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Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus Forest
Translated Name: Douglas-fir / Common Snowberry Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL000459
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This widespread forest association occurs in the central and northern Rocky Mountains from the mid montane zone down to upper foothill zone on cool aspects. Sites are warm and relatively dry to moist, gentle to steep, mid to lower slopes, benches, and terraces. Stands are found on southerly or easterly aspects throughout much of its range, but may occur on any aspect. Substrates are variable and may be very gravelly or not, with soil textures ranging from sandy loam to silt derived from alluvium, glacial till and outwash. Ground surface has high cover of litter, sometimes significant cover of rock, and low cover of bare soil. The vegetation is characterized by a moderately dense to dense (40-90% cover) evergreen needle-leaved tree canopy, dominated or codominated by Pseudotsuga menziesii with the short shrub Symphoricarpos albus dominating or codominating the understory. Mature Pinus ponderosa often codominates the tree canopy, but does not regenerate. Other mature seral tree species present to codominant may include Pinus contorta, Pinus flexilis, Larix occidentalis, Juniperus spp., or Populus tremuloides. Understory trees are almost exclusively Pseudotsuga menziesii. The short-shrub layer is dominated or codominated by the rhizomatous Symphoricarpos albus and other short shrubs such as Juniperus communis, Mahonia repens, Paxistima myrsinites, Ribes cereum, Rosa spp., Spiraea betulifolia, and Symphoricarpos oreophilus. Scattered tall shrubs such as Amelanchier alnifolia, Prunus virginiana, or Sorbus scopulina may form an open tall-shrub layer. A low cover to moderately dense herbaceous layer is present and is composed of diverse forbs with the graminoids Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Festuca idahoensis or Pseudoroegneria spicata present to codominant.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: All phases of Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus Habitat Type (Pfister et al. 1977, Steele et al. 1981) are included in the concept of this association.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Nb - Rocky Mountain Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Central Rocky Mountain Dry Lower Montane-Foothill Forest
Group Middle Rocky Mountain Montane Douglas-fir Forest & Woodland
Alliance Middle Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir Dry-Mesic Forest & Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL000166 Pinus contorta / Symphoricarpos albus Forest
CEGL000337 Abies lasiocarpa - Picea engelmannii / Symphoricarpos albus Forest
CEGL000420 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Amelanchier alnifolia Forest
CEGL000429 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Calamagrostis rubescens Woodland
CEGL000457 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Spiraea betulifolia Forest
CEGL000458 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus / Hieracium cynoglossoides Forest
CEGL005911 Populus tremuloides - Conifer / Spiraea betulifolia - Symphoricarpos albus 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
Oregon Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Abies lasiocarpa / Symphoricarpos albus Habitat Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Steele, R., S. V. Cooper, D. M. Ondov, D. W. Roberts, and R. D. Pfister. 1983. Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. General Technical Report INT-144. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 122 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii - Pinus ponderosa / Symphoricarpos albus Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Brayshaw, T. C. 1965. The dry forest of southern British Columbia. Pages 65-75 in: V. J. Krajina, editor. Ecology of western North America. Volume I, illustrated. University of British Columbia, Department of Botany.
Related Concept Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii / Calamagrostis rubescens Habitat Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Ogilvie, R. T. 1962. Ecology of spruce forests on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Unpublished dissertation, Washington State University, Pullman. 189 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Topik, C., N. M. Halverson, and T. High. 1988. Plant associations and management guide of the ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir zone, Mt. Hood National Forest. R6-ECOL-TP-004-88. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 136 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus Habitat Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Daubenmire, R. F., and J. B. Daubenmire. 1968. Forest vegetation of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Washington State University Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 60. 104 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Johnson, C. G., Jr., and S. A. Simon. 1987. Plant associations of the Wallowa-Snake Province Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Technical Paper R6-ECOL-TP-255A-86. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 399 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Ogilvie, R. T. 1962. Ecology of spruce forests on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Unpublished dissertation, Washington State University, Pullman. 189 pp.
Relationship: B - Broader
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.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Steele, R., R. D. Pfister, R. A. Ryker, and J. A. Kittams. 1981. Forest habitat types of central Idaho. General Technical Report INT-114. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 138 pp.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Steele, R., S. V. Cooper, D. M. Ondov, D. W. Roberts, and R. D. Pfister. 1983. Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. General Technical Report INT-144. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 122 pp.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Zamora, B. A. 1983. Forest habitat types of the Spokane Indian Reservation. Agricultural Research Center, Washington State University Research Bulletin XB-0936-1983.
Related Concept Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Johnson, C. G., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1992. Plant associations of the Blue and Ochoco mountains. R6-ERW-TP-036-92. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 163 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Williams, C. K., T. R. Lillybridge, and B. G. Smith. 1990b. Forested plant associations of the Colville National Forest. Report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 133 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Williams, C. K., and T. R. Lillybridge. 1983. Forested plant associations of the Okanogan National Forest. R6-Ecol-132b-1983. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 140 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Williams, C. K., and T. R. Lillybridge. 1985. Forested plant associations of the Colville National Forest. Draft. Unpublished field guide prepared for USDA Forest Service.
Related Concept Name: Douglas fir/snowberry
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McLean, A., and W.D. Holland. 1958. Vegetation zones and their relationship to the soils and climate of the Upper Columbia Valley. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 38:328-348.
Related Concept Name: ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir-snowberry-oceanspray community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hall, F. C. 1973. Plant communities of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. R6 Area Guide 3-1. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 62 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.959 Middle Rocky Mountain Montane Douglas-fir Forest and Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ID, MT, OR, WA, WY
Canadian Province Distribution: AB, BCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This widespread montane forest association occurs in the central and northern Rocky Mountains from southeastern Idaho and northwestern Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and eastern Oregon and Washington, extending into southern Alberta and British Columbia.

