Bellsund's vegetation

Small mushrooms in the moss tundraThere are plenty of small mushrooms in the moss tundra. Look closely. (Image: Jørn Henriksen) Tourists wandering Cruise tourists wandering soutwest of Calypsobyen, Bellsund. A sparse vegetation dominated by Reinrosehei. In the background Wijkanderberget (561 m.a.s.l.) (Image: Øystein Overrein / The Norwegian Polar Instiute)

The flora around Bellsund, Van Mijenfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden is varied. Most of the vegetated areas belong to the northern Arctic tundra zone. South of Bellsund the moist vegetation type is characterized by alpine hair-grass. A medium moist, acidic tundra type characterized by Arctic wood-rush is dominant in the lower areas around Van Keulenfjorden. The vegetation at higher altitudes south of Bellsund belongs to the Arctic polar desert, which is also characterized by Arctic wood-rush. The Svalbard poppy is the characteristic species at higher altitudes in the areas between Van Keulenfjorden and Van Mijenfjorden, belonging to the Arctic polar desert zone. Below the bird cliffs at Midterhuken and in Vårsolbukta there is richer vegetation, the so-called moss tundra, which is fertilized by seabird and geese droppings. South of Van Mijenfjorden, and in Berzeliusdalen, wet vegetation types with Arctic wood-rush dominate. On the northern side, the vegetation is more thermophilic (warm-loving) and belongs to the mid-Arctic tundra zone, characterized by white Arctic bell-heather. White Arctic bell-heather dominates in Reindalen. However, the central and low-altitude areas of Reindalen are characterized by acidic moors. On the strand flats north of Vårsolbukta wet moor vegetation with alpine hair-grass dominates.

Updated April 2015

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