This book addresses the significant environmental changes experienced by
high latitude and high altitude ecosystems at the beginning of the 21st century.
Increased temperatures and precipitation, reduction in sea ice and
glacier ice, the increased levels of UV-radiation and the long-range transported
contaminants in arctic and alpine regions are stress factors that
challenge terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Plants inhabiting high alpine and nival zones are considered as living in an extreme
Extreme environments have been attractive for explorers for centuries, and nowadays
they also attract tourists. Fortunately biological science is becoming increasingly
aware that these remote habitats provide challenging questions that will help to
understand the limits of life functions.
This ancient Native American proverb and what it implies resonates
today as it has become increasingly obvious that people’s actions
and interactions with the environment affect not only living conditions
now, but also those of many generations to follow. Humans must
address the effect they have on the Earth’s climate and how their choices
today will have an impact on future generations.