For the Love of Geography: Cold Dry Forests

People often imagine a dry forest as a hot environment; however, cold climates can also be dry. Dry, cold forests include steppe and alpine. Dry forests have a combination of grasslands, shrubs with groupings of various types of trees including conifers.

  • Steppe is a cold dry forest close to montane barriers. Halfway between a forest and desert it consists of grasslands, shrubs and sparse groupings of trees

Caribou National Forest, Idaho


Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming


  • Alpine forests, often referred to as montane forests, occur above 10,000 feet and have long winters. Plants are small and close to the ground. Conifers are sparse.   

Mt Shastina, California


Other posts in this series on Forests: Temperate Forests, Coniferous Forests, Deciduous Forests, Cold Dry Forests, Hot Dry Forests