North Pacific Dry and Mesic Alpine Dwarf-Shrubland, Fell-field and Meadow

These are the truly alpine habitats found above treeline in the Pacific Northwest. They are dominated by dwarf-shrub mountain heather, forbs, and sedges, and are covered by snow for most of the year, with only a few months of growing season. They are usually diverse mosaics of dwarf-shrublands and wind-pruned shrubby trees that are no more than 1-2 feet high, with extensive bare ground and late-lingering snowbanks. It is a dry habitat because strong winter winds blow the snow away and expose the ground to cold temperatures and the constant, drying wind. Where snow collects, it acts as a blanket and keeps the ground warmer and protected from the wind. This ecological system represents those hearty plants that can survive winter without snow blanket protection. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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