Bering Land Bridge National Preserve possesses a mosaic of plant communities comprising a mixture of flowers, grasses, lichens, mosses, shrubs and even trees. Each plant community represents a tile within this mosaic and their development is largely influenced by climate and topography. The plants growing in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and the surrounding area adapted a shallow root system due to the effects of permafrost – a layer of soil below the surface that remains frozen year round. Plants can only grow within a narrow band of active soil: the grout that holds each plant community in place. It is exposed to sunlight and moisture allowing the absorption of nutrients.
The topography of Bering Land Bridge is extremely diverse: ranging from steep mountain ridges to bottom land river valleys. Distinctive plants thrive in terrestrial and aquatic environments favoring upland ridges and slopes, along meandering riverbanks and backwater marshes and meadows. Examine just a small section of tundra and you will find it covered with a dozen of different species. Each environment represents a unique tile that fits perfectly within the mosaic of plant communities in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.