Alpine meadows, as their name suggests, are meadows that form in high altitude conditions between the tree line and the snow line on a mountain. For the majority of the year (generally more than 6 months), these areas are snowbound, reappearing in the spring.
These areas are mostly made up of grasses, sedges, and non-flowering lichens. As erosion takes place on rocks, the sediment from them accumulates to the point where there is high enough quality soil to support the grass and sedge. The lichen, on the other hand, grow on both rocks and soil, being lichen, and can photosynthesize so long as the temperature is above 0°C.
Very few animals can survive in the severe conditions of winter, only smaller, very adapted ones generally abide there. Even insects are uncommon in alpine meadows
Despite the apparent ruggedness of alpine meadows, they are actually quite fragile. As it is trodden more, the plants will eventually be killed. Unlike other ecosystems where this means little and the spots where the plants once lived will be easily filled, this will cause in these meadows the soil that has taken so long to build up to be wasted away quickly, potentially destroying it for thousands of years.