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Pinus monticola / Deschampsia cespitosa Riparian Forest
Translated Name: Western White Pine / Tufted Hairgrass Riparian Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL003441
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is an extremely rare floodplain forest from central Oregon. It is known from only one site in the upper parts of the John Day River watershed. The elevation is about 1525 m (5000 feet), in the grand fir zone. It is a floodplain community, found in a broad and shallow, slightly sinuous river valley, in a narrow, V-shaped valley with moderate gradient (over 2%). Fire and flooding disturbance help maintain Pinus monticola as the primary canopy dominant. Pinus monticola is the sole canopy dominant. Abies grandis and Pinus monticola are both present as understory trees. Mahonia repens was the only shrub found, at very low cover. Grasses dominate the understory, with Deschampsia cespitosa (13% cover) and Elymus glaucus (10% cover) being codominant, and Carex geyeri also present. Forbs included Achillea millefolium, Adiantum pedatum, and Orthilia secunda.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is known from only one site in good condition. Pinus monticola is found infrequently in riparian stands, although given the importance of Pinus ponderosa in riparian at lower elevations, perhaps it should be more common. Until additional, high-quality stands are located, the classification confidence will be low. Poor-quality examples have been seen elsewhere in central Oregon, and may be present in northwestern California, northern Nevada and western Idaho.

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 Rocky Mountain Grand Fir Riparian 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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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 monticola / Deschampsia cespitosa Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Pinus monticola / Deschampsia caespitosa 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: Pinus monticola / Deschampsia cespitosa
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
CES304.768 Columbia Basin Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (21Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This is an extremely rare association, known from only one location. It is restricted to riparian habitats, which have been greatly impacted by grazing, fire suppression, and logging. Fire suppression is a problem because Pinus monticola is a fire-tolerant species which is replaced by Abies grandis in the absence of fire. The natural fire frequency in these habitats is between 20 and 30 years, while most of the landscape has had fires suppressed for the last 80 years. In addition, the dominant species is being heavily impacted by an introduced pathogen, the white pine blister rust, which is destroying entire populations of the species in many areas.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: OR
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: As currently known, this is a very local association found in central Oregon. The distribution of the species is broader, although due to impacts to riparian areas, broad changes to natural fire patterns, and the spread of the blister rust, it may not be found in many other places.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
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: Blue Mountains Section
Section Code: M332G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Pinus monticola is the sole canopy dominant. Abies grandis and Pinus monticola are both present as understory trees. Mahonia repens was the only shrub found, at very low cover. Grasses dominate the understory, with Deschampsia cespitosa (13% cover) and Elymus glaucus (10% cover) being codominant, and Carex geyeri also present. Forbs included Achillea millefolium, Adiantum pedatum, and Orthilia secunda (= Pyrola secunda).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus monticola G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Deschampsia caespitosa G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The elevation is about 1525 m (5000 feet), in the grand fir zone. It is a floodplain community, found in a broad and shallow, slightly sinuous river valley, in a narrow, V-shaped valley with moderate gradient (over 2%). Fire and flooding disturbance help maintain Pinus monticola as the primary canopy dominant.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J. Kagan
Element Description Edition Date: 21Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): J. Kagan
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 21Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J. Kagan

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


References
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Titus, J. H., J. A. Christy, D. Vander Schaaf, J. S. Kagan, and E. R. Alverson. 1996. Native wetland, riparian, and upland plant communities and their biota in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Report to the Environmental Protection Agency, Region X, Seattle, WA. Willamette Basin Geographic Initiative. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Portland, OR.

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


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Data last updated: March 2019