Fly agaric / Amanita muscaria (Copyright Steven A. Trudell; reprinted with permission)
The fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) sits on the forest floor in Alaska as if it is waiting to be cast in an Alice in Wonderland movie.
Its recognizable bright red cap dotted with white warts belies their toxic nature. Although the effects vary, experts warn against eating them. In Alaska, fly agaric is generally found around birch or spruce trees and loves the northwest environment. Read more »
Two yellow cedar trees have fallen victim to the yellow cedar decline; the smaller tree on the right recently died, the larger tree on the left is slowly dying. U.S. Forest Service photo by Mary Stensvold.
Yellow-cedar is an ecologically, culturally, and economically important tree species in the coastal temperate rainforests of Alaska and British Columbia. This slow-growing tree has few natural insect and disease agents and is capable of living more than 1000 years.
But less snow in Alaska’s winters is leading to the demise of yellow cedar trees at and just above sea level. During hard freezes when little or no snow is on the ground to insulate the yellow cedar’s shallow roots, the roots freeze. Ultimately this leads to the tree’s death. This yellow cedar decline has occurred over the past 100 years. Read more »
Lodgepole pines, also called shore pines (Pinus contorta subsp. contorta) add punctuations of green to this muskeg near Sitka, AK. Pines growing in muskegs are stunted and very old. Tufted bulrush (Trichophorum caespitosum) plants are a dominant ground cover in this part of the muskeg and add color as their foliage turns orange and brown in the autumn. Flecks of red in the foreground are the scarlet foliage of bunchberry (Cornus suecica). Photo by Mary Stensvold.
Muskegs, a colloquial term for peat bogs, blanket 10 percent of the Tongass National Forest. These wetlands range in size from a few square feet to many acres. Over the ages, muskegs formed as Sphagnum mosses, rushes and sedges grew and built up spongy carpets in these very wet, almost treeless areas. Read more »
The Forest Service fondly remembers the contributions of Dr. Walter A. Soboleff, a centenarian deeply revered and Tlingit elder, who died last month at the age of 102.
Located in Alaska, the Tlingit are a Native society that developed a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest of the Alexander Archipelago in the Southeastern part of the state. The people in this society were the original caretakers of natural resources where the current-day Tongass National Forest exists. Read more »
A picturesque view of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center located on the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center located on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is a site to see for many tourists. This recently renovated Center is a popular cruise ship destination giving a boost to the local economy. Tourism spending in the Juneau, Alaska area is expected to reach $160 million this summer season. Read more »
Alaska and brown bears are virtually synonymous, and this young bear shows he is as curious about visitors to Alaska as they are of him. (US Forest Service photo)
Mention to anyone that you traveled to or lived in Alaska, and they are immediately drawn to you with questions and curiosity. Even today Alaska embodies the pioneer spirit that drove generations of Americans to explore, tame and settle our great nation. The USDA Forest Service anticipates that type of attention to the dynamic segments they are posting to the USDA Forest Service Youtube channel beginning this week that highlight the features, resources, livelihoods and people who live in and around the Tongass National Forest. Read more »