It surprises many people to find out that getting enough water can be a challenge for plants and animals on the alpine tundra.

Yes, snow is a prominent feature of the tundra, and a lot of snow can fall above timberline every winter. However, plants cannot use the frozen snow for growth!

Plus, lots of the snow blows away before it melts. Then, water from the remaining melting snow quickly drains away from steep rocky mountain slopes leaving dry conditions behind. Intense sunlight and wind also contribute to the dry nature of alpine tundra.

However, you will find some wet areas in the alpine tundra. These areas are so marshy that most plants would die, so the ones there have their own adaptations to deal with the soggy conditions.

Still, most of the alpine tundra plants and animals have adapted to dry conditions.

Look for ways that plants and animals have adapted to water shortages above treeline on the alpine tundra.

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