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Birch Woodlands and Tree Growth in Southern Greenland

Tyge W. Böcher
Holarctic Ecology
Vol. 2, No. 4, Fennoscandian Tree-Line Conference at Kevo-Abisko, 6-14 September 1977 (1979), pp. 218-221
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3682415
Page Count: 4
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Birch Woodlands and Tree Growth in Southern Greenland
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Abstract

Inland areas in SW Greenland south of lat. 67°N have thermic conditions which are subarctic or just border on subarctic situations, but natural woodlands of Betula pubescens coll. and Sorbus groenlandica, though not covering vast areas, are confined to favourable places from lat. 60°15′ to 61°15′N. Alnus crispa forms thickets in middle fjord - or inland areas between 61° and 67°. Apart from those depending on human activities, the factors limiting hardwood tree growth in Greenland are climatic and due either to hyperoceanic conditions in coastal mountains or skerries (too low summer temperatures) or high degree of continentality, resulting in extremely low precipitation (e.g. Søndre Strømfjord inland with subarctic steppes and salt lakes). Boreal (including sylvicolous) species, e.g. Cornus suecica, reach far north of the areas inhabited by low birch woodlands, but boreal species dominate the flora of the treeless skerries in South Greenland as well as areas at the head of the fjords where birch trees locally reach heights of 6-7 m.

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