Arctic Ecosystems

Bering Land Bridge in the fall
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in the fall.


The National Park Service manages approximately 18% of the U.S. lands above the Arctic Circle, 20.25 million acres protected in five parks, 17.55 million acres of which are mostly connected. This region is critical breeding ground for many shorebirds, some of which migrate thousands of miles to get here. Caribou herds, also migratory, have calving grounds and wintering grounds in the Arctic tundra. Some species are specific to the Arctic, such as polar bears, muskoxen, Arctic foxes, among others. The Arctic is a harsh, yet fragile, environment and the people, plants, and wildlife adapt to the conditions to live there.
The moon rises over the winter landscape of Cape Krusenstern.

High-latitude Climate Change

Climate change impacts are more pronounced near the poles. Learn more about high-latitude climate change.

A caribou skull in the Oolah Valley of Gates of the Arctic.

Arctic Science

Learn more about the Arctic region, its ecosystems, people, and history.

Exposed yedoma permafrost along an eroding coastline.


Permafrost underlies Alaska's Arctic parks and parts of other interior parks; it influences many facets of park ecosystems.

The winter twilight of the coast of Cape Krusenstern

Arctic Coast

The ecosystems along the Arctic coast are biologically diverse and culturally important.

Last updated: May 23, 2019