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Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus / Elymus glaucus Woodland
Translated Name: Quaking Aspen / Common Snowberry / Blue Wildrye Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL000946
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This variable woodland association has only been described from the Ochoco Mountains in central Oregon. The association occurs at elevations between 1100 and 1770 m (3600-5800 feet). Sites are considered transitional between true riparian and upland and are usually flat to slightly concave. Soils are derived from alluvium, ash deposited on colluvium, or mixtures of both. They are near water sources such as streams, springs, or wet meadows. Surface horizons range from fine sandy loams to clay loams. Populus tremuloides cover ranges between 38 and 83%. Pinus ponderosa may also occur in the upper canopy but is less than 40% cover. The shrub layer is dominated by Symphoricarpos albus which covers 7-70%. Other shrubs are markedly absent. Elymus glaucus and less commonly, Poa pratensis, may each reach 25% cover. Forbs usually associated with this community include Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis, Osmorhiza spp., Aquilegia formosa, Galium boreale, Galium mexicanum ssp. asperrimum, and Maianthemum stellatum.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus has been described from a number of other areas. This type, with Elymus glaucus as the characteristic understory dominant, appears to be restricted to central Oregon, where Populus tremuloides is not very abundant. It is possible this type is just a variant or phase of the more widespread type.

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 Rocky Mountain Subalpine-High Montane Forest
Group Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Aspen Forest & Woodland
Alliance Rocky Mountain Aspen Forest & Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL000609 Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Populus tremuloides / Bromus carinatus Community Type
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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.
Related Concept Name: Populus tremuloides / Elymus glaucus 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: Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus / Elymus glaucus
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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
CES306.813 Rocky Mountain Aspen Forest and Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (29Mar1999)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This type is restricted to the Ochoco Mountains and southern Blue Mountains of central Oregon, in Crook and Grant counties. This type is still found in a number of occurrences, although it is expected to decline in area due to fire suppression. Aspen readily sprout after fire. Increased ORV use should also be a concern because of damage to understory and vandalism to trees. Once bark is damaged, black fungus readily invades and decreases tree vigor. This is common wherever human access is significant. Grazing has been the major threat, destroying the native understory and leading to the dominance of non-native grasses and forbs.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: OR
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type is restricted to the Ochoco Mountains and southern Blue Mountains of central Oregon, in Crook and Grant counties.

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: 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: Populus tremuloides is the dominant tree. In Oregon, many sampled plots appear to be on meadow invasion sites and show little evidence that Populus tremuloides is successional to conifers. Some stands are successional to Pinus contorta. Shrubs and sedges are scarce, although degraded stands of Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus Forest (CEGL000609) might appear to belong in this community type. The shrub layer is dominated by Symphoricarpos albus which covers 7-70%. Elymus glaucus dominates the herbaceous layer in natural occurrences. Bromus carinatus is also abundant on many sites. Common forbs include Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (= Achillea lanulosa), ., Aquilegia formosa, Galium boreale, Galium mexicanum ssp. asperrimum (= Galium asperrimum), Geum macrophyllum, Maianthemum stellatum, Osmorhiza berteroi, Perideridia gairdneri, Ranunculus uncinatus, Veratrum californicum, Taraxacum officinale, and Ligusticum grayi.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Populus tremuloides G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Symphoricarpos albus G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Bromus carinatus G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus glaucus G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association is common in the East Cascades ecoregion and in the western Blue Mountains ecoregion. Stands are usually found on the margins of well-drained basins but also occur on floodplains and toeslopes. This association tends to occur above the elevational limits of Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos albus Forest (CEGL000609). Microtopography is flat to concave. Soils are variably of alluvium and/or colluvium. Surface horizons are uniformly fine-textured, ranging from fine sandy loam to clay loam. Available water capacity is moderately high to high. Water tables are within 25 cm of the soil surface in May and June and lower to more than 90 cm below the soil surface by mid July. Decomposition of aspen leaves improves soil fertility with increased nitrogen and organic matter.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: With overuse by livestock, the aspen overstory is still well-stocked with aspen but aspen suckers become limited. Poa pratensis, other grasses, and forbs become codominant with Elymus glaucus. Veratrum californicum may become dominant on highly disturbed stands. With continued overuse, the aspen overstory becomes poorly stocked and overmature. Aspen suckers are absent or severely hedged; Elymus glaucus. is uncommon or absent and Poa pratensis is codominant or subordinant to forbs. Eventually aspen may be completely eliminated, converting the site to herbaceous meadows dominated by forbs such as Veratrum californicum, Osmorhiza berteroi, Maianthemum stellatum, Urtica dioica, Ranunculus uncinatus, Trifolium longipes, Thalictrum occidentale, and Galium spp. The suppression of fire has contributed to the conversion of aspen stands to lodgepole pine or herbaceous meadows. Fire can be an important tool for stimulating aspen suckers and rejuvenating deteriorated aspen stands but may need to be used in concert with protection from beaver.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Murray
Element Description Edition Date: 28Jun2006
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Murray
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Mar1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.P. Murray

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.

  • 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]

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Padgett, W. G. 1982. Ecology of riparian plant communities in southern Malheur National Forest. Unpublished thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis. 143 pp.

  • Weixelman, D. A., D. C. Zamudio, and K. A. Zamudio. 1999. Eastern Sierra Nevada riparian field guide. USDA Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Sparks, NV. 92 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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