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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Denali Biosphere Reserve and National Park is situated in south-central Alaska centered on the Alaska Range which separates the coastal lowland from the interior. Denali comprises Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America towering 4,800 meters above the surrounding landscape as well as Denali fault system, the largest crustal break in North America.
Warm dry south-facing slopes adjacent to rivers have white spruce (Picea glauca) with paper birch (Betula papyrifera), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and quaking aspen (P. tremuloides) and a ground cover of ericaceous shrubs and mosses. North-facing permafrost-underlain slopes and lowlands have black spruce (P. mariana) with paper birch, white spruce, tamarack (Larix laricina) and ericaceous shrubs, mosses, sedges and grasses. Moist foothill tundra comprises cottongrass (Eriophorum sp.) with dwarf shrubs, green alder (Alnus crispa) and dwarf birch (Betula nana). Drier tundra has mats of mountain avens (Dryas spp.), grasses and sedges. Above the alpine tundra, rock, snow and ice dominate.
Mammal species in the area include wolf (Canis lupus), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis), Alaska moose (Alces alces), barrenground caribou (Rangifer tarandus), and beavers (Castor canadensis).
There are some subsistence and sport hunting, trapping and mining activities within the biosphere reserve. Research projects in the area include the ecology of large mammals, raptor biology, vegetation mapping, human recreational impact on resources, geology and archaeology and several continuous monitoring programmes.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate needle-leaf forest
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   6320'N, 15030'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   782,000
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +122 to +6,194
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Denali National Park and Preserve National Park Service

Last updated: 21/02/2001

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