As the primary ecosystem in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, tundra covers hundreds of thousands of acres within its boundaries. The word "tundra" refers to a treeless landscape found in cold climates. At high altitudes, it is known as "alpine tundra," and at low altitudes but higher latitudes (closer to the Arctic Circle), it is known as "arctic tundra."
Although vast and sometimes desolate, the tundra is anything but an infertile environment. During its short summer season, the tundra will be covered in a lush ground cover of grasses, Alaskan cotton, wildflowers, lichens, and mosses. It provides a home for small mammals like voles, shrews, and ground squirrels, as well as their larger predators such as raptors, foxes, wolves, wolverines, and bears. The vegetation feeds the tundra's roving herbivores, such as muskox, caribou, and reindeer, and serves as a habitat for small songbirds and their insect prey.
Did You Know?
More than 170 known species of birds migrate 20,000 miles yearly to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. At the crossroad of the Asiatic-North America flyway, this area offers rare opportunities to observe several old world species.