Current issue: 55(3)
Under compilation: 55(4)
The subarctic-subalpine mountain birch forest zone discerns Fennoscandia from other northern regions. The zone offers protection against wind to animal life, protects soil from evaporation and increases humidity. The article reviews distribution of vertebrate and butterfly species in the birch forest zone. There are no vertebrates that occur solely in the birch forest zone, and only few live mostly in the zone. Many species live either both on the birch forest zone and the treeless fell area above it, or in the birch forest zone and coniferous zone below it. Similarly, no butterflies occur only in the birch forest zone, but the zone is the main habitat for some species. Consequently, the subarctic-subalpine birch forest zone cannot be considered to be an independent ecozone but a transitional zone between regio silvatica and regio arctica that is nearer to the northern coniferous zone than the fell region
The PDF includes a summary in German.
The article is based on the writer’s visits in the area in 1933 and 1939. Pyhätunturi national park was established in 1938. The fell of Pyhätunturi rises up to 540 meters above the sea level, and 357 meters above the surrounding area. The soil is predominantly stony, and the rock is quartzite. The climate is continental with low rainfall. This results in a barren area, where array of plant species is limited with the exception of few gorges with fertile river valleys. The forests have remained mostly in natural state.
Vegetation is arranged in three zones: forested area, subalpine fell birch area and alpine bare top of the fell. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forms timberline more often than Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). Coniferous forests rise up to 365 meters on the northern slopes and up to about 385 on the southern slopes of the fell. It is followed by fell birch zone (Betula tortuosa, now Betula pubescens subsp. Czerepanovii) up to about 450-475 meters on the eastern and northern slopes, and 475-490 meters on the western slopes. The most common forest site type is Empetrum-Myrtillus site type. Herb-rich spruce swamps along the rivers have highest diversity of species. The article describes the plant species found in forests, peatlands, fell birch zone and top of the fell in detail. In all 162 different vascular plant species and 16 non-indigenous species were found in the area.
The article includes an abstract in German.