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Classification
Scientific Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Montane-Foothill Deciduous Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CES306.994
Classification Confidence: 3 - Weak

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Summary: This shrubland ecological system is found in the lower montane and foothill regions around the Columbia Basin, and north and east into the northern Rockies, including Alberta and British Columbia. These shrublands typically occur below treeline, within the matrix of surrounding low-elevation grasslands and sagebrush shrublands. They also occur in the ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir zones, but rarely up into the subalpine zone (on dry sites). The shrublands are usually found on steep slopes of canyons and in areas with some soil development, either loess deposits or volcanic clays; they occur on all aspects. Fire, flooding and erosion all impact these shrublands, but they typically will persist on sites for long periods. These communities develop near talus slopes as garlands, at the heads of dry drainages, and toeslopes in the moist shrub-steppe and steppe zones. Physocarpus malvaceus, Prunus emarginata, Prunus virginiana, Rosa spp., Rhus glabra, Acer glabrum, Amelanchier alnifolia, Symphoricarpos albus, Symphoricarpos oreophilus, and Holodiscus discolor are the most common dominant shrubs, occurring alone or any combination. In the Alberta's Upper and Lower Foothills subregions, common shrubs include Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Juniperus communis, Symphoricarpos spp., Amelanchier alnifolia, and Rosa spp. Rubus parviflorus and Ceanothus velutinus are other important shrubs in this system, being more common in montane occurrences than in subalpine situations. Occurrences in central and eastern Wyoming can include Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana and Cercocarpus montanus, but neither of these are dominant, and where they occur, the stands are truly mixes of shrubs, often with Amelanchier alnifolia, Prunus virginiana, and others being the predominant taxa. In moist areas, Crataegus douglasii can be common. Shepherdia canadensis and Spiraea betulifolia can be abundant in some cases but also occur in Northern Rocky Mountain Subalpine Deciduous Shrubland (CES306.961). Festuca idahoensis, Festuca campestris, Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Koeleria macrantha, Pseudoroegneria spicata, and Poa secunda are the most important grasses. Achnatherum thurberianum and Leymus cinereus can be locally important. Poa pratensis and Phleum pratense are common introduced grasses. Geum triflorum, Potentilla gracilis, Lomatium triternatum, Balsamorhiza sagittata, and species of Eriogonum, Phlox, and Erigeron are important forbs.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Seral shrub fields of comparable composition that typically will develop into a seral stage with trees (within 50 years) are excluded from this shrub system and are included in their appropriate forest system.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES303.662 Northwestern Great Plains Shrubland
CES306.822 Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Shrubland
CES306.961 Northern Rocky Mountain Subalpine Deciduous Shrubland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL001095 Crataegus douglasii / Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001108 Prunus virginiana - (Prunus americana) Wet Shrubland
CEGL001122 Rhus glabra / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrub Grassland
CEGL001126 Rosa woodsii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001129 Spiraea douglasii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001130 Symphoricarpos albus - Rosa nutkana Shrubland
CEGL001132 Rhamnus alnifolia Riparian Wet Shrubland
CEGL001171 Physocarpus malvaceus - Symphoricarpos albus Shrubland
CEGL001507 Rhus glabra / Aristida purpurea var. longiseta Shrub Grassland
CEGL005835 Spiraea betulifolia Shrubland
CEGL005885 Amelanchier alnifolia / (Mixed Grass, Forb) Shrubland
CEGL005890 Symphoricarpos albus Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Shrubland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Lowland Foothill
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Very Shallow Soil  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Shrub  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Sideslope  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Ustic  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer glabrum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Amelanchier alnifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Holodiscus discolor G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Physocarpus malvaceus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Prunus emarginata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Prunus virginiana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhus glabra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Symphoricarpos albus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Symphoricarpos oreophilus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rosa woodsii G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Balsamorhiza sagittata G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Monarda fistulosa G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: ID, MT, OR, WA, WY
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: AB, BC
Global Range: This system is found in the lower montane and foothill regions around the Columbia Basin, and north and east into the northern Rockies, including east into central Montana around the "Sky Island" ranges. It also occurs farther south into central and eastern Wyoming, where it forms compositionally diverse shrublands.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
304-Inter-Mountain Basins C: Confident or certain
306-Rocky Mountain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
68 Okanagan Confident or certain
7 Canadian Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
8 Middle Rockies - Blue Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
16 Utah High Plateaus Possible
17 Eastern Great Basin Possible
18 Snake River Plain Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Confident or certain
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5312
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1106
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2106

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 30Mar2010
Element Description Author(s): M.S. Reid, J. Kagan, R. Crawford

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


References
  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Ecosystems Working Group. 1998. Standards for broad terrestrial ecosystem classification and mapping for British Columbia. Prepared by the Ecosystems Working Group, Terrestrial Ecosystem Task Force, Resources Inventory Committee, for the Province of British Columbia. 174 pp. plus appendices. [http://srmwww.gov.bc.ca/risc/pubs/teecolo/tem/indextem.htm]

  • Franklin, J. F., and C. T. Dyrness. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. General Technical Report PNW-8. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, OR. 417 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.

  • 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.

  • Knight, D. H. 1994. Mountains and plains: Ecology of Wyoming landscapes. Yale University Press, New Haven, MA. 338 pp.

  • Lane, C. T., M. G. Willoughby, and M. A. Alexander. 2000. Range plant community types and carrying capacities for the Lower Foothills subregion of Alberta: Third approximation. Publication No. T/532. Alberta Environment, Land and Forest Service.

  • Poulton, C. E. 1955. Ecology of the non-forested vegetation in Umatilla and Morrow counties, Oregon. Unpublished dissertation. State College of Washington, Pullman. 166 pp.

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Tisdale, E. W. 1986. Canyon grasslands and associated shrublands of west-central Idaho and adjacent areas. Bulletin No. 40. Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, University of Idaho, Moscow. 42 pp.

  • Willoughby, M. G. 2007. Range plant communities and carrying capacity for the Upper Foothills subregion: Sixth Approximation (a revision of the fourth and fifth approximations: Publication Nos. T/003 and T/068). Publication No. T/138. Sustainable Resource Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Edmonton. 182 pp. ISBN:978-0-7785-6484 [online edition].


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