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You are here: Home Archive 1979 Ursprung und Verbreitung der Paramo-Grasländer in Ostneuguinea

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Ursprung und Verbreitung der Paramo-Grasländer in Ostneuguinea

DOI: 10.3112/erdkunde.1979.03.06
Year: 1979
Vol: 33
Issue: 3
Pages: 226-236

The high mountains of East New Guinea exhibit a distinctive geomorphology caused by the  presence of glacial ice during the Pleistocene.The area covered by glacial ice usually coincides with the  present day extent of the high altitude (paramo)grasslands. This  coincidence is not  due to climatic factors since the lower limit of the grasslands varies with the extent of the glaciation and extends to lower altitudes in mountains of a large massenerhebung than in mountains of only a small massenerhebung.The presence of grassland in the deep glacial troughs is thought to  be primarily due to the high degree of wetness and not to the occurence of frost or cold air drainage. It is argued that the  present day paramo grasslands in the New Guinea high mountains are quasi-natural. They owe their  existence and extent to two main factors. Firstly, the  effect  of glacial erosion which has created the topographic conditions and  with it  the edaphic and eco logical conditions for the occurrence of natural valley-floor grasslands well below the upper timber line. Secondly, the effect  of man who has visited these grasslands for  several thousand years and has, through burning and felling, extended the grasslands from  the valley floors to the adjacent slopes. Natural grasslands still occur in some of  the more remote mountains and  one example, Mt Digini in the Kubor Range is discussed.

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