NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
Ecological Association Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected.
See All Search Results    View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: Gray Alder / Common Ladyfern Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL002628
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is a locally common association found at low elevations from about 701 to 2074 m (2300-6800 feet), in cool and moist, often maritime-influenced, regions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and adjacent non-coastal areas. This association often occurs on floodplains, streambanks, and overflow channels of perennial streams that vary in gradient and valley width. These sites usually have soil ranging from silty loam to sandy-gravelly loam over cobble alluvium. The association is also sometimes sampled in wetlands with organic loam soils on the margins of springs, oxbows, lakes, and sediment-filled beaver ponds. Alnus incana forms an open to partially closed canopy, averaging 5-6.5 m tall, typically having 30-60% cover. Picea engelmannii, or Thuja plicata in maritime-influenced areas, occur with moderate constancy, possibly indicating successional pathways for this type. Other shrubs with high constancy, but mostly low cover, include Cornus sericea, Ribes lacustre, Ribes hudsonianum, Rubus parviflorus, and Symphoricarpos albus. Athyrium filix-femina with 20-75% cover, sometimes with lesser amounts of Gymnocarpium dryopteris, forms a lush fern layer, up to 1.0 m tall. Cinna latifolia up to about 20% cover, with less abundant Carex deweyana, Carex disperma, Glyceria striata, and Scirpus microcarpus, are the most common graminoids. Tall forbs, such as Maianthemum stellatum, Mertensia paniculata, Senecio triangularis, and Streptopus amplexifolius, frequently occur with low cover, and a low-forb ground layer (composed of species such as Boykinia major, Circaea alpina, Claytonia cordifolia, Equisetum arvense, Mitella pentandra, and Trautvetteria caroliniensis) also exists.



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 Alnus incana (ALIN), RIHU, and/or COST. This is a well-documented association described from 40 quantitative plots. Twelve in eastern Oregon (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997, Crowe et al. 2002); and 28 from eastern Washington (Kovalchik 2001). This association may have been included in a broader Alnus incana type in Montana (Hansen et al. 1995). The broad Alnus incana community type of Hansen et al. (1995) has a similar mixed shrub and mesic forb understory, including noticeable Athyrium filix-femina cover. This association resembles other Alnus incana associations which all have similar mixed shrub species, mesic forbs species, and Athyrium filix-femina in their understories (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997, Kovalchik 2001, Crowe et al. 2002). This association is distinguished from other Alnus incana types in having Athyrium filix-femina as clearly the most abundant understory herbaceous species (with at least, but usually much more than, 5% cover), as well as relatively low cover of other shrub species.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Nb - Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Western North American Montane Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Western Montane-Subalpine Riparian & Seep Shrubland
Alliance Western Alder Wet Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL001144 Alnus incana / Carex (aquatilis, lenticularis, luzulina, pellita) Wet Shrubland
CEGL001145 Alnus incana / Cornus sericea Wet Shrubland
CEGL001146 Alnus incana / Equisetum arvense Wet Shrubland
CEGL002629 Alnus incana / Lysichiton americanus Wet Shrubland



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 Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina Shrubland Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Oregon Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina
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: Alnus incana / Athyrium filix-femina 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]
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: Alnus incana / Gymnocarpium dryopteris
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.866 North Pacific Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
CES306.832 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (18Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is locally common in northeastern Washington and adjacent northern Idaho, as well as along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range. The association is mostly restricted to low-elevation stream floodplains and wetlands within moist or maritime-influenced areas of the Intermountain region. The association becomes less frequently observed in the Blue Mountains and central Idaho, where climates are generally warmer and drier. The association is expected to also occur in northern California, southern British Columbia, and Montana, but more data are needed to better describe the abundance and distribution in those areas. Although the association has a relatively wide range, the total number of occurrences is estimated to be between 50 and 60. Threats to the association are not well documented, but include livestock grazing and associated effects such as decreased streambank stability and exotic species invasion.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CApotentially occurs, ID, MTpotentially occurs, OR, WA
Canadian Province Distribution: BCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: This association is known from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. It is expected to occur in similar habitats in British Columbia, Montana and California.

