Various habitat types at North Cascades
When scientists study birds, plants, mammals and just about any
life in an ecosystem, they must organize the landscape into divisions
so they may better understand the behavior and needs of their study
Would you divide up a landscape into: meadows, forests, mountains,
glaciers? Or would you classify a landscape into: rivers, lakes,
forests, deserts, tundra?
Researchers seek to organize landscapes, but they may make a few
more distinctions. Before they classify, they ask the following
questions: How is the landscape naturally divided? What is the dominate
tree and shrub in each natural division? How much water does each
area receive? What is the climate and does it vary considerably?
They also research the history of habitat classifications to get
help from previous researchers of the study area. Yes, it seems
like a lot of work, but afterward many different studies can be
performedlike bird inventorying.
Researchers at North Cascades who counted
birds in 2001 classified habitats into 20 general types.
Sparsely forested habitats:
(east of crest of the Cascades Range)
6) Mountain Hemlock
7) Lodgepole Pine
10) Subalpine Larch
Densely forested habitats:
11) Douglas-Fir (west of crest)
14) Western Redcedar
15) Engelmann Spruce
17) Hardwood Mix
18) Red Alder
19) Conifer/Deciduous Mix