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Rocky Mountain Alpine Fell-Field

This ecological system is found discontinuously at alpine elevations throughout the Rocky Mountains, west into the mountainous areas of the Great Basin, and north into the Canadian Rockies. Small areas are represented in the west side of the Okanagan Ecoregion in the eastern Cascades. These are wind-scoured fell-fields that are free of snow in the winter, such as ridgetops and exposed saddles, exposing the plants to severe environmental stress. Soils on these windy unproductive sites are shallow, stony, low in organic matter, and poorly developed; wind deflation often results in a gravelly pavement. Most fell-field plants are cushioned or matted, frequently succulent, flat to the ground in rosettes and often densely haired and thickly cutinized. Plant cover is 15-50%, while exposed rocks make up the rest. Fell-fields are usually within or adjacent to alpine tundra dry meadows. Common species include Arenaria capillaris, Geum rossii, Kobresia myosuroides, Minuartia obtusiloba, Myosotis asiatica, Paronychia pulvinata, Phlox pulvinata, Sibbaldia procumbens, Silene acaulis, Trifolium dasyphyllum, and Trifolium parryi.

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