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Mountain ecosystem

Notes, Exercises, Videos, Tests and Things to Remember on Mountain ecosystem

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Concept of Mountain Environment (Ecosystem)

source: SlideShare fig: Mountain ecosystem
source: SlideShare
fig: Mountain ecosystem

It is a high altitude terrestrial ecosystem in which the land is vertically distributed. Mountain lands provide a scattered but diverse array of habitats in which a large range of plants and animals can be found. Mountain areas cover 24% of the earth's land surface. Soil layer on the mountains is thinner because of the steepness of higher mountains which result from quick runoff of rain water washing the topsoil exposing the rock.


Abiotic components

  1. Light intensity
  2. Temperature fluctuations
  3. Wind velocity
  4. Moisture
  5. Pressure

Biotic communities:

The biotic components of mountain ecosystem are as follows:

Producer: The producer of mountain ecosystem are the vegetations which are related to altitude and is affected by the degree of slopes of mountains. The producers are lichens, shrubs, and grasses. There are also coniferous species such as Abies, pinus, oaks, etc. another several species like Michelin, Cedrella, Tsuga, Picea, etc. In the riverine areas trees like sissoo, Acacia, etc. are found.

Consumers: Among the consumers (animals) of high mountains include the red panda, musk deer, Nayan, as herbivores and snow leopard, leopard cat, clouded leopard, etc. as carnivorous mammals. Birds include snow partridges, monals, daphne, etc.

Decomposer: Decomposers of mountain regions are various microbial organisms such as fungi, bacteria, etc. They help in the decay of organic materials that provide nutrients for the producers.


Interaction among the biotic communities are the food chains and food web. Food chains are of two types:

  1. Predatory: Different kinds of producers (vegetation) are eaten by herbivores which are again eaten by the primary carnivores like leopards, wolf, snake, etc. Bacteria, fungi, etc.act as decomposers. These all are based on altitude.
  2. Detritus: Here, organic matters are first decomposed by microorganisms which make the detritus food for saprophytic or detritivore like, Collembolan, wild crows, etc.

These all food chains are interconnected to each other making a food web.

Ecological pyramid

source: MOUNTAIN ECOSYSTEM fig: Mountain ecosytem
fig: Ecological pyramid of mountain ecosystem

The pyramid of the predatory type of food chain is upright as there is a gradual decrease in the number, biomass, and energy. In the parasitic type of food chain, the pyramid of number is found to be inverted as there is the increase in number from producers to consumers.

Importance of mountain ecosystem

  1. For sources of water.
  2. Resources of minerals.
  3. Have cultural, religious and aesthetic value.
  4. Important in determining the history of the world.
  5. They largely affect the climate.
  6. They are rich in biodiversity.

source: Ecosystem fig: Food web of mountain ecosystem
source: Ecosystem
fig: Food web of mountain ecosystem

  • Mountain ecosystem is a high altitude terrestrial ecosystem.
  • There is vegetational variation in mountain due to altitude and climatic condition.
  • Abiotic components are  light intensity, temperature fluctuations, wind velocity etc.
  • Producers are green vegetations.
  • Consumers are the red panda, musk deer, nayan, yak, ibex as herbivores and snow leopard, clouded leopard etc. as carnivorous mammals.
  • The ecological pyramid in predatory type food chain is the upright pyramid and in parasitic type is inverted pyramid. 

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Why are mountains fragile

Why are mountains fragile??

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If there are no more red pandas how the ecosystem would be affected

If there are nomore red pandas how the ecosystem wpuld be affected

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