Mountain Ecosystem – Animals, Food Web and Facts

Learn here mountain ecosystem definition, animals, food web and facts of mountain ecosystem.

Mountain ecosystem consists of stunning landscapes, a lush green view, and breath-taking sceneries. Mountain ecosystem is a complex habitat for living organisms to survive. The lower slopes of a mountain ecosystem are usually covered with forests. As you go higher, the vegetation becomes less, and on extreme tips, the vegetation becomes equals to zero.


Mountain ecosystem provides a home to various plant and animal species despite the adverse climate conditions. The species that have adopted the harsh climate of the mountain ecosystem win to survive.

You can get a brief description of the mountain ecosystem, including facts, animals, etc. from this article. It will help you to understand the mountain ecosystem by providing a close viewpoint.

Definition of Mountain Ecosystem

The ecosystem found on high elevations at low latitudes is usually termed as a mountain ecosystem. Mountain ecosystem is quite vulnerable in terms of natural calamities such as landslides, soil erosion, loss of habitats, etc. 

Dense forests are a common characteristic of a mountain ecosystem at moderate elevations. The climate becomes tougher with the increase of the elevations.

Animals of Mountain Ecosystem

Mountain ecosystem refers to higher altitudes. The mountain animals have to face a lot of difficulties due to scarcity of food sources, water, oxygen, etc. In short, life in the mountain ecosystem is not easy, like other land ecosystems.

The mountain animals have evolved certain characteristic features that help them to survive in the harsh weather conditions of the mountain ecosystem. If you characterized the mountain animals, you would find these common features. 

  • Fugitive in nature
  • Relatively larger
  • Covered with a thick layer of fur or wool to protect from extreme cold 
  • Fast hooves to help them climb the hill slopes easily
  • Migrate to different places as a reaction of the season change, etc.

The mountain animals have to fight every day against the severe climatic conditions for survival. The most common animal species of mountain ecosystem includes brown bear, yak, alpine cough, lammergeier, Tibetan sand fox, Kiang, Chiru, Tibetan Gazelle, Himalayan Marmot and tahr.

  • Brown Bear


It usually lives at an altitude up to 16,400 feet above sea level. Brown Bear mostly belongs to regions across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, etc.

  • Yak


Yak is known as a mountain cow. It is a calm animal of the mountain ecosystem. They live in 20,000 feet altitudes and mostly found in China and Indian mountain ranges.

  • Himalayan Tahr


Himalayan Tahr also belongs to altitude up to 16,400 feet in the Himalayan ranges of China, Nepal, and India. 

  • Alpine Chough


It is a kind of mountain crow found in the mountains of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Alpine chough usually lives in an altitude up to 21,300 feet, but it has also been spotted at the height of 26,900 feet.

  • Lammergeier


Lammergeier is a bird that is generally found in Southern Europe, the Middle East, Northeastern China, and some parts of Africa. This bird lives typically in an altitude up to 16,400 feet, but it has been spotted at little higher altitudes up to 24,600 feet as well. 

  • Tibetan Sand Fox


Tibetan Sand Fox also belongs to China, Nepal, and India up to 17,100 feet altitudes.

  • Kiang


Kiang is an animal that looks similar to a horse. It lives in an altitude up to 17,700 feet in the mountain ranges of China, Nepal, India, Pakistan, etc.

  • Himalayan Marmot
mountain ecosystem animals

As the name suggests, Himalayan Marmot also belongs to Himalayan ranges of China, India, Nepal and other close countries.

  • Chiru


Chiru belongs to China and India found in the mountain regions with height up to 18,000 feet.

  • Tibetan Gazelle


Tibetan Gazelle is a kind of deer that lives in the mountain ecosystem of China and India. This animal species generally live in 18,900 feet altitudes.

Apart from these animals, many other animal species live in mountain ecosystem such as-

  • Dhole
  • Polar Bear
  • Caribou
  • Snowy Owl
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Golden Eagle
  • Chamois
  • Ibex
  • Snow Leopard
  • Cougar
  • Beaver
  • Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf, etc.

