Ecology & Conservation

This page is dedicated to ecology and conservation.

Information about Ecology, Botany, Soils and Landforms; and a list of select publications.


Learn about conservation efforts and find out how you can help.

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) near Cutthroat Pass, North Cascades, WA.
The Whitebark Pine Project

Raising awareness about Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and contributing data to further our understanding of an imperiled ecosystem.

Learn how you can contribute to this citizen science project: The Whitebark Pine Project

See how you can help with 5 Needle Pine long-term monitoring: Five-needle Pine Citizen Science Project

Also, check out the Identification Guide to the 5 Needle Pines of Western North America.

St. Matthew Island Habitat Mapping

In June 2018 I had the opportunity to accompany the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as vegetation ecologist on a multi-disciplinary expedition to St. Matthew Island (SMI), a remote island located in the middle of the Bering Sea. Read about my experience on St. Matthew Island here: The Loneliest Place in Alaska


Botanically inclined posts.

Alpine Poppy (Papaver kluanense)
Flora of Chugach State Park

The purpose of this project is to document the flora of Chugach State Park in south-central Alaska, including vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens. The project is coordinated through the Alaska Native Plant Society in cooperation with Chugach State Park. Check out the iNaturalist project here:

The 2021 Progress Report is ready! To view and download it click here: Flora_of_CSP_2021_ProgressReport_April2022_ds.pdf

2020 Progress Report: To view and download it click here: Flora_of_CSP_2020_ProgressReport_May2021

Botanical Observations

See a list of over 1,000 voucher specimens I’ve collected and that are curated at regional herbaria, and my iNaturalist observations:

Yellow Spotted Lady’s-Slipper
(Cypripedium × alaskanum)

Soils and Landforms

Tussock and Frost Hummock Cross-section Photos

See the difference between tussocks and frost hummocks in a series of soil pit photos from across Alaska here:


A list of select publications.

  • Macander, M.J., A.F. Wells, R.W. McNown, and T. Christopherson. 2020. Land Cover Mapping North Slope of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2019. Unpublished report. Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage. Prepared by ABR Inc.—Environmental Research and Services, Fairbanks, 125 pp. Download here:
  • Macander, M.J., P.R. Nelson, T. Nawrocki, G.V. Frost, K. Orndahl, E.C. Palm, A.F. Wells, and S.J. Goetz. 2022. Time-series maps reveal widespread change in plant functional type cover across arctic and boreal Alaska and Yukon. Environmental Research Letters.
  • Massatti, R. and A. Wells. 2008. Noteworthy Collections–Wyoming. Madroño 55(2), 179-180.[179:W]2.0.CO;2
  • Powell, D.C.; Johnson, C.G., Jr.; Crowe, E.A.; Wells, A.F.; Swanson, D.K. 2007. Potential vegetation hierarchy for the Blue Mountains section of northeastern Oregon, southeastern Washington, and west-central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-709. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 87 p.
  • Wells, A.F.; Boettinger, J.L.; Houston, K.E.; Roberts, D.W. 2015. Ecological types of the eastern slope of the Wind River Range, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-345. Fort Collins, CO. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 423 p.
  • Wells AF, Swingley CS, Ives SL, McNown RW, Dissing D (2022) Vegetation classification for northwestern Arctic Alaska using an EcoVeg approach: tussock tundra and low and tall willow groups and alliances. Vegetation Classification and Survey 3: 87-117.
  • Wells, A.F. , G.V. Frost, M.J. Macander, M.T. Jorgenson, J.E. Roth, W.A. Davis, and E.R. Pullman. 2020. Integrated terrain unit mapping on the Beaufort Coastal Plain, North Slope, Alaska, USA. Landscape Ecology. Click here for a full-text, read only version of the article.
  • Wells, A. F., S. L. Ives, M. J. Macander, G. V. Frost, and E. K. Johnson. 2020. Noteworthy Collections–Alaska. Madroño. 66(4), 201-203. View on ResearchGate:
  • Wells A.F., T. Christopherson, G.V. Frost, M.J. Macander, S.L. Ives, R.W. McNown, and E.K. Johnson. 2021. Ecological land survey and soils inventory for Katmai National Park and Preserve, 2016–2017. Natural Resource Report. NPS/KATM/NRR—2021/2298. National Park Service. Fort Collins, Colorado.
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