Alpine & subalpine habitats

Above the coastal forest dominated by western hemlock, a sequence of elevational zones includes:

  • small-tree subalpine forest;
  • subalpine parkland; and
  • alpine tundra.

Wildlife values change accordingly.

‘Forest limit’ is the upper limit of closed subalpine forest. Conifers above this are just scattered clumps of stunted ‘elfinwood.’ Highest of these dwarf conifers at ‘tree limit’ may reach 3,500–4,000 ft on some mountains.

Here’s a diagram of elevational belts on typical Southeast mountainside. Communities also respond to topography; transitions are lower in valleys and higher on convex slopes.


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