Species richness of vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens along an altitudinal gradient in western Norway

Species richness patterns of ground-dwelling vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens were compared along an altitudinal gradient (3101135 m a.s.l.), in western Norway. Total species richness peaked at intermediate altitudes, vascular plant species richness peaked immediately above the forest limit (at 600700 m a.s.l.), bryophyte species richness had no statistically significant trend, whereas lichen richness increased from the lowest point and up to the forest limit, with no trend above. It is proposed that the pattern in vascular plant species richness is enhanced by an ecotone effect. Bryophyte species richness responds to local scale factors whereas the lichen species richness may be responding to the shading from the forest trees.