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Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta Forest
Translated Name: Beach Pine / Slough Sedge Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL000142
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This early- to mid-seral association occurs sporadically along the coast between northern California and southwestern Washington, where it occurs in depressions on deflation plains and on ancient marine terraces. A high water table in winter, or impeded drainage from iron-cemented hardpan, precludes invasion by upland species of shrubs and trees. The depressions fill with 1-3 feet of standing water in winter and early spring, but dry up by early summer. Sand in dried-up depressions may be stained with iron. Peat does not develop at these sites because summer drying oxidizes any organic material. Pinus contorta trees 40-130 years old dominate these stands, although most stands are 30-75 years old. Old-growth stands are rare. Canopy cover is between 70-85%, and Pinus contorta is the only reproducing conifer present. The sparse shrub layer, ranging from 1-25% cover, contains Morella californica, Gaultheria shallon, and Vaccinium ovatum, growing on mounds in and around the depressions. Carex obnupta dominates the ground layer, with density varying inversely with depth and duration of winter flooding. Moss cover ranges from 2-95% cover, with drought-tolerant Warnstorfia exannulata, Fontinalis antipyretica var. oregonensis, Sphagnum mendocinum, and Polytrichum commune being most conspicuous. Live basal area is very low. The seasonally high water table inhibits invasion of upland species, and this association persists long after surrounding vegetation has developed into upland forest. Long-term infilling by organic material causes transition to upland vegetation.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Ng - Vancouverian Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Vancouverian Flooded & Swamp Forest
Group North-Central Pacific Maritime Swamp Forest
Alliance Lodgepole Pine Swamp Forest

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Related Subnational Community Units
These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.
In the U.S., contact the state Heritage Program for the most complete and up-to-date information at: http://www.natureserve.org/natureserve-network.
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
Oregon Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004
Washington Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta Swamp Forest Equivalent Certain WNHP unpubl. data 2018


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Pinus contorta / Carex obnupta
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Wiedemann, A. M. 1984. The ecology of Pacific Northwest coastal sand dunes: A community profile. USDI Fish and Wildlife Service Report FWS/OBS-84/04. 130 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Pinus contorta var. contorta/Carex obnupta
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Meidinger, D., C. Chappell, C. Cadrin, G. Kittel, C. McCain, K. Boggs, J. Kagan, G. Cushon, A. Banner, and T. DeMeo. 2005. International Vegetation Classification of the Pacific Northwest: International correlation of temperate coastal forest plant associations of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. Contributors: B.C. Ministry of Forests, USDA Forest Service, B.C. Conservation Data Centre, Alaska Natural Heritage Program, Washington Natural Heritage Program, and Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center.
Related Concept Name: Shore Pine / Slough Sedge Seasonally Flooded Forest (Pinus contorta var. contorta / Carex obnupta)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A., J. S. Kagan, and A. M. Wiedemann. 1998. Plant associations of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area - Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-09-98. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 196 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.062 North Pacific Coastal Interdunal Wetland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (01Dec2000)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This local association is restricted to sand dunes along the Pacific coast between northern California and southwestern Washington, with most remaining stands found along the central Oregon coast. Specific habitat conditions required by this association include a seasonally dry sandy substrate, a coastal Mediterranean climate, and seasonal flooding. Only about 30 occurrences are known to exist, covering an estimated 300 acres. Stands on private land are being destroyed by housing and commercial development. Other stands are vulnerable to damage from off-road vehicles or are located in municipal wellfields, and pumping of groundwater may cause declines. The best stands are on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, but may still be threatened. The U.S. Forest Service is working to protect these stands, but if they decline, this type should become ranked G1. If it becomes established in many of the new deflation plains created by Ammophila arenaria, it might be able to become G3.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CApotentially occurs, OR, WA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs sporadically along the coast between northern California and southwestern Washington. Most occurrences are restricted to the central coast of Oregon, between Coos Bay and Heceta Head.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Marine Regime Mountains
Province Name: Cascade Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M242 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Oregon and Washington Coast Ranges Section
Section Code: M242A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Pinus contorta trees 40-130 years old dominate these stands, although most stands are 30-75 years old. Old-growth stands are rare. Canopy cover is between 70-85%, and Pinus contorta is the only reproducing conifer present. The sparse shrub layer, ranging from 1-25% cover, contains Morella californica (= Myrica californica), Gaultheria shallon, and Vaccinium ovatum, growing on mounds in and around the depressions. Carex obnupta dominates the ground layer, with density varying inversely with depth and duration of winter flooding. Moss cover ranges from 2-95% cover, with drought-tolerant Warnstorfia exannulata, Fontinalis antipyretica var. oregonensis (= Fontinalis howellii), Sphagnum mendocinum, and Polytrichum commune being most conspicuous. Live basal area is very low.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus contorta var. contorta G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Carex obnupta G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This early- to mid-seral association occurs sporadically along the coast between northern California and southwestern Washington, where it occurs in depressions on deflation plains and on ancient marine terraces. A high water table in winter, or impeded drainage from iron-cemented hardpan, precludes invasion by upland species of shrubs and trees. The depressions fill with 1-3 feet of standing water in winter and early spring, but dry up by early summer. Sand in dried-up depressions may be stained with iron. Peat does not develop at these sites because summer drying oxidizes any organic material.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The seasonally high water table inhibits invasion of upland species, and this association persists long after surrounding vegetation has developed into upland forest. Long-term infilling by organic material causes transition to upland vegetation.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J.A. Christy
Element Description Edition Date: 26Nov1997
Element Description Author(s): J.A. Christy
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Dec2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J.A. Christy