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: 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: 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: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A 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
Section Name: Challis Volcanics Section
Section Code: M332F 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: Predicted or probable
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 Rocky Mountain conifer association is characterized by a moderately dense to dense (40-90% cover). evergreen needle-leaved tree canopy dominated or codominated by Pseudotsuga menziesii with the short shrub Symphoricarpos albus dominating or codominating the understory. Mature Pinus ponderosa often codominates tree canopy, but does not regenerate. Other mature seral tree species present to codominant may include Pinus contorta, Pinus flexilis, Larix occidentalis, Juniperus scopulorum, Juniperus occidentalis (eastern Oregon and Washington), or Populus tremuloides. Understory trees are almost exclusively Pseudotsuga menziesii. The short-shrub layer is open (patchy) to moderately dense (25-50% cover) and is dominated or codominated by the rhizomatous Symphoricarpos albus and other short shrubs such as Juniperus communis, Mahonia repens, Paxistima myrsinites, Ribes cereum, Rosa spp., Spiraea betulifolia, Spiraea splendens, Shepherdia canadensis, and Symphoricarpos oreophilus. Scattered tall shrubs such as Amelanchier alnifolia, Prunus virginiana, or Sorbus scopulina may form an open tall-shrub layer, but it does not dominate the undergrowth. A low cover to moderately dense herbaceous layer is present and is composed of diverse forbs with the graminoids Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Festuca idahoensis or Pseudoroegneria spicata present to codominant. Forb species may include Achillea millefolium, Moehringia macrophylla (= Arenaria macrophylla), Arnica cordifolia, Balsamorhiza sagittata, Fragaria spp., Hieracium spp., Osmorhiza berteroi (= Osmorhiza chilensis), Penstemon wilcoxii, Poa nervosa, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. amplexicaule, and Thalictrum occidentale.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pseudotsuga menziesii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy
 
 
Spiraea betulifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Symphoricarpos albus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling
 
