Intact Natural Legacy

One of the great joys of discovering the botany of Denali and Alaska’s other large natural areas is the intact nature of the plant communities that exist here. The distribution and abundance of the species that you will see in this land is the result of the natural processes of birth, growth, and dispersal of native species.

This rich and intact tapestry woven by the multitude of interactions of species with their environments over geological spans of time is rare today. The flora and vegetation of even the largest wilderness parks of the continental United States, for example, are very different from their condition even just 150 years ago. Many of the plant communities in those areas are now entirely dominated by non-native species introduced from other continents.

This is not the case in Alaska, where the relative scarcity of roads has limited these outside invaders to relatively small and tenuous footholds around human settlements. No exotic species are known to occur in intact native plant communities in our region of Alaska. This is why it is so important that we continue to protect the natural landscapes that still exist in Alaska’s great wild lands.