New York Natural Heritage Program
Open Alpine Community

International Vegetation Classification Associations [-]
This New York natural community encompasses all or part of the concept of the following International Vegetation Classification (IVC) natural community associations. These are often described at finer resolution than New York's natural communities. The IVC is developed and maintained by NatureServe.


NatureServe Ecological Systems [-]
This New York natural community falls into the following ecological system(s). Ecological systems are often described at a coarser resolution than New York's natural communities and tend to represent clusters of associations found in similar environments. The ecological systems project is developed and maintained by NatureServe.


Characteristic Species [-]
Shrubs < 2m
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
  • Tundra Dwarf Birch (Betula glandulosa)
  • Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata)
  • Lapland Diapensia (Diapensia lapponica)
  • Purple Crowberry (Empetrum eamesii ssp. atropurpureum)
  • Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum)
  • Bog Labrador Tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum)
  • Lapland Rosebay (Rhododendron lapponicum)
  • Bearberry Willow (Salix uva-ursi)
  • Northern Blueberry (Vaccinium boreale)
  • Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos)
  • Bog Blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)
Herbs
  • Blue-joint Reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis)
  • Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
  • Appalachian Fir-clubmoss (Huperzia appressa)
  • Highland Rush (Juncus trifidus)
  • Mountain Sandwort (Minuartia groenlandica)
  • Dwarf Rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes nana)
  • Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata)
  • Alpine Goldenrod (Solidago leiocarpa)
  • Tufted Bulrush (Trichophorum cespitosum)
Nonvascular
  • Rhizocarpon geographicum
  • Sphagnum fuscum
  • Sphagnum nemoreum
Similar Ecological Communities
  • Alpine sliding fen
    Open alpine community may have wet sections where peat has accumulated and the same species may be present. The alpine sliding fen however, is generally located on steeper slopes at the top of a bare-rock slab or cliff.
  • Alpine krummholz
    Alpine krummholz is dominated (50-85%) by stunted (<1.5 m) balsam fir. The open alpine community consists of a mosaic of sedge/dwarf shrub meadows, dwarf heath shrublands, small boggy depressions, and exposed bedrock covered with lichens and mosses. Stunted tree cover <25%.
  • Spruce-fir rocky summit
    Spruce-fir rocky summits have tree cover 25-60% with numerous rock outcrops. The open alpine community consists of a mosaic of sedge/dwarf shrub meadows, dwarf heath shrublands, small boggy depressions, and exposed bedrock covered with lichens and mosses. Stunted tree cover <25%.
  • Rocky summit grassland
    Rocky summit grasslands are located at lower elevations, at sites with exposed bedrock and thin soils. The open alpine community occurs above treeline on high mountain summits over 1,620 m (4,900 feet).
Vegetation
Shrubs < 2m
Herbs
Nonvascular
0 20 40 60 80 100
Percent Cover
This figure helps visualize the structure and 'look' or 'feel' of a typical Open Alpine Community. Each bar represents the amount of 'coverage' for all the species growing at that height. Because layers overlap (shrubs may grow under trees, for example), the shaded regions can add up to more than 100%.