Wetland Classification of Seward, Alaska

Plant Communities

Wetland plant communities have been described as a part of two separate projects on the Kenai Peninsula: the Kenai Lowlands Wetland Mapping Project and the Plant Community Types of Chugach National Forest: Southcentral Alaska.    The Kenai Lowlands classification was carried out by Mike Gracz working with the Alaska Natural Heritage Program, under a grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Kenai River Center.  The Chugach classification was run by Rob DeVelice, Chugach National Forest's Ecologist.

This page provides a list of the communities at-a-glance, and links to their descriptions.  Many sites visited supported plant communities not described in either project.

Plants are readily visible and simple to measure, so plant community knowledge is useful to understand wetland characteristics.  However, it might be easier to learn the specific characteristics of the three dozen dominant wetland plants, for they will often provide a good indication of what type of wetland is present and how it is functioning.  These community descriptions should be used with your field experience and the mapping classification and soils descriptions provided on this website, to learn those specific characteristics.


SHORTCUTS TO THE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTIONS

Kenai Lowlands Plant Communities:
Described for the Kenai Lowland Wetland Mapping Project
 
Forested Communities:
Lutz spruce / Barclay's willow / Bluejoint
Lutz spruce / Barclay's willow / Ericaceous shrub
Balsam poplar / Thinleaf alder
 
Shrub-dominated:
Thinleaf alder / Bluejoint
Sitka alder / Field horsetail
Sitka alder / Marsh horsetail
Feltleaf willow / Bluejoint
Barclay's Willow / Bluejoint
Barclay's willow / Rich
Fewflower sedge – Crowberry
 
Graminoid:
Bluejoint / Dwarf birch
Tufted bulrush – Dwarf birch
Fewflower sedge - Dwarf birch
Sphagnum moss - Ericaceous shrub
Beachrye
Lyngbye’s Sedge
Ramensk’s sedge
Bluejoint - Field horsetail
Tufted bulrush – Tall cottongrass
Tufted bulrush – Fewflower sedge
Tufted bulrush – Tufted hairgrass
Tufted bulrush – Alpine bulrush
Tall cottongrass – Livid sedge
Fewflower sedge – Tall cottongrass
Sphagnum moss - Tall cottongrass
 
Herbaceous:
Buckbean
Chugach National Forest described Plant Communities:

 

Forested:

Sitka spruce - Black cottonwood / Field horsetail

Lutz spruce / Sitka alder - Rusty menziezia

Stika spruce - Black cottonwood / Sitka alder

Sitka spruce / Sitka alder

Sitka spruce / Barclay's willow

Sitka spruce / Early blueberry

Sitka spruce / Filed horsetail

Mountain hemlock / Sitka alder

Mountain hemlock / Early blueberry

Mountain hemlock / Early blueberry - Rusty menziesia

Mountain hemlock / Rusty menziesia

Mountain hemlock - Sitka spruce / Early blueberry

Mountain hemlock - Sitka spruce / Devil's club

Western hemlock - Sitka spruce / Early blueberry

 

Shrub-dominated:

Sitka alder / Barclay's willow

Sitka alder / Devil's club

Barclay's willow / Sitka sedge

Sitka willow

 

Graminoid:

Beach rye - Yarrow

Sitka sedge

Fewflower sedge

Bluejoint reedgrass

 

Herbaceaous:

Water horsetail

 


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 Seward Area Plant Communities

Introduction and Key to Seward Wetland Ecosystems

    Seward Soils   Seward Map Unit Summary    Methods    Glossary

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Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
907-235-2218

03 May 2007 19:08