Alaska’s boreal forest spans most of interior Alaska. It is a mosaic of evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs that create a patchwork of ecosystems across the landscape. Permafrost underlays this patchwork in many boreal regions, which, along with cold temperatures and long winters, limits plant species diversity. Nonetheless, the boreal forest is rich with birds. Almost half of the 700 bird species that regularly occur in the U.S. and Canada rely on the boreal forest. Among them are species of conservation concern such as Blackpoll Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird, and Lesser Yellowlegs.
On a continental scale, the boreal and arctic regions are likely to see some of the most dramatic changes from a warming climate, including permafrost melting, wetlands drying and changes in forest fire frequency and intensity.
Habitats Our Birds Need
Arctic and Subarctic Tundra
Alaska has vast expanses of arctic and subalpine tundra characterized by low temperatures, permafrost, and a short growing season.
Coastal Dunes and Beaches
Coastal dunes and beach communities face a dynamic, harsh environment that requires plants to have unique survival mechanisms.
Conifer forests, including our magnificent temperate rainforests, dominate the Pacific Northwest from California to southeast Alaska.
Hawaiian Montane Forest
‘Ohi’a and in some areas koa trees dominate the canopy of the lush cloud forests found on the higher elevations of Kaua’i, Maui, Hawai’i, O’ahu, and Moloka’i.
Hawaii’s freshwater wetlands support the Ae’o, or Hawaiian Stilt, and five other species of endemic, endangered waterbirds.
Intertidal Rocky Shorelines
Rocky shorelines along the North Pacific coastline occupy the region between high and low tide.
An atoll is a coral reef island, or islets. They are are characteristically ring-shaped with a central lagoon, and sometimes a central island.
Riparian corridors occur along rivers and streams and across floodplains and terraces.