Alvar is a grass- and sedge-dominated community, with scattered shrubs and sometimes trees. The community occurs on broad, flat expanses of calcareous bedrock (limestone or dolostone) covered by a thin veneer of mineral soil, often less than 25 cm deep. Alvars are only known from three areas of the world: the Basaltic region of northern Europe, Counties Clare and Galway of northwest Ireland, and the Great Lakes region south of the Canadian Shield. In Michigan, most of the sites occur in the Upper Peninsula along the shorelines of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, in a band from Drummond Island to Cedarville, west to Seul Choix Point on the Garden Peninsula. Alvar also occurs farther west and inland along the Escanaba River. In the Lower Peninsula, alvar occurs on Thunder Bay Island and along the Lake Huron shoreline near Rogers City, Alpena, and Thompson's Harbor. The plant community is also referred to as alvar grassland. - Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
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