picture credits: (1) Brigachtal, an innovative Commons (2) Beeblebrox, an innovative Commons (3) an imaginative Commons


The flagship species of the interior Alaska-Yukon Alpine Tundra ecoregion is the hill avens. Image credit: Courtesy that Sheila Sund, Flickr

The interior Yukon-Alaska Alpine Tundra ecoregion has landscapes with mountain ranges and also high peaks, substantial rolling hills and plateaus, abrupt granite outcrops well-known as tors, and also valleys and lowlands. Many of the ecoregion is in the 900–1,500 m key range, v peaks reaching in between 2,100 m and also 2,400 m. Most of the ecoregion was glaciated, though part unglaciated areas might have served together Pleistocene refugia.

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The southeastern part of the Arctic national Wildlife Refuge lies in ~ this ecoregion, with additional far-ranging protected locations including the Yukon-Charley Rivers nationwide Preserve, Steese national Conservation Area, and Chena flow State Recreation Area (notable for its diversity of granite tors).

The climate of this ecoregion varieties from subarctic (boreal northern cordilleran and subalpine) at lower elevations come arctic (alpine) at greater elevations, with permafrost correspondingly varying from discontinuous at short elevations and also closer to the coast to consistent at greater elevations and much more interior sites.

As for inner Alaska and also Yukon in general, summers space short and also cool and also winters long and cold. Typical summer temperature are approximately 10ºC come 10.5ºC and average winter temperature -23ºC come -20ºC. Precipitation arrays from less than 300 mm in valleys within the rain shadows of hills to more than 600 mm at higher elevations.

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At lower elevations boreal forest, specifically its more open and barren taiga form, is the dominant vegetation. Major tree varieties are black spruce, white spruce, tremble aspen, birch, willow, alder, and also balsam poplar. The latter varieties dominates part floodplains. Subalpine fir and lodgepole pine occur in part areas. There is an energetic lightning fire regime, i beg your pardon resets ecological succession and maintains the fire-dependent ecosystems. Timberline normally occurs at elevations above 900 m, and also concentrations the dwarfed white spruce frequently occur near timberline.i

At higher elevations the vegetation is alpine tundra with mountain avens, dwarf willow, dwarf birch, tree in the heath family members (e.g., bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, crowberry, northern Labrador tea), grasses, cottongrass and also other sedges, lichens, and mosses. Some characteristic mammals are grizzly bear, black color bear, wolf, red fox, moose, barren-ground caribou, Dall sheep, and also beaver. Among the caribou herds the make seasonal usage of the ecoregion are the White Mountains and Fortymile herds.

Notable bird are usual raven, rock and also willow ptarmigan, golden eagle, and peregrine falcon. Some of the larger streams and also rivers have actually chinook and chum salmon, with various other fish consisting of Arctic grayling, ring whitefish, burbot, northern pike, slimy sculpin, and also longnose sucker.i

Although close come 100% of this ecoregion is ecologically intact, just 23% is protected, pointing to a require for additional designations of conservation lands. Mining and also associated road advancement have altered some areas, particularly in sink bottoms. Priority conservation actions because that the following decade are: 1) bring more land into protection to totally represent the range of ecosystems throughout the ecoregion; 2) prohibit not compatible uses, consisting of mining, in ~ designated protected areas; and also 3) defend vulnerable types from over-harvest and also monitor populations.


1. Ricketts, T.H. Et al. 1999. Terrestrial Ecoregions of north America: A conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 2. Gallant, A.L., E.F. Binnian, J.M. Omernik, and M.B. Shasby.1995. Ecoregions of Alaska. USGS Professional record 1567. U.S. Govt. To press Office, Washington, D.C. 3. Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukon–Charley_Rivers_National_Preserve