Steep rocky slopes may defy covers of plants that root, anchor and stabilise soil and each other. Slope, soil and rock type, rainfall and the rate of inundation are natural features that determine how well montane vegetation settles and lasts in steep places.
Human involvement through the incidence of fire, trampling, cultivation, firebreaks and overgrazing may leave slopes bare for long periods. Heavy rain shortly after fire may bring avalanches involving long term or irreparable harm.
The value of good ground and rock cover for water conservation in mountain ranges is increasingly important to the water-dependent human population in many parts of the world.