 
Calamagrostis rubescens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This widespread forest association occurs in the central and northern Rocky Mountains from the mid montane zone down to upper foothill zone on cool aspects. Elevations range 820-2260 m (2700-7400 feet) in the central and northern Rocky Mountains and down to 680-1700 m (2230-5575 feet) in eastern Oregon and Washington. Sites are warm and relatively dry to moist, gentle to steep, mid to lower slopes, benches, and terraces. Stands are found on southerly or easterly aspects throughout much of its range, but may occur on any aspect. Substrates are variable and may be very gravelly or not, with soil textures ranging from sandy loam to silty clay derived from alluvium, glacial till and outwash. Parent materials include loess, various calcareous and noncalcareous sedimentary rock, andesite, argillite, basalt, gneiss, granite, limestone, quartzite, quartz monzonite, rhyolite, sandstone or schist,. Ground surface has high cover of litter 4-8 cm deep, sometimes significant cover of rock, and low cover of bare soil.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Western Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 06Jul2005
Element Description Author(s): K.A. Schulz and G. Kittel

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.

  • Brayshaw, T. C. 1965. The dry forest of southern British Columbia. Pages 65-75 in: V. J. Krajina, editor. Ecology of western North America. Volume I, illustrated. University of British Columbia, Department of Botany.

  • Cogan, D., K. Varga, and G. Kittel. 2005. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Final Project Report 2002-2005 Vegetation Mapping Project. Technical Memorandum 8260-06-02. USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO. 87 pp. plus Appendixes A-F.

  • Cooper, S. V. 1975. Forest habitat types of northwestern Wyoming and contiguous portion of Montana and Idaho. Unpublished dissertation, Washington State University, Pullman. 190 pp.

  • 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]

  • 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.

  • Daubenmire, R. F., and J. B. Daubenmire. 1968. Forest vegetation of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Washington State University Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 60. 104 pp.

  • Hall, F. C. 1973. Plant communities of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. R6 Area Guide 3-1. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 62 pp.

  • 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.

  • Johnson, C. G., Jr., and S. A. Simon. 1987. Plant associations of the Wallowa-Snake Province Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Technical Paper R6-ECOL-TP-255A-86. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 399 pp. plus appendices.

  • Johnson, C. G., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1992. Plant associations of the Blue and Ochoco mountains. R6-ERW-TP-036-92. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 163 pp. plus appendices.

  • Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.

  • 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.

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

  • McLean, A., and W.D. Holland. 1958. Vegetation zones and their relationship to the soils and climate of the Upper Columbia Valley. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 38:328-348.

  • Ogilvie, R. T. 1962. Ecology of spruce forests on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Unpublished dissertation, Washington State University, Pullman. 189 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Steele, R., R. D. Pfister, R. A. Ryker, and J. A. Kittams. 1981. Forest habitat types of central Idaho. General Technical Report INT-114. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 138 pp.

  • Steele, R., S. V. Cooper, D. M. Ondov, D. W. Roberts, and R. D. Pfister. 1983. Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. General Technical Report INT-144. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 122 pp.

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

  • Topik, C., N. M. Halverson, and T. High. 1988. Plant associations and management guide of the ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir zone, Mt. Hood National Forest. R6-ECOL-TP-004-88. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 136 pp.

  • 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.

  • Williams, C. K., T. R. Lillybridge, and B. G. Smith. 1990b. Forested plant associations of the Colville National Forest. Report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 133 pp.

  • Williams, C. K., and T. R. Lillybridge. 1983. Forested plant associations of the Okanogan National Forest. R6-Ecol-132b-1983. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 140 pp.

  • Williams, C. K., and T. R. Lillybridge. 1985. Forested plant associations of the Colville National Forest. Draft. Unpublished field guide prepared for USDA Forest Service.

  • Wooten, G., and P. Morrison. 1995. Classification of vascular plant communities of the North Cascades using discreet space boundary analysis. Unpublished report. 113 pp.

  • Zamora, B. A. 1983. Forest habitat types of the Spokane Indian Reservation. Agricultural Research Center, Washington State University Research Bulletin XB-0936-1983.


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