Botanical Studies

planning field work
NPS Photo / Emily Mesner

Many interesting people and projects have shaped our ever-evolving knowledge of Denali National Park and Preserve’s fascinating flora. As is the case with most ecological work, the endeavor to understand the way plant species interact with their environment will never truly be finished – thus there is always room for new discoveries and new perspectives to emerge!

We have included a brief overview of Denali’s botanical history to set the stage for your exploration of the Ecological Atlas and the plant species accounts contained within. People and projects featured are only a snapshot of the botanical work that occurs in the Park however, as evidenced by the long list of references consulted in preparing this site.

Separated into the four broad categories below, the research described herein has formed the foundation for the species accounts, maps, and plots and charts you will find while browsing species. Although the presentation of Denali’s botanical history is divided, keep in mind that some projects have elements of more than one type of inquiry – for example, inventories provide an important baseline for monitoring projects, that provide endless ideas for research studies! We encourage you to use this page as a starting point and seek further information by following links provided to download project summaries or scientific journal articles. And if you are able, explore the botany of Denali on your own in the best way possible – by hiking its rivers, valleys and ridges, and paying close attention to what you see as the Park’s early botanists once did – there is still much to be learned from Alaska’s subarctic wilderness.