The state of Alaska encompasses more than 163,158,000 ha. Wetlands make up more than 50 percent of the surface area. Palustrine scrub/shrub wetlands are extensive and make up almost two-thirds of Alaska’s wetlands. The interior of Alaska is hydrologically driven by riverine systems and the floral region is dominated by boreal forest. High quality waterfowl habitat within Alaska’s interior exceeds 8,907,000 ha and produces a fall flight that probably exceeds 4.6 million ducks and 100,000 geese (King and Lensink 1971). The boreal forest extends from the western lowlands northward to the mouth of the Mackenzie, dominated chiefly by white spruce mixed with paper birch. In the muskeg, black spruce is common, while balsam poplar, alder, and willow dominate riparian areas. Larch is most common in the middle and lower Tanana valley, but penetrates westward to the 160th meridian. Alpine fir and lodgepole pine extend into the Yukon.
Alaska’s boreal forest is framed by the Brooks Mountain Range to the north the lowland tundra of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to the southwest and an irregular boundary of the Kuskokwim, Alaska, and Chugach Mountains to the south. The dominant rivers that have carved this forested system include the Yukon, Kuskokwim, Innoko, Koyukuk, Kanuti, Porcupine, Black, Charley, Tanana and upper reaches of the Suisitna and Copper River systems. Most lakes and wetlands in the boreal forest were formed by hydrological processes associated with rivers, and have resulted in shallow water bodies with relatively flat bathometry. These systems contain vast areas suitable for emergent or submergent vegetation. Flooding occurs along the major rivers in interior Alaska associated with two types of events, a heavy snow pack in spring or a late and rapid breakup. Either of these hydrologic events produces extensive floodplain inundation. Other than flooding, fires have historically driven the succession of these boreal systems. Fire modifies upland vegetation, pulses wetlands with nutrients, and may change the predator base. Critical waterbird habitat is found in the lowlands of the Yukon and Minto Flats, Kanuti, Nowitna, Innoko, Khotol, Iditorod, and Koyukuk River floodplains.
*Region 3 - NABCI Bird Conservation Region 4 (Alaska only – Region 4 for Yukon and SE Alaska is covered in Western Boreal Forest, Bird Conservation Region 6).