Alaska Range Mountains

alaska range mountains landscape
NPS Photo / Kent Miller

Dominated by steep, rugged mountains, this ecoregion is largely devoid of soil, with large sections nearly barren of vegetation. But look closer, and in many areas alpine plants, mosses and lichens dominate, with more hospitable areas playing host to shrubs and white spruce (Picea glauca) forests. Along rivers riparian forests containing hardwoods are also sometimes dominant. Wildfire is relatively infrequent, especially where alpine plants dominate, but snow avalanches and rivers carrying heavy glacial sediment loads are major disturbance agents at local scales.