Forests and gardens along the Alaska highway
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Hugh M. Raup
Publication Year: 1945

Cataloging Information

  • Alaska Highway
  • clearcut
  • regeneration
  • vegetation
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 5, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 4710


Preliminary report of geological and botanical investigations carried out along the Alaska Highway between Dawson Creek and Whitehorse during the summer of 1943. The forest types are discussed in detail. It is concluded that stands of Aspen (Populus tremuloides) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) owe their abundance to fire and do not reproduce themselves once they reach maturity. The four other principal forest species, White and Black Spruce (Picea glauca and P. mariana), Alpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa) and Balsam Poplar (Populus tacamahaca) are the most mesophytic species in the region and the first three reproduce themselves, in the absence of fire, generation after generation on the same site. The affinities of the various types with other forests of the north-west are discussed. Observations of the effects of clearing, fire, and local topography, together with the general similarity of soils and surfaces to those under prairie further to the east and south, suggest that at least part of the vegetation on heavy clay soils along the Highway is not far removed from prairie and that if the water-table were lowered the Black Spruce type might immediately give way to some kind of grassland. Presumably the water-table is held up by a permanently frozen subsoil, so that a drier climate might not be necessary to lower the ground water if the climate were warm enough to lower the permafrost table. If this hypothesis is correct it should be possible to produce a grassland simply by removing the existing vegetation and thus lowering the frost table. KEYWORDS: Abies lasiocarpa, Climate and tree migration, Picea glauca, plant succession, Pinus contorta var. latifolia, plant succession, Populus tacamahaca, Populus tremuloides, plant succession, Alaska, vegetation types, forests, Alaska

Online Link(s):
Raup, Hugh M. 1945. Forests and gardens along the Alaska highway. Geographical Review 35(1):22-48.