The Changing Landscape
Native species and ecosystems have evolved alongside natural disturbance events and are adapted to them. Disturbance is often responsible for the way current landscapes appear and function. Alaska ecosystems are shaped by large scale (glacial retreat, fire, flooding, etc.) or small scale (fallen tree) disturbances and have evolved specific responses to each kind of disturbance, typically recovering quickly. Ecosystems that are disturbed more frequently are resilient by nature and are more likely to return to their pre-disturbance composition and species interactions, therefore ongoing disturbance is an important part of protecting ecosystems.