Alaska birch (Ea) - Betula neoalaskana
- Range and Amplitudes
- Tolerances and Damaging Agents
- Silvical Characteristics
- Genetics and Notes
Alaska birch is usually a tall shrub, less often, a medium-sized (<20 m) deciduous broad-leaved tree, at maturity with a narrow, oval crown, slender, often curved stem, and creamy white or slightly pinkish bark.
|Geographic Range||Geographic element:
Western North American/Cordilleran and northern Central
Distribution in Western North America:
north and central in the Cordilleran region
subarctic - (subalpine boreal) - montane boreal
montane - (subalpine)
Occurrence in biogeoclimatic zones:
(lower SWB), BWBS
Range of soil moisture regimes:
(fresh) - moist - very moist - wet
Range of soil nutrient regimes:
very poor - poor - medium; oxylophyte
|Root System Characteristics||Alaska birch, a wetland species, is shallow-rooted without a taproot. Roots are associated with ecto- and endo-mycorrhizae.|
|Associated tree species and successional role||Alaska birch grows scattered with other species in ombotrophic, poorly drained sites and wetlands, especially with black spruce. It is present in early seral, mid-seral, and even in late seral stages (on wet sites) of secondary succession. As a moderately shade-tolerant tree, Alaska birch maintains its presence as a variable component of open-canopy edaphic climax communities in ombotrophic wetlands.|
|Notes||There are another three shrub birch species that occur frequently in interior British Columbia: shrub birch (Betula glandulosa Michx.), water birch (Betula occidentalis Hook.), and swamp birch (Betula pumila L.). All occur predominantly in boreal climates — shrub birch is an oxylophyte and diagnostic species for the SWB zone; water birch is a calciphyte represented mainly in subalpine boreal wetlands; and swamp birch is a component of montane boreal wetlands.
Alaska birch is not considered a timber crop species, however, it is a useful component of wetland subarctic and boreal ecosystems.