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North Pacific Alpine and Subalpine Bedrock and Scree

This ecological system includes all the exposed rock and rubble above the forest line (subalpine parkland and above) in the North Pacific mountain ranges and is restricted to the highest elevations in the Cascade Range, from southwestern British Columbia south into northern California, and also north into southeastern Alaska. It is composed of barren and sparsely vegetated alpine substrates, typically including both bedrock outcrops and scree slopes, upper mountain slopes, summits and nunataks. Nonvascular- (lichen-) dominated communities are common. Exposure to desiccating winds, rocky and sometimes unstable substrates, and a short growing season limit plant growth. In Alaska, this system usually occurs above alpine dwarf-shrub, herbaceous meadow, and dwarf-shrub-herbaceous systems typically at elevations higher than 915 m (3000 feet) (possibly higher in southeastern Alaska). There can be sparse cover of forbs, grasses, lichens, shrubs and small trees, but the total vascular plant cover is typically less than 25% due to the high cover of exposed rock. Species composition is variable and may include Artemisia arctica, Astragalus alpinus, Carex microchaeta, Minuartia arctica, Salix rotundifolia, Saxifraga bracteata, Saxifraga bronchialis, Sibbaldia procumbens, and Silene acaulis. Common nonvascular genera include Racomitrium and Stereocaulon.

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