Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tasmania, Australia (down-under down-under).
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Turns out its more to do with the elevation and ground composition.
At higher altitudes the thinner air makes it harder for plantation to grow and generally the higher up you are the rockier the ground is as the good soil gets washed down.
Makes enough sense I guess.
You can also add to that the fact that New Zealand's native trees are predominantly evergreen broadleaf varieties, which are not generally as tolerant of the extreme cold as the conifers and deciduous trees, like aspens, seen in other parts of the world. This tends to lead to the tree line being at a lower altitude than say the North American Rockies.
Apart from the main factor, being temperature, strong winds also stunt plant growth, and mountains can be surprisingly dry places when you get higher in altitude, which doesn't help.
All in all, the alpine environment is a pretty nasty place for any plant to grow.
Last edited by WhistlerBound; 07-03-2012 at 12:55 AM.