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Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Swamp Woodland
Translated Name: Engelmann Spruce / Red-osier Dogwood Swamp Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL002677
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This woodland is found on cool, moist sites in the mountains of the central and northern Rockies west into Oregon and Washington, at elevations ranging from 820 to 2300 m. This community is restricted to flat or gently sloping alluvial terraces or benches and, less frequently, moist toeslopes or margins of fens or marshes. Stands may be temporarily flooded in the spring, and due to its location in riparian zones, the water table is usually within 1 m of the surface. Water flow and aeration in the rooting zone is usually good. Substrates are typically poorly drained, alluvial soils. Soil texture is variable ranging from coarse-loamy to clayey depending on alluvium, and sometimes organic. The overstory canopy is dominated by Picea engelmannii or Picea x albertiana. Other conifers or Populus spp. are often present. Shrub cover is typically high, with Cornus sericea usually the dominant shrub, although other species Alnus incana or Ribes lacustre are often present. Forb species richness is high but cover is low.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is defined as a PNV vegetation type. If it were renamed as a dominance type, the species would include Picea engelmannii, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa, and Pseudotsuga menziesii. Picea engelmannii and/or Picea x albertiana (= Picea engelmannii x glauca) (hybrids) are the diagnostic overstory species in this woodland plant association. Former Picea (engelmannii x glauca, engelmannii) / Cornus sericea Forest (CEGL000407) in Montana has been merged with former Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Woodland (CEGL000892) into a single entity which could include pure Picea engelmannii and the Picea x albertiana hybrid, or both. This type was described in Montana as Picea spp. / Cornus stolonifera habitat type by Hansen et al. (1995); and in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming as Picea spp. / Cornus stolonifera habitat type by Youngblood et al. (1985b). Hansen et al. (1995) explained that the frequent absence of mature cones, similar morphology, and ecological amplitudes led them to lump Picea engelmannii and Picea glauca (hybrids) into a single type. Youngblood et al. (1985b) reported that the similar ecological amplitudes led them to lump Picea engelmannii and Picea pungens into a single type.

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.Nc - Rocky Mountain-Great Basin Montane Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Rocky Mountain-Great Basin Montane Riparian & Swamp Forest
Group Rocky Mountain-Great Basin Montane Riparian & Swamp Forest
Alliance Subalpine Fir - Engelmann Spruce Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL000388 Picea pungens / Cornus sericea Riparian Woodland
CEGL000582 Populus tremuloides / Cornus sericea Riparian Forest
CEGL000672 Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa / Cornus sericea Riparian Forest
CEGL000899 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Cornus sericea Riparian Woodland
CEGL005905 Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa - Populus tremuloides - Conifer / Cornus sericea Riparian Forest
CEGL005929 Pinus contorta / Cornus sericea Swamp Woodland



