1 Alaska, Southern Coast Range

Alaska initially evokes a bare Arctic environment blanketed with snow and ice, and brings to mind tundras and taigas and vast cold swamps along frigid rivers. But as one moves southwards along the American state, where the dampening influence of the Pacific Ocean drifts over the landmass, verdant forests dominate the landscape. Group 1 of the arboretum represents these regions. The southern coastal chains of Wrangell and Katmai (subgroup 1A) are dominated by lush stands of Sitka spruce, which can grow up to the edge of the ocean and, like the Lodgepole pine, easily withstand the salty sea winds of the coast. One of the oldest surviving Lodgepole pines in the arboretum can be found in this group. In the southeastern strip of land around the city of Juneau (subgroup 1B), Western hemlock spruces with their broad, full crowns thrive in the forests. Red alders, Balsam poplars, and various species of willow establish themselves as pioneer species in these areas after forest fires and in riparian forests along streams and rivers. In the natural succession, they are sometimes later replaced by climax tree species such as Western hemlock. This has also been observed in the group found in Tervuren: On the empty or almost empty circles, previously planted poplars and alders have disappeared for lack of light.