What Type of Vegetation Is at Banff National Park?

What Type of Vegetation Is at Banff National Park?
Banff National Park (Canada's first national park), located in Alberta, is home to hundreds of species of trees, flowers, mosses and dozens of liverworts. The vast habitats in the park range from evergreen forests and windswept alpine tundra to alpine meadows and grassy valleys. The area is not only teeming with fauna but loaded with enough flora to make a botanist or even botanical hobbyist go gaga. The park receives millions of visitors each year however, so remember to stay on the trails and off the plants.

According to Great Canadian Parks, there are 996 species of trees, grasses and flowers in Banff National Park. The forests commonly consist of pine, balsam and Douglas fir, white spruce, larch and aspens. Some common flowers are indian paintbrush, common harebell, shooting star, bunchberry, moss campion, early blue violet, twinflower, purple saxifrage, alpine forget-me-not and white mountain avens, among others. As named by Canadian Parks, there are 407 species of lichens in Banff National Park, 243 species of moss and 53 liverworts.

The park also has over 100 non-native plants growing in it, such as toadflax, Canada thistle and common tansy. Non-native species are invasive and can pose a threat to native plants. Parks Canada has implemented a program to help prevent and fight these invasive species so that the most natural ecosystem may flourish.

Whitebark pine is a keystone species that is of concern in the Banff area as well as six other parks in Canada and parts of the Pacific Northwestern United States. This species is important in supporting animal species such as the Clark's nutcracker as well as helping to prevent erosion on sub-alpine slopes. Parks Canada is working to alleviate the fire suppression, blister rust and pine beetle epidemics.

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Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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