Nordvesthjørnet's vegetation

The vegetation in the area is mostly influenced by soil and climate. The soil follows the bedrock in the area, while the climate changes slightly from the outer coastline in the west, to Raudfjorden in the east. The basement rocks in the far north-west (Smeerenburgfjorden and the larger islands) consist of silica-rich gneisses and granites, which results in rather poor vegetation (except underneath the bird cliffs). The Devonian sandstones along Raudfjorden are rich in carbonate and form fine-grained, Ca-rich reddish soil. For vegetation that thrives on calcium, this provides fertile conditions.*

The vegetation of Magdalenefjorden and Raudfjorden belong to the northern Arctic tundra region. The vegetation is dominated by Arctic wood-rush (Luzula nivalis) and northern wood-rush (Luzula confusa). The ice-free areas of the glaciers (the nunataks) belong to the Arctic polar desert region, where desert-like vegetation can indeed be found, such as the characteristic Svalbard poppy (Papaver dahlianum).

Updated June 2015

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Norwegian Polar Institute
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