University Studies of the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



University of Nebraska Studies: New Series no. 34


Published by The University at Lincoln


General. On this continent no investigation is on record that had for its purpose the structural study of a whole unit complex of alpine vegetation. From Colorado several works are available that treat of the problem in part only. There was very little in the available literature on the biology, structure, and floristic composition of the complete vegetation when the writer, as a ranger for the United States National Park Service, was stationed for five summers on a ranger station located in the alpine zone facing Longs Peak. A desire to increase the knowledge of alpine vegetation led to this investigation, a desire that had its inception in a love for the mountains and all that dwells thereon, a love that was nurtured through long years of mountain climbing. An intimate acquaintance with high mountains proved of great help in the course of the investigation.

Location. The vegetation under study is that of the full area of the alpine zone on Longs Peak in Colorado. It includes all soil and rock surfaces from the timberline of the subalpine zone to the top of the peak. The altitudinal range is from about 11,000 to 14,255 feet. The area includes roughly four square miles and is crossed by latitude 40° 15' N and longitude 105° 37' '!\T. Longs Peak is among the highest peaks of the United States. With regard to biology and climate it is complete and representative of the high mountains of Colorado. Its inclusion within the confines of a national park enhances the value of this study.