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Abies grandis / Senecio triangularis Riparian Forest
Translated Name: Grand Fir / Arrowleaf Ragwort Riparian Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL000280
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This forest association is found at low to mid elevations of the Abies grandis zone, as a minor type, in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. Stands are relatively warm and located on bottomlands, moist benches, and toeslopes with seasonally high water tables. The tree layer is codominated by Abies grandis and Picea engelmannii, with Abies grandis showing a greater reproductive capacity under heavy shading. Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis may be present on the edges or drier portions of the type. Medium-tall shrubs, such as Acer glabrum and Menziesia ferruginea, may be present but with low cover. Athyrium filix-femina, a fern, is usually present with greater than 50% constancy. The understory is represented by a diversity of moist-site forbs that include Asarum caudatum, Clintonia uniflora, Coptis occidentalis, Galium triflorum, and Senecio triangularis.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Abies grandis / Clintonia uniflora - Aralia nudicaulis is a similar type described by Pfister et al. (1977) in the Bitterroot Range of Montana. Steele et al. (1976) described this type as Abies grandis / Athyrium filix-femina on the Nez Perce National Forest. To accommodate the regional variation observed in forb composition, Cooper et al. (1987) recognized the type based on any one or any combination of the following wet-site forbs having at least 5% cover: Senecio triangularis, Streptopus amplexifolius, Ligusticum canbyi, Trautvetteria caroliniensis, or Athyrium filix-femina. The complex of Abies grandis forest associations with mesic- to wet-site forb understories needs to be reviewed. Differing choices of indicator species in the above studies may have resulted in several different associations in the USNVC that really represent the same 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 Rocky Mountain Grand Fir Riparian Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL000270 Abies grandis / Athyrium filix-femina Riparian Forest
CEGL000272 Abies grandis / Clintonia uniflora Forest



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 Abies grandis / Senecio triangularis Forest Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Abies grandis / Senecio triangularis Forest Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Abies grandis / Athyrium filix-femina Habitat Type
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Steele, R., S. F. Arno, and R. D. Pfister. 1976. Preliminary forest habitat types of the Nezperce National Forest. Unpublished report by USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 71 pp.
Related Concept Name: Abies grandis / Clintonia uniflora - Aralia nudicaulis Habitat Type
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Pfister, R. D., B. L. Kovalchik, S. F. Arno, and R. C. Presby. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. General Technical Report INT-34. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 174 pp.
Related Concept Name: Abies grandis / Senecio triangularis Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Cooper, S. V., K. E. Neiman, R. Steele, and D. W. Roberts. 1987. Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: A second approximation. General Technical Report INT-236.USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 135 pp. [reprinted in 1991]

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.804 Northern Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (24Feb2004)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This is a minor forest association found between 793 and 1402 m (2600-4600 feet) elevation in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. Stands are relatively warm and located on bottomlands, moist benches, and toeslopes with seasonally high water tables. Alteration of the hydrology due to logging and road systems has caused erosion resulting in siltation and debris deposits. Regeneration is difficult in cutover stands due to the colonization of Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, Pteridium aquilinum, and Rudbeckia occidentalis. Also because of the locality of these stands, a potential threat is livestock grazing. New losses to this type are probably slow and progressive resulting from historical impacts, such as logging and road systems. Because this type is sensitive to disturbance, any form of site manipulation degrades the habitat.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ID, MT
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This minor forest association is found between 793 and 1402 m (2600-4600 feet) elevation in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana.

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: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Mountains Section
Section Code: M332G 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: The tree layer is codominated by Abies grandis and Picea engelmannii, with Abies grandis showing a greater reproductive capacity under heavy shading. In frost pockets or higher elevations, Abies lasiocarpa may occur as a minor climax species. Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis may be present on the edges or drier portions of the type. The undergrowth typically displays a diverse group of moist-site forbs such as Clintonia uniflora, Coptis occidentalis, Asarum caudatum, Senecio triangularis, and Galium triflorum; the broadly distributed forbs Osmorhiza berteroi (= Osmorhiza chilensis) and Thalictrum occidentale are consistently present, occasionally with high cover.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies grandis G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Picea engelmannii G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Senecio triangularis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is found between 793 and 1402 m (2600-4600 feet) elevation. Located on bottomlands and toeslopes, this type is often found on sites with seasonally high water tables. This is a very moist type, which is relatively warm in comparison with other Abies grandis types.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Sites may be extremely susceptible to windthrow. Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, Pteridium aquilinum, and Rudbeckia occidentalis show a propensity for colonizing these sites after stand cutovers.

Although this type is not classified in a fire group study, its environment is equivalent to Fischer and Bradley's (1987) Group Eleven - warm, moist grand fir, western red-cedar, and western hemlock habitat types. The threat of fire is highest in the summer, when the moist maritime climate no longer prevails. During severe summer drought, heavy fuel loading from high plant productivity can set the stage for severe, widespread fires. Stands are replaced and sites revert to pioneer species. Summertime fuel moisture conditions in young stands are not nearly as high as in older, more dense stands, and the effects of fire are often more severe than they are in older stands. Surface fires often scar the base of the grand fir, creating favorable entry points for decay organisms. The initial floral component, seeds stored on site, and the accidents of natural seeding and seedling establishment may structure the community following the fire more than the characteristics of the fire itself. Although generally true for all fire groups, it is more pronounced in this fire group. The use of fire for site preparation will usually result in increased spring and summer browse for big game in addition to successful regeneration of seral tree species.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.D. Engelking
Element Description Edition Date: 24May1991
Element Description Author(s): L.D. Engelking
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17May2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J.J. Miller

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.

  • Cooper, S. V., K. E. Neiman, R. Steele, and D. W. Roberts. 1987. Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: A second approximation. General Technical Report INT-236.USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 135 pp. [reprinted in 1991]

  • Fischer, W. C., and A. F. Bradley. 1987. Fire ecology of western Montana forest habitat types. General Technical Report INT-223. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 95 pp.

  • 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).

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

  • Pfister, R. D., B. L. Kovalchik, S. F. Arno, and R. C. Presby. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. General Technical Report INT-34. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 174 pp.

  • Steele, R., S. F. Arno, and R. D. Pfister. 1976. Preliminary forest habitat types of the Nezperce National Forest. Unpublished report by USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 71 pp.

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


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