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: Eastern Cascades Section
Section Code: M242C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A 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: Bitterroot Mountains Section
Section Code: M333D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Alnus incana forms an open to partially closed canopy, averaging 5-6.5 m tall, typically having 30-60% cover. Picea engelmannii, or Thuja plicata in maritime-influenced areas, occur with moderate constancy, possibly indicating successional pathways for this type. Other shrubs with high constancy, but mostly low cover, include Cornus sericea, Ribes lacustre, Ribes hudsonianum, Rubus parviflorus, and Symphoricarpos albus. Athyrium filix-femina with 20-75% cover, sometimes with lesser amounts of Gymnocarpium dryopteris, forms a lush fern layer, up to 1.0 m tall. Cinna latifolia up to about 20% cover, with less abundant Carex deweyana, Carex disperma, Glyceria striata, and Scirpus microcarpus, are the most common graminoids. Tall forbs, such as Maianthemum stellatum, Mertensia paniculata, Senecio triangularis, and Streptopus amplexifolius, frequently occur with low cover, and a low-forb ground layer (composed of species such as Boykinia major, Circaea alpina, Claytonia cordifolia, Equisetum arvense, Mitella pentandra, and Trautvetteria caroliniensis) also exists.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Alnus incana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Athyrium filix-femina G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is a locally common association found at low elevations from about 701 to 2074 m (2300-6800 feet), in cool and moist, often maritime-influenced, regions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and adjacent non-coastal areas. This association often occurs on floodplains, streambanks, and overflow channels of perennial streams that vary in gradient and valley width. These sites usually have soil ranging from silty loam to sandy-gravelly loam over cobble alluvium. The association is also sometimes sampled in wetlands with organic loam soils on the margins of springs, oxbows, lakes, and sediment-filled beaver ponds.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Overgrazing and trampling decrease Alnus incana vigor and cover. This can reduce its ability to stabilize streambanks, allowing overwidening or incision of the channel, and thus, drying the moist soils necessary to support this association (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997, Kovalchik 2001). It is most likely a persistent mid-seral type requiring regular flood scouring and deposition for maintenance (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997, Kovalchik 2001). For example, both Alnus incana and Athyrium filix-femina are quick to recolonize ground disturbed by fire or flood (scouring and alluvial deposition) and might form a stable community until stream dynamics change. If the stream channel becomes sinuous and entrenched (e.g., Rosgen E channel), Salix species may invade (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997). More likely, downcutting and floodplain widening may dry out alluvial terraces and allow conifer invasion (Hansen et al. 1995). This change may lead toward an Abies grandis-dominated type in the Blue Mountains (Crowe and Clausnitzer 1997) and a Thuja plicata- or Abies lasiocarpa-dominated type in northern Washington and Idaho (Kovalchik 2001), each with Athyrium filix-femina dominating the undergrowth.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Murphy
Element Description Edition Date: 18Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): C. Murphy
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Murphy

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.

  • Bursik, R. J., and R. K. Moseley. 1995. Ecosystem conservation strategy for Idaho Panhandle peatlands. Cooperative project between Idaho Panhandle National Forests and Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Conservation Data Center, Boise. 28 pp. plus appendix.

  • 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.

  • Crowe, E., B. Kovalchik, M. J. Kerr, J. Titus, and J. S. Kagan. 2002. Riparian and wetland plant communities of eastern Oregon. Draft report. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland, OR.

  • 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.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2002. Unpublished riparian and wetland association occurrence and plot data on file at the Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, ID.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 2001. Classification and management of aquatic, riparian and wetland sites on the national forests of eastern Washington. Part 1: The series descriptions. 429 pp. plus appendix. [http://www.reo.gov/col/wetland_classification/wetland_classification.pdf]

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2002. Unpublished riparian and wetland association occurrence and plot data on file at Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.

  • 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.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2019
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019