Alaskan Tundra Facts

By Rebekah Richards; Updated April 24, 2017
Mount McKinley in Alaska.

The word "tundra" translates to "treeless heights" and means ecosystems that have no trees and cold temperatures. Tundra exists in Alaska's northern and western coasts.

Climate

Woman walking in snow.

The Alaskan tundra boasts an average annual temperature colder than five degrees Fahrenheit and receives less than four inches of precipitation a year.

Plants

Few plants grow in Alaska's cold climate.

Plants survive the harsh conditions of the tundra by going dormant through winter, growing protective coatings, or retaining old leaves for nutrition. Some plants found in the Alaskan tundra include the arctic dryad, arctic poppy, wooly lousewort, Labrador tea, and arctic birch.

Animals

Brown bear in Alaska.

Animals have adapted to the Alaskan tundra by developing warm winter coats, compact bodies to preserve heat, and camouflage for different seasons. Some animals found on the Alaskan tundra include caribou, arctic fox, arctic hare, arctic ground squirrel, and arctic grizzly bear.

Features

Frozen tundra.

Alaskan tundra does not have any trees. It is also very windy and has dramatic seasonal changes, including drastic changes in daylight hours throughout the year.

Threats

Pollution threatens the tundra.

Alaska's tundra is threatened by airborne pollutants, oil and gas development, and global warming.

About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.