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Vegetation Structure and Composition



  • Carl Roland
  • E. Nicklen
  • Sarah Stehn

Park Units:

Resource Brief

The flora of Central Alaska Network’s parklands, including vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens contains more than 2000 species. Our flora is thus one of the richest elements of Central Alaska’s biodiversity. In addition to its intrinsic value, vegetation is important because it forms the energetic foundation of all terrestrial ecosystems, and most other forms of life depend on primary producers either directly or indirectly. In addition, many plant species (such as trees and shrubs) define physical structure of habitat for other species, including many birds, insects, and small mammals. Each plant species plays a unique role in the ecosystems of Central Alaska, and we collect information on more species in the vegetation monitoring program than all other monitored species in Alaska parks combined. Vegetation patterns are controlled by physical factors including landscape position and topography, temperature, precipitation, substrate type and disturbance regime. Vegetation patterns are also influenced by plant-animal interactions such as herbivory. Quantifying the relationships among plant community structure and composition and important environmental attributes is fundamental to understanding why plant species grow where they do and how ecological changes may impact our vegetation and other park resources. Management decisions must be grounded in a clear understanding of our landscapes and how they function, including the important drivers of vegetation patterns. Changing environmental conditions that are expected to impact vegetation include a warming climate and increasing climatic variability, shifting atmospheric chemistry and pollutant loads, and increasing variability in plant pathogens and pests. The resulting changes in plant species composition, distribution or phenology could alter ecosystem functions such as energy and nutrient exchange, carbon storage, biomass production and affect plant-animal interactions and habitat extent. Without baseline information, however, quantifying important changes is impossible. Thus, long term vegetation monitoring essential to detecting and understanding vegetation change.


Citation Year Type Access Holdings IRMA
Download Stehn_et_al_2015_Evansia_A_lichen_species_list_for_Denali_National_Park.pdf Stehn SE and Others. 2015. A Lichen Species List for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, with Comments on Several New and Noteworthy Records. Evansia. 32(4):195-215 2015 Journal Article Public 1 Link to
Roland CA and Schmidt JH. 2014. Climate sensitivity of reproduction in a mast-seeding boreal conifer across its distributional range from lowland to treeline forests. Oecologia. 174:665 - 677 (Internal) 2014 Journal Article Internal 1 Link to
Click to view holdings Roland CA and Others. 2013. Landscape-scale patterns in tree occupancy and abundance in subarctic Alaska. Ecological Monographs. 83(1):19–48 (2 holdings) 2013 Journal Article Public 2 Link to
Download Stehn_et_al_2013_Evansia_A_bryophyte_species_list_for_Denali_National_Park.pdf Stehn SE and Others. 2013. A Bryophyte Species List for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, with Comments on Several New and Noteworthy Records. Evansia. 30(1):31-45 2013 Journal Article Public 1 Link to
Download Stehn_et_al_2013_Bryologist_Patterns_in_the_occ_and_abund_of_the_globally_rare_lich_ERPE_in_Denali.pdf Stehn SE and Others. 2013. Patterns in the occupancy and abundance of the globally rare lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The Bryologist. 116(1):002-014 2013 Journal Article Public 1 Link to
Download RB_CAKN_VegMonitoring_Oct12.pdf 2012. Monitoring Vegetation in the Central Alaska Network 2012 Resource Brief Public 1 Link to
Download 2008_annual_report_FINAL_FORMATTED.1.20.2010.pdf Roland C. 2010. White spruce cone and seed production in relation to climate in the Rock Creek watershed of Denali National Park and Preserve during the period 1992-2007: Annual report for the Central Alaska Network Vegetation Monitoring Program 2008. Natural Resource Technical Report. NPS/CAKN/NRTR—2010/382. National Park Service, Natural Resource Program Center. Fort Collins, Colorado 2010 Published Report Public 1 Link to
Click to view holdings Roland CA (ed). 2009. 2009 CAKN vegetation monitoring Trip Reports (15 holdings) 2009 Generic Document Public 15 Link to
Click to view holdings Roland C. 2007. 2007 Trip Reports: CAKN Vegetation Structure and Composition Monitoring. National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network. Fairbanks, AK (12 holdings) 2007 Generic Dataset Public 12 Link to
Click to view holdings Roland CA (ed). 2006. 2006 CAKN Vegetation Monitoring Program Trip Reports (8 holdings) 2006 Generic Document Public 8 Link to
Click to view holdings Roland C and Others. 2004. Monitoring vegetation structure and composition at multiple spatial scales in the Central Alaska Network. National Park Service (3 holdings) 2004 Protocol Narrative Public 3 Link to
Southwould A and Roland C. 2001. Vegetation Structure and Composition Monitoring Database. National Park Service. Central Alaska Network; Inventory and Monitoring Program. Fairbanks, Alaska. (Restricted) 2001 Relational Database Restricted 1 Link to


Key words: alaska, denali, monitoring, national park, st. elias, vegetation, wrangell

Subject Category:

  • Ecological Framework: Biological Integrity | Focal Species or Communities | Vegetation Complex

View this project 'Vegetation Structure and Composition Monitoring in the Central Alaska Network of National Parklands' on the IRMA Data Store | JSON | XML | Project reference last updated on 2017-11-15 07:17:06 by

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