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Alaska Tundra

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapCEC Code*
Arctic Coastal Plain2.2.1
Arctic Foothills2.2.2
Subarctic Coastal Plains2.2.3
Seward Peninsula2.2.4
Bristol Bay-Nushagak Lowlands2.2.5
Aleutian Islands2.2.6

* This code refers to the CEC's Level 3 ecoregion codes for North America, see here.

About the Alaska Tundra

The Alaskan Tundra extends across several discontinuous regions on the west coast of Alaska and along the north coast with the Arctic ocean, to the Beaufort sea. Continuous permafrost extends through this region.

Along the northern coast with the Arctic ocean, poorly-drained plains rise gradually towards the mountains, becoming better-drained as one proceeds into hillier regions. Lakes are more abundant in the flatter areas near the ocean. These areas are dominated by graminoid (grasslike) vegetation, with ones with a preference for wetter conditions growing in the flatter, more poorly-drained areas.

A similar flat, wet region exists farther south along Alaska's west coast, with greater influence both from the ocean and continental climate patterns.

Although part of the Aleutian islands are included in this region as well, their climate is more influenced by the presence of the ocean, and generally devoid of permafrost. There is more dwarf shrub growth in this area. The Bristol Bay-Nushagak Lowlands are somewhat intermediate in climate between that of the Aleutian islands and the rest of this zone, with more maritime influence. The increased thawing leads to better-drained soils and fewer wetlands than in the northernmost of the Alaska tundra regions, and there is also more dwarf shrub growth in this area.

Inland, this region gives way to a variety of different regions, including the northermost border of the Marine West Coast Forest to the south, and the Alaska Boreal Interior and Brooks Range Tundra farther north. East along the Arctic coastline, this region is followed by the Southern Arctic region.