Grasslands of the Aishihik-Sekulmun Lakes Area, Yukon Territory, Canada


  • M.A. Vetter



Aishihik Lake, grasslands, steppe, Yukon Territory


Grassland communities found on dry, steep, south-facing slopes in the Aishihik-Sekulmun Lakes area, southwest Yukon Territory, are dominated by Artemisia frigida and Carex filifolia, with Calamagrostis purpurascens, Poa glauca, Penstemon gormanii, Phlox hoodii, and Potentilla nivea subdominant. The grasslands are similar in terms of dominants and subdominants to other grasslands in southwest Yukon, but twelve species that have not been recorded at other sites were found in the Aishihik-Sekulmun area. The composite species list from southwest Yukon grasslands was compared to those from grasslands found in Alaska and in the boreal forest on the northern Great Plains. These three regions share a number of species; however, at least 25% of the species in each region are restricted to that region alone and absent from the other two. The southwest Yukon grasslands flora contains the following groups: species restricted to southwest Yukon, species found in both southwest Yukon and Great Plains grasslands, species found in both southwest Yukon and Alaska grasslands, and species found in grasslands in all three regions. Further work is needed to more fully characterize the floristic components of southwest Yukon grasslands and variations among them.