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Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: Gray Alder / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL001147
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This shrubland association has a widespread distribution that includes the western states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California and Colorado. Stands occur on streambanks and terraces immediately adjacent to streams with a bedload of boulders, cobble or gravel. Channel type is variable, ranging from high-gradient reaches that support the association as stringers, to more extensive stands on sites with a developed floodplain. Soils typically have a seasonally high water table with mottling in the top 25 cm of the surface. These riparian shrublands are characterized by stands of medium-tall and tall deciduous shrubs and a thick herbaceous undergrowth of forbs and wetland-indicator grasses. Alnus incana clearly dominates the tall-shrub overstory with over 25% cover. Conifers, including Abies lasiocarpa, Picea engelmannii, and Pinus contorta, are sometimes present. A low-shrub layer is often present and may include Lonicera involucrata, Cornus sericea, and species of Ribes, Rosa, and Salix. Undisturbed stands have abundant forbs and native grasses. The undergrowth is characterized by a mixed forb cover of Angelica arguta, Heracleum maximum, Equisetum arvense, Mertensia spp., Aconitum columbianum, Senecio triangularis, and/or Maianthemum stellatum with over 100% cover in combination. Native graminoids include Cinna latifolia, Carex simulata, Glyceria striata, and Elymus glaucus. Stands disturbed by season-long livestock grazing have reduced forb cover and increased non-native grasses, including Poa pratensis and Agrostis stolonifera. Large stands (>100 square meters), with the native herbaceous undergrowth intact are uncommon.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association was originally ranked G3G4 due to uncertainty about the taxonomy of the association across state lines. The Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Wet Shrubland (CEGL001147) has been described in a number of classifications. Stands considered synonymous include those described in Nevada (Manning and Padgett 1995), Colorado (Kittel et al. 1999a), and Utah and southeastern Idaho (Padgett et al. 1989). Kovalchik's (1993) Washington Alnus incana / Mesic forbs stands have shrub and tree composition similar to Idaho, Utah, and Nevada stands. The understory of Kovalchik's stands are somewhat distinct, however, with Cinna latifolia, Streptopus amplexifolius, and Athyrium spp. having high constancy. Kovalchik's stands are more appropriately treated as other associations. Where stands are codominated by Alnus incana and other shrubs such as Salix spp., there is inconsistency in the classifications as to which is considered the diagnostic species. Hansen et al. (1995) treat all stands with Alnus incana as the dominant shrub as the Alnus incana dominance type.

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
CEGL001148 Alnus incana / Mesic Graminoids 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 / Mesic Forbs Shrubland Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Shrubland Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002
Oregon Alnus incana / Mesic Forb Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004
Wyoming Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Shrubland Equivalent Certain WNDD unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana - Ribes spp. / Mesic Forb
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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 / Heracleum maximum association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Odion, D. C., D. A. DiPaolo, L. C. Groshong, D. A. Sarr, and S. Mohren. 2013. Vegetation Inventory Project: Oregon Caves National Monument and proposed expansion area. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/ORCA/NRTR--2013/782. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 272 pp.
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana / Ribes hudsonianum Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985a. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 78 pp.
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana / Mesic Forb Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs 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 ssp. tenuifolia / Mesic Forb Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.
Related Concept Name: Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia/Mesic forb
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Gray Alder / Mesic Forbs Shrubland (Alnus incana / Mesic Forbs Shrubland)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bell, J., D. Cogan, J. Erixson, and J. Von Loh. 2009. Vegetation inventory project report, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/UCBN/NRTR-2009/277. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 358 pp.
Related Concept Name: Thinleaf alder/Mesic Forbs (Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia/Mesic Forbs) Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

