Current concerns about the effects of global warming are driving research in a number of fields. Recently, there have been predictions that the Arctic will be subject to major climatic change as a result of global warming - it may be that the first ecological changes attributable to global warming will be detected in this region. With research interest and activity in arctic ecology ever increasing and new arctic regions of the former USSR now accessible, the British Ecological Society organised a Special Symposium on Arctic Ecology in 1995. This Symposium Volume contains 12 of the papers presented at the meeting - providing a synthesis of current knowledge. Beginning with a description of the physico-chemical environment and a discussion of microbial and lower plant communities, the book then goes on to examine how arctic plant communities influence ecosystem, regional and global processes in the context of climate change.