Terrain, vegetation, and landscape evolution of the R4D research site, Brooks Range Foothills, Alaska

Holarctic Ecology
By: , and 



Maps of the vegetation and terrain of a 22 km2 area centered on the Department of Energy (DOE) R4D (Response, Resistance, Resilience to and Recovery from Disturbance in Arctic Ecosystems) study site in the Southern Foothills Physiographic Province of Alaska were made using integrated geobotanical mapping procedures and a geographic-information system. Typical land forms and surface f orms include hillslope water tracks, Sagavanirktok-age till deposits, nonsorted stone stripes, and colluvial-basin deposits. Thirty-two plant communities are described; the dominant vegetation (51% of the mapped area) is moist tussock-sedge, dwarf-shrub tundra dominated by Eriophorum vaginatum or Carex bigelowii. Much of the spatial variation in the mapped geobotanical characters reflects different-aged glaciated surfaces. Shannon-Wienerin dices indicate that the more mature landscapes, represented by retransported hillslope deposits and basin colluvium, are less heterogeneous than newer landscapes such as surficial till deposits and floodplains. A typical toposequence on a mid-Pleistocene-age surface is discussed with respect to evolution of the landscape. Thick Sphagnum moss layers occur on lower hillslopes, and the patterns of moss-layer development, heat flux, active layer thickness, and ground-ice are seen as keys to developing thermokarst-susceptibility maps.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Terrain, vegetation, and landscape evolution of the R4D research site, Brooks Range Foothills, Alaska
Series title Holarctic Ecology
Volume 12
Issue 3
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher Nordic Society Oikos
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 24 p.
First page 238
Last page 261
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Brooks Range
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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