Driving above tree line across the Beartooth Highway, the tundra looks like a uniform, green carpet. On foot, however, it is a mosaic of plant communities, each adapted to different conditions, largely determined by snow accumulation and then water availability as the snow melts.
Let’s take a virtual walk from the windward side of a ridge, over the top, and down the lee side and describe the different plant adaptations that we see.
Doug Reynolds did his Ph. D. research on three rare plant species on the Beartooth Plateau. He then taught at several universities before starting a native plant nursery. Now retired, he volunteers for environmental groups and leads nature walks.