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Sheldon photo pair
Photo Credits: Charles Sheldon, "The Wilderness of Denali" (1908), Willie Karidis (2008)
Ecoregion: Alaska Range Mountains
Change Type: Changing treelines
Changing treelinesAnimation is available
This truly remarkable pair of photos, taken a century apart, reveal dramatic changes in the landscape. In the foreground, you can see that the few willows in the 1908 photo (probably felt leaf willow, Salix alaxensis) have been replaced by a much denser thicket of willows colonizing this stream gully. Across the valley, even larger changes can be seen with the conspicuous expansion of the forested area. Substantial increases in both the elevational extent and density of subalpine forests in this region of the park are evident. If you multiply this scene across the many localities similar changes have likely taken place in Denali, it is easy to understand how rapid ecological changes can transform an area from open alpine to a more forested condition and have dramatic influence on wildlife movements.