Lava Beds is situated in a high elevation semi-arid desert ecosystem. The region in and around the monument is unique because is lies on the junction of the Sierra-Klamath, Cascade, and Great Basin geological provinces. Plant community associations within the monument are representative of greater Great Basin eco-region with average annual precipitation totals of 15 inches.
Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.