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
Idaho Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Woodland Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Woodland Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002
Oregon Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004
Wyoming Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Woodland Equivalent Certain WNDD unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Picea / Cornus stolonifera Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hall, J. B., and P. L. Hansen. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Riparian and Wetland Research Program, School of Forestry, University of Montana. Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Technical Bulletin No. 97-11. 381 pp.
Related Concept Name: Picea engelmannii / Alnus incana - Cornus sericea ssp. sericea Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., B. L. Kovalchik, and M. J. Kerr. 2004. Riparian and wetland vegetation of central and eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Portland. 473 pp. [http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/ publications.html]
Related Concept Name: Picea engelmannii / Cornus sericea Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 pp.
Related Concept Name: Picea engelmannii / Cornus stolonifera
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1997. Mid-montane wetland plant associations of the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-22-97. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Picea engelmannii / Cornus stolonifera plant association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 pp.
Related Concept Name: Picea engelmannii / Symphoricarpos albus Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 pp.
Related Concept Name: Picea spp. / Cornus stolonifera Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hansen, P. L., R. D. Pfister, K. Boggs, B. J. Cook, J. Joy, and D. K. Hinckley. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana. 646 pp. plus posters.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985b. Riparian community type classification of northern Utah and adjacent Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 104 pp.
Related Concept Name: Conifer / Cornus sericea Community Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.833 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (18Jan2000)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This community has a broad range, and the environmental conditions capable of supporting the community (i.e., alluvial terraces) are not uncommon. Although it has been impacted by human activities like logging and stream channelization, it is nevertheless a relatively common riparian type in areas where lack of disturbance has allowed succession from cottonwood to spruce dominated communities. In addition, this type is the result of merging two G3 associations, and should be maintained until more range information is available.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CO, ID, MT, OR, UTpotentially occurs, WA, WY
Canadian Province Distribution: ABpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: This woodland is found on cool, moist sites in the mountains of the central and northern Rocky Mountains west into eastern Oregon and Washington. Stands are reported from as far south as the northern Wasatch in Utah extending into northwestern Montana and likely extending into Canada.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe - Open Woodland - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Yellowstone Highlands Section
Section Code: M331A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bighorn Mountains Section
Section Code: M331B Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Overthrust Mountains Section
Section Code: M331D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bitterroot Valley Section
Section Code: M332B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Rocky Mountain Front Section
Section Code: M332C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Beaverhead Mountains Section
Section Code: M332E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Forest - Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M333 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Okanogan Highlands Section
Section Code: M333A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Flathead Valley Section
Section Code: M333B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Rockies Section
Section Code: M333C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bitterroot Mountains Section
Section Code: M333D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This woodland association is characterized by an open to dense overstory tree canopy that is dominated by Picea engelmannii or Picea x albertiana (= Picea engelmannii x glauca) hybrids with the understory typically dominated by Cornus sericea. Other conifers may be present to codominant including Larix occidentalis, Picea pungens, Pinus contorta, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and occasionally Abies lasiocarpa (on drier microsites or with low vigor). Other tree species may be present such as Populus tremuloides, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa, and Betula papyrifera (usually in subcanopy). Shrub cover is typically high, usually dominated by Cornus sericea, with several other shrub species such as Alnus incana, Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, Amelanchier alnifolia, Linnaea borealis, Rhododendron albiflorum, Ribes lacustre, Rosa woodsii, Rubus parviflorus, Symphoricarpos albus, and various Salix spp. such as Salix bebbiana, Salix boothii, Salix candida, Salix drummondiana, or Salix scouleriana. The herbaceous layer is generally sparse because of the dense shrub layer and is dominated by forbs. Occasionally there will be significant cover of graminoids, including Calamagrostis rubescens or species of Carex or Poa. Forb-species richness is high with low cover of many moist-site species such as Actaea rubra, Clintonia uniflora, Equisetum arvense, Fragaria virginiana, Galium triflorum, Geranium richardsonii, Maianthemum stellatum, Osmorhiza berteroi (= Osmorhiza chilensis), Senecio triangularis, Streptopus amplexifolius, Galium spp., Thalictrum occidentale, and Viola glabella.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Picea engelmannii G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Cornus sericea G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Symphoricarpos albus G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This woodland is found on cool, moist sites in the mountains of the northern Rockies west into Oregon and Washington. This association occurs from 820-2300 m (2690-7600 feet) in elevation across its range. This community is restricted to flat, undulating or gently sloping alluvial terraces or benches and, less frequently, moist toeslopes or margins of fens or marshes. Stands may be temporarily flooded in the spring, and due to its location in riparian zones, the water table is usually within 1 m of the surface. Water flow and aeration in the rooting zone is usually good. Substrates are typically poorly drained, alluvial soils. Soil texture is variable, ranging from coarse-loamy to clayey depending on alluvium, and sometimes organic. Geologic parent material is typically alluvium, colluvium, and glacio-fluvial deposits.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association develops from Alnus incana / Cornus sericea Wet Shrubland (CEGL001145) as sites transition from alluvial bars to floodplains and build up fine-textured soil surface layers over the coarse-textured bars. Severe fires that kill overstory conifers will allow the cover of the major shrubs to increase. Over time, Engelmann spruce will re-establish on sites and eventually form a tree overstory.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J. Greenlee
Element Description Edition Date: 16Mar2004
Element Description Author(s): J. Greenlee and K.A. Schulz
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 29Oct1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J. Greenlee

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


References
  • ANHIC [Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Community database files. Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre, Parks and Protected Areas Division, Alberta Community Development, Edmonton.

  • 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.

  • CNHP [Colorado Natural Heritage Program]. 2006-2017. Tracked natural plant communities. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. [https://cnhp.colostate.edu/ourdata/trackinglist/plant_communities/]

  • Crowe, E. A., B. L. Kovalchik, and M. J. Kerr. 2004. Riparian and wetland vegetation of central and eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Portland. 473 pp. [http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/ publications.html]

  • Crowe, E. A., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1997. Mid-montane wetland plant associations of the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-22-97. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.

  • Hall, J. B., and P. L. Hansen. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Riparian and Wetland Research Program, School of Forestry, University of Montana. Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Technical Bulletin No. 97-11. 381 pp.

  • Hansen, P. L., R. D. Pfister, K. Boggs, B. J. Cook, J. Joy, and D. K. Hinckley. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana. 646 pp. plus posters.

  • Hop, K., M. Reid, J. Dieck, S. Lubinski, and S. Cooper. 2007. U.S. Geological Survey-National Park Service Vegetation Mapping Program: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, La Crosse, WI. 131 pp. plus Appendices A-L.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2005. Wetland and riparian plant associations in Idaho. Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. [http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/tech/CDC/ecology/wetland_riparian_assoc.cfm] (accessed 14 June 2005).

  • Jones, G., and S. Ogle. 2000. Characterization abstracts for vegetation types on the Bighorn, Medicine Bow, and Shoshone national forests. Prepared for USDA Forest Service, Region 2 by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming.

  • 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.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 pp.

  • MTNHP [Montana Natural Heritage Program]. 2002b. List of ecological communities for Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Montana State Library, Helena, MT.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Reid, M. S., S. V. Cooper, and G. Kittel. 2004. Vegetation classification of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Final report for USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, International Peace Park Mapping Project. NatureServe, Arlington VA.

  • WNDD [Wyoming Natural Diversity Database]. No date. Unpublished data on file. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • 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.

  • Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985a. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 78 pp.

  • Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985b. Riparian community type classification of northern Utah and adjacent Idaho. Unpublished report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 104 pp.


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