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 (16Oct2000)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association has a wide range, but stands of this riparian shrubland association are restricted to small patches less than 10 acres in size. High-quality examples of this association without non-native species are uncommon as most stands are within watersheds with numerous threats including livestock grazing, logging, recreational activities, hydrologic modifications, and road building. Recent classification work in Washington and Oregon indicates that this association does not occur in those states. The rank is changed from G3G4 to G3 as the range of the association is not as widespread as it was originally considered.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: The plant association is known from Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Division
Province Name: Great Plains-Palouse Dry Steppe Province
Province Code: 331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Arkansas Tablelands Section
Section Code: 331I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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: Confident or certain
Section Name: Snake River Basalts Section
Section Code: 342D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Division Name: Mediterranean Regime Mountains
Province Name: Sierran Steppe - Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M261 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Klamath Mountains Section
Section Code: M261A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern California Coast Ranges Section
Section Code: M261B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern California Interior Coast Ranges Section
Section Code: M261C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cascades Section
Section Code: M261D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Sierra Nevada Section
Section Code: M261E 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
Section Name: Southern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331F Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: South-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: North-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331I 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: 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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: These riparian shrublands are characterized by stands of medium-tall and tall deciduous shrubs and a thick herbaceous undergrowth of forbs and wetland-indicator grasses. Alnus incana clearly dominates the tall-shrub overstory with over 25% cover. Conifers, including Abies lasiocarpa, Picea engelmannii, and Pinus contorta, are sometimes present. A somewhat sparse low-shrub layer is often present and may include Lonicera involucrata, Cornus sericea, and species of Ribes, Rosa, and Salix. Undisturbed stands have abundant forbs and native grasses. The undergrowth is characterized by a mixed forb cover of Angelica arguta, Heracleum maximum (= Heracleum lanatum), Osmorhiza berteroi, Senecio triangularis, Galium triflorum, Polemonium sp., Rudbeckia occidentalis, Equisetum arvense, Mertensia spp., Aconitum columbianum, and/or Maianthemum stellatum with over 100% cover in combination. Graminoids are often present and include Cinna latifolia, Elymus glaucus, Glyceria striata, Bromus inermis, Calamagrostis canadensis, and Poa pratensis. Stands disturbed by season-long livestock grazing have reduced forb cover and increased non-native grasses, including Poa pratensis and Agrostis stolonifera. Large stands (>100 m2), with the native herbaceous undergrowth intact are uncommon.

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
 
 
Galium triflorum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Osmorhiza berteroi G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Rudbeckia occidentalis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Senecio triangularis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Equisetum arvense G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Agrostis stolonifera G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Bromus inermis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Calamagrostis canadensis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus glaucus G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Glyceria striata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Poa pratensis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs at elevations of 1710 to 2805 m (5600-9200 feet). Stands occur on streambanks in narrow valleys and on moist terraces and floodplains adjacent to streams with a bedload of boulders, cobble or gravel. Channel type is variable, ranging from high-gradient reaches that support the association as stringers, to more extensive stands on sites with a developed floodplain. Soils are sandy-skeletal to loamy-skeletal, often with greater than 50% coarse fragments. Soils typically have a seasonally high water table with mottling in the top 25 cm of the surface.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones
Element Description Edition Date: 11Aug2005
Element Description Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Oct2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Jankovsky-Jones

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


References
  • Bell, J., D. Cogan, J. Erixson, and J. Von Loh. 2009. Vegetation inventory project report, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/UCBN/NRTR-2009/277. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 358 pp.

  • 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.

  • CNHP [Colorado Natural Heritage Program]. 2006-2017. Tracked natural plant communities. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. [https://cnhp.colostate.edu/ourdata/trackinglist/plant_communities/]

  • Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

  • 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, D. J., and T. R. Cottrell. 1990. Classification of riparian vegetation in the northern Colorado Front Range. Unpublished report prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Field Office, Boulder. 115 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.

  • Erixson, J., D. Cogan, and J. Von Loh. 2011b. Vegetation inventory project report: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Natural Resource Report NPS/UCBN/NRR--2011/434 National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • 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]. 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).

  • 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. 1992b. Wyoming plant community classification (Draft). Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 183 pp.

  • 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.

  • Kettler, S., and A. McMullen. 1996. Routt National Forest riparian vegetation classification. Report prepared for Routt National Forest by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Kittel, G. M., and N. D. Lederer. 1993. A preliminary classification of the riparian vegetation of the Yampa and San Miguel/Dolores river basins. Unpublished report prepared for Colorado Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency by The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Field Office, Boulder.

  • Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.

  • Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Kittel, G., R. Rondeau, N. Lederer, and D. Randolph. 1994. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the White and Colorado River basins, Colorado. Final report submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Boulder. 166 pp.

  • Kittel, G., R. Rondeau, and A. McMullen. 1996. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the Lower South Platte and parts of the Upper Arkansas River basins, Colorado. Submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII. Prepared by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins. 243 pp.

  • Kittel, G., R. Rondeau, and S. Kettler. 1995. A classification of the riparian vegetation of the Gunnison River Basin, Colorado. Submitted to Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. Prepared by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins. 114 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.

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

  • Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.

  • Odion, D. C., D. A. DiPaolo, L. C. Groshong, D. A. Sarr, and S. Mohren. 2013. Vegetation Inventory Project: Oregon Caves National Monument and proposed expansion area. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/ORCA/NRTR--2013/782. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 272 pp.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1988b. Riparian community type classification of Utah. Publication R4-ECOL-88-01. USDA Forest Service, Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • WNDD [Wyoming Natural Diversity Database]. No date. Unpublished data on file. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • 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.

  • Young, J. F. 1982. Soil survey of Teton County, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park Area. USDA Soil Conservation Service and Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. 173 pp.

  • Youngblood, A. P., W. G. Padgett, and A. H. Winward. 1985a. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT. 78 pp.


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