Mountain Ecosystem Food Web

The interconnection of various food chains in an ecosystem is commonly known as the food web. The food web structure of the mountain ecosystem involves different components, whether it is biotic or abiotic components. Abiotic components play an equal role in the food web of an ecosystem along with biotic components.

  • Producers

The most common vegetation found in the mountain ecosystem includes herbs, fungi, algae, grasses, lichens, etc. The vegetation that grows in this ecosystem is the primary source of food for mountain animals.

The animals find it quite tough to consume these plants as they mostly grow in mountain cracks due to less sunlight. Still, the mountain animals have adopted the characteristic features to survive in the adverse conditions mountain ecosystem.

  • Herbivores

The plants grow in the mountain ecosystem are the main support system for herbivores. These animals are entirely dependent on the flora of the mountains.

Herbivore acts as a central point in the food chain and plays an important role in the food web of the mountain ecosystem. Herbivores are a big source of energy for predators like carnivores and omnivores.

  • Carnivores

Only those animals can survive in the harsh conditions of the mountain ecosystem that can cope up with the climate here. Carnivores like the cougar, lynx’s, red foxes, etc. get their food from herbivorous animals.  

  • Omnivores

Omnivores get more opportunities to fulfill their need for food as compared to herbivores and carnivores. The reason is that omnivores eat both plants and animal flesh. 

Omnivores look for opportunities and act accordingly. They do not have to struggle a lot like other animals of the mountain ecosystem to get the source of their diet.

  • Abiotic components

It may sound a little awkward to you, but abiotic components are a vital part of the food web of the mountain ecosystem. In the mountains, the abiotic components include large landscapes covered with rocks, waterfalls, peaks, ridges, etc.

The abiotic components provide shelter to mountain animals for survival and the continuation of the food web properly. Some animals of the mountain ecosystem live on ridges, whereas some others live in caves or lower land to adjust to the tough weather conditions.

Mountain Ecosystem Facts

  1. The mountain ecosystem covers approximately 1/5th of Earth’s surface. 
  2. Mountain ecosystems have been evolved through a process known as plate tectonics.
  3. The mountain ecosystems are found on higher altitudes.
  4. The height of a mountain ecosystem is measured from sea level.
  5. The Mountain ecosystem acts as a primary source of freshwater. 
  6. Approximately 80% of worlds freshwater is originated from mountains in the form of melting mountain ranges and submerged into rivers and lakes.
  7. The climate of the mountain ecosystem is quite sensitive that sometimes causes natural disasters such as avalanches, erosion’s, earthquakes, etc.
  8. There is a variation in the climate and temperature of mountain regions, depending on locations and altitudes.
  9. The fluctuation in the climate becomes more as you go higher on high altitudes. It takes just a moment to change the weather from a thunderstorm to a bright sunny sky or from warm weather to a below freezing point.
  10. Mountain ecosystem also influences storms affecting lower altitudes as well. 
  11. Mountain ecosystem supports the lives of various plants and animal species despite its fragile features. However, these species are always at risk of becoming endangered because of harsh weather conditions.  
  12. The plants and trees that grow in the mountain ecosystem mostly include oak, maple, stonecrops, mosses, climbers, conifers, chestnuts, junipers, campions, ferns, etc.
  13. Mountain ecosystems also provide a home to almost 10% of the world population.
  14. It plays an essential role in the life cycles in mountain regions as well as land areas.

Mountain ecosystem provides shelter not only to plant and animal species, but up to 22% world’s population also gets shelter in mountain regions. It also plays an important role in providing a wide range of goods and services such as freshwater resources, timber, maintenance of biodiversity, etc.

Mountain biodiversity acts as a support system for the global environment, controlling pollution, climate change, etc. We should make all possible efforts to conserve the mountain ecosystem for the benefit of the entire world.



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