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Many mountain plants are well prepared to face cold and wind. Some would surely rather face an easier life in the lowlands, but they cannot compete with the higher-growing plants living there. Most mountain plants manage to compete for light and space only if they cling to the bedrock and gravel in the harsh high alpine climate.
Freezing and thawing are processes that influence plant cover, move enormous blocks, stretche long mounds of earth, break open bedrock and create patterns in stone and earth.