, which is why the growth of the plants is limited.

Plants in alpine biomes grow closer to the surface of the earth to protect themselves, as strong winds result in plant death. Due to the lower temperature, plants after their death cannot decompose, so the soil in such areas remains unfertilized.

This article contains the most accurate answers to your question ‘why are plants in the alpine biome typically low growing? The reasons for the low growth of plants are described in detail.

We hope this article facilitated you in answering your question. If you have any queries, feel free to ask and we’ll get back to you!