The Influence of Climate Change on High Altitude Grassland Ecosystems


The alpine ecosystem is suitable for detecting the impact of climate change because it has the advantages of being sensitive to temperature, having terrestrial biogeographic units distributed on a global scale, and less land use and human activity interference, etc.

Indicator Details


Population of selected taxa

PSBR model type

Pressure (P)

Corresponding targets


15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.


The high mountain ecosystem is one of the sensitive areas under climate change. The high mountain grassland usually has unfavorable growth conditions for plants, such as shallow soils, poor nutrients, low temperatures, strong winds, and heavy snows, but some specific species can adapt and grow in such extreme environments. However, under climate change, many extreme climatic events, such as warm winter, drought, and sudden decline of temperatures after spring would disturb the phenology of high mountain species, obstruct population renewal and cause the decline of populations. Furthermore, climate warming would also cause invasive species that were originally suppressed by low temperatures to gradually move up, threatening native and endemic plant populations.

Definition and Calculation

To understand if climate change could affect the high mountain ecosystems, we selected the high mountain grassland ecosystem to conduct vegetation surveys and analyzed the distributions of species, vegetation and environmental factors at vertical and horizontal gradients, together with the temperature data from meteorological stations. To understand the influence of temperature change on species abundance, we also collected the long-term monitoring data (includes herbal species composition, abundance) in the high mountain grassland ecosystems, and used temperature data of meteorological station to perform relational and regression analyses.

The data and temporal range




Data Management Authorities

Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture


  • Liu, H.-Y. (2013) Dynamic resurvey of high mountain grassland ecosystem. Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan. URL
  • Liu, H.-Y. (2015) A survey on changing high mountain grassland ecosystems. Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan URL

Data Development Status


Data Providers

Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture