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Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa / Alnus incana Riparian Forest
Translated Name: Black Cottonwood / Gray Alder Riparian Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL000667
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This black cottonwood association is found in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. It has been reported from south-central Oregon on the Fremont National Forest and may occur in a few other scattered localities of eastern Oregon but without documentation. The association occurs within the Basin and Range Physiographic Province, characterized by fault-block mountains enclosing internal drainages. Another feature of the region is scattered volcanic peaks. The region has climatic features of both Pacific Maritime and Continental climates, with most of the annual precipitation falling as snow from October through March. Average annual precipitation ranges from 30-50 cm, depending upon elevation. Summers are dry and hot. Little detailed information is available for this association. It is a riparian association, occurring on alluvial deposits in valley bottom floodplains. Soils are sandy loams over stream-laid cobbles and gravels. Flooding occurs during May and June (spring snowmelt), and the water table is within a few feet of the surface, even in late September during the dry season. Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa requires flooding and scouring to become established. Little information is available on the species composition or structure of this association. At present it is considered a forest, but quantitative data are not available, and it may actually be a woodland. It is dominated by broad-leaved deciduous trees and tall shrubs, the most important being the tree Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa and the tall shrub/small tree Alnus incana. Scattered individuals of the needle-leaved evergreen tree Pinus contorta are present. Other shrubs include species of Salix. The one stand reported has an herbaceous layer dominated by the perennial sedge Carex pellita. Other herbaceous species may include the forbs Heracleum maximum and Urtica dioica, and other species of Carex.



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.

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 Northern Rocky Mountain Lowland-Foothill Riparian Forest
Alliance Northern Rocky Mountain Riparian Black Cottonwood 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
Idaho Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa / Alnus incana Forest Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Oregon Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa / Alnus incana Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa / Alnus incana - Cornus sericea ssp. sericea Association
Relationship: B - Broader
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: Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa/Alnus incana Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crawford, R. C., C. B. Chappell, C. C. Thompson, and F. J. Rocchio. 2009. Vegetation classification of Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks. Plant association descriptions and identification keys: Appendices A-G. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NCCN/NRTR--2009/D-586. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 586 pp.
Related Concept Name: Populus trichocarpa / Alnus incana 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: Black cottonwood / mountain alder / woolly sedge community type
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1987. Riparian zone associations - Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema national forests. Technical Paper 279-87. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 171 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.869 North Pacific Lowland Riparian Forest and Shrubland
CES304.045 Great Basin Foothill and Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
CES304.768 Columbia Basin Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
CES306.804 Northern Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: There are only a few documented stands. Black cottonwood-dominated communities are extremely susceptible to grazing, and many stands have been converted to cottonwood over understories dominated by introduced grasses. Additionally, dams and diversions have altered the annual flooding and scouring, with associated depositional floodplain features, which is required for the establishment of Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ID, OR, WA
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association has been reported from south-central Oregon on the Fremont National Forest, and may occur in a few other scattered localities of eastern Oregon but without documentation. It is also found in Idaho and Washington.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Desert Division
Province Name: Intermountain Semi-Desert Province
Province Code: 342 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northwestern Basin and Range Section
Section Code: 342B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Owyhee Uplands Section
Section Code: 342C Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Columbia Basin Section
Section Code: 342I Occurrence Status: Possible
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
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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Little information is available on the species composition or structure of this association. At present it is considered a forest, but quantitative data are not available, and it may actually be a woodland. It is dominated by broad-leaved deciduous trees and tall shrubs, the most important being the tree Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa (= Populus trichocarpa), and the tall shrub/small tree Alnus incana. Scattered individuals of the needle-leaved evergreen tree Pinus contorta are present. Other shrubs include species of Salix. The one stand reported by Kovalchik (1987) has an herbaceous layer dominated by the perennial sedge Carex pellita (= Carex lanuginosa). Other herbaceous species may include the forbs Heracleum maximum (= Heracleum lanatum) and Urtica dioica, and other species of Carex.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Alnus incana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 


Vegetation Structure
Stratum Growth Form
Height of Stratum (m)
Cover
Class
%
Min
Cover %
Max
Cover %
Tree canopy Broad-leaved deciduous tree
 
 
 
 
Tall shrub/sapling Broad-leaved deciduous shrub
 
 
 
 
Herb (field) Flowering forb
 
 
 
 
Herb (field) Graminoid
 
 
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The association occurs within the Basin and Range Physiographic Province, characterized by fault-block mountains enclosing internal drainages. Another feature of the region is scattered volcanic peaks. The region has climatic features of both Pacific Maritime and Continental climates, with most of the annual precipitation falling as snow from October through March. Average annual precipitation ranges from 30-50 cm, depending upon elevation. Summers are dry and hot. Little detailed information is available for this association. It is a riparian association, occurring on alluvial deposits in valley bottom floodplains. Soils are sandy loams over stream-laid cobbles and gravels. Flooding occurs during May and June (spring snowmelt), and the water table is within a few feet of the surface, even in late September during the dry season. Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa requires flooding and scouring to become established.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.S. Reid
Element Description Edition Date: 07May2010
Element Description Author(s): M.S. Reid
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Jan1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.S. Reid

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.

  • Crawford, R. C., C. B. Chappell, C. C. Thompson, and F. J. Rocchio. 2009. Vegetation classification of Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks. Plant association descriptions and identification keys: Appendices A-G. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NCCN/NRTR--2009/D-586. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 586 pp.

  • 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.

  • Ferro, M., K. Hulbert, J. Merrill, J. Merzenich, J. Reed, K. Roberts, and A. Taylor. 1976. Preliminary survey of plants and vertebrates of the Wenaha Drainage. NSF Student-originated study, Eastern Oregon State College. 37 pp. plus bibliography and appendices.

  • 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.

  • Kauffman, J. B. 1982. Synecological effects of cattle grazing riparian ecosystems. Unpublished thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 283 pp.

  • Kauffman, J. B., W. C. Krueger, and M. Vaura. 1985. Ecology and plant communities of the riparian area associated with Catherine Creek in northeastern Oregon. Technical Bulletin 147. Eastern Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 35 pp.

  • Kovalchik, B. L. 1987. Riparian zone associations - Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema national forests. Technical Paper 279-87. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 171 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.

  • McNeil, R .C. 1975. Vegetation and fire history of a ponderosa pine-white fir forest in Crater Lake National Park. M.S. thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

  • Titus, J. H., M. Kerr, E. Crowe, and B. Kovalchik. 1998. Riparian zones of eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland.

  • 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.


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