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Bourgeron, P. S., and L. D. Engelking, editors. 1994. A preliminary vegetation classification of the western United States. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Western Heritage Task Force, Boulder, CO. 175 pp. plus appendix.

  • Christy, J. A. 1979. Report on a preliminary survey of Sphagnum-containing wetlands on the Oregon Coast. Oregon Natural Area Preserves Advisory Committee. Oregon State Land Board, Salem. 92 pp.

  • Christy, J. A. 2001a. Low-elevation Sphagnum wetlands in western Oregon. Report to Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland. 90 pp.

  • Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.

  • Christy, J. A., J. S. Kagan, and A. M. Wiedemann. 1998. Plant associations of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area - Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-09-98. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 196 pp.

  • Egler, F. E. 1934. Communities and successional trends in the vegetation of the Coos Bay sand dunes, Oregon. M.S. thesis, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. 39 pp.

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. January 2004. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland. 52 pp.

  • McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.

  • Meidinger, D., C. Chappell, C. Cadrin, G. Kittel, C. McCain, K. Boggs, J. Kagan, G. Cushon, A. Banner, and T. DeMeo. 2005. International Vegetation Classification of the Pacific Northwest: International correlation of temperate coastal forest plant associations of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. Contributors: B.C. Ministry of Forests, USDA Forest Service, B.C. Conservation Data Centre, Alaska Natural Heritage Program, Washington Natural Heritage Program, and Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center.

  • Sawyer, J. O., and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A manual of California vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 471 pp.

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2018. Unpublished data files. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.

  • Western Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boulder, CO.

  • Wiedemann, A. M. 1966. Contributions to the plant ecology of the Oregon coastal sand dunes. Ph.D. dissertation, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 255 pp.

  • Wiedemann, A. M. 1984. The ecology of Pacific Northwest coastal sand dunes: A community profile. USDI Fish and Wildlife Service Report FWS/OBS-84/04. 130 pp.

  • Wiedemann, A. M. 1993. Dry coastal ecosystems of northwestern North America. Pages 341-358 in: E. van der Maarel, editor. Ecosystems of the World 2B: Dry Coastal Ecosystems - Africa, America, Asia and Oceania. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


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