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Classification
Scientific Name: Mediterranean California Red Fir Forest
Unique Identifier: CES206.913
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system includes high-elevation (1600-2700 m [4850-9000 feet]) forests and woodlands dominated by Abies magnifica var. magnifica, Abies magnifica var. shastensis, and/or Abies procera. This system is typically found on deep, well-drained soils throughout this elevation zone from the central Sierra Nevada north and west into southern Oregon. Heavy snowpack is a major source of soil moisture throughout the growing season. The limiting factors can be either cold-air drainages or ponding, or coarser soils (pumice versus ash, for example). Other conifers that can occur in varying mixtures with Abies magnifica include Pinus contorta var. murrayana, Pinus monticola, Tsuga mertensiana, Pinus jeffreyi, and Abies lowiana. At warmer and lower sites of the North Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada, Abies lowiana can codominate with Abies magnifica. Pinus contorta in Oregon indicates lower productivity where it intergrades with Abies magnifica var. shastensis. This system ranges from dry to moist, and some sites have mesic indicator species, such as Ligusticum grayi or Thalictrum fendleri. Common understory species include Quercus vacciniifolia, Ribes viscosissimum, Chrysolepis sempervirens, Ceanothus cordulatus (in seral stands), Vaccinium membranaceum, Symphoricarpos mollis, and Symphoricarpos rotundifolius. Characteristic forbs include Eucephalus breweri, Pedicularis semibarbata, and Hieracium albiflorum. This system commonly occurs above mixed conifer forests with Abies lowiana and overlaps in elevation with forests and woodlands of Pinus contorta var. murrayana. On volcanic sites of lower productivity, stands may be more open woodland in structure and with poor-site understory species such as Wyethia mollis. Driving ecological processes include occasional blowdown, insect outbreaks and stand-replacing fire.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000032 Abies lowiana - Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Rosa gymnocarpa Forest
CEGL000033 (Abies lowiana) - Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Symphoricarpos mollis Forest
CEGL000034 Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Quercus sadleriana Forest
CEGL000035 Abies magnifica var. shastensis - Tsuga mertensiana / Arctostaphylos nevadensis Forest
CEGL000036 Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Polemonium pulcherrimum Forest
CEGL000037 Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Vaccinium membranaceum / Chimaphila umbellata Forest
CEGL000050 Abies lowiana - Picea breweriana / Chimaphila umbellata Forest
CEGL000348 Abies magnifica var. shastensis / Carex inops ssp. inops Forest
CEGL008609 Abies magnifica / Sparse Understory Forest
CEGL008610 Abies magnifica / Wyethia mollis Forest
CEGL008611 Abies magnifica / Arctostaphylos nevadensis Forest
CEGL008612 Abies magnifica - Pinus contorta var. murrayana / Hieracium albiflorum Forest
CEGL008613 Abies magnifica - Pinus monticola Forest
CEGL008614 Abies magnifica - Pinus monticola / Chrysolepis sempervirens Forest
CEGL008615 Abies magnifica - Pinus monticola / Arctostaphylos nevadensis Forest
CEGL008616 Abies magnifica - Pinus monticola - Pinus contorta var. murrayana Forest
CEGL008681 Abies magnifica - Abies lowiana / Sparse Understory Forest
CEGL008682 Abies magnifica - Abies lowiana - Pinus jeffreyi Sierran Montane Chaparral Forest
CEGL008683 Abies magnifica - Abies lowiana - Pinus lambertiana / Sparse Understory Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Forest and Woodland
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 Upper Montane
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Mediterranean Mediterranean Pluviseasonal-Oceanic
Deep Soil  
Ustic  
Long Disturbance Interval  
Abies magnifica (= var. magnifica)  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Sideslope  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Sand Soil Texture  
F-Patch/High Intensity  
W-Patch/High Intensity  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Cardamine pattersonii
  (Saddle Mountain Bittercress)
G2  
Elaphomyces subviscidus
  (a fungus)
G2G3  
Erythronium elegans
  (Coast Range Fawnlily)
G2  
Hygrophorus caeruleus
  (a fungus)
G3  
Phaeocollybia gregaria
  (a fungus)
G1G2  
Pterostichus rothi
  (Blind Carabid Beetle)
G2?  
Ramaria rubribrunnescens
  (a fungus)
G2G3  
Rubroboletus pulcherrimus
  (Red-pored Bolete)
G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies concolor var. lowiana T5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies magnifica G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Abies procera G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies x shastensis GNA Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus contorta var. murrayana T4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus jeffreyi G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus monticola G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Tsuga mertensiana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Cardamine pattersonii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Erythronium elegans G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Elaphomyces subviscidus G2 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 
Hygrophorus caeruleus G3 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 
Phaeocollybia gregaria G1 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 
Ramaria rubribrunnescens G2 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 
Rubroboletus pulcherrimus G3 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Catharus guttatus
  (Hermit Thrush)
G5      
Dendragapus obscurus
  (Dusky Grouse)
G5      
Glaucomys oregonensis
  (Humboldt's Flying Squirrel)
G5      
Haemorhous cassinii
  (Cassin's Finch)
G5      
Martes caurina
  (Pacific Marten)
G4G5      
Mustela erminea
  (Ermine)
G5      
Passerella iliaca
  (Fox Sparrow)
G5      
Pterostichus rothi
  (Blind Carabid Beetle)
G2?      
Tamiasciurus douglasii
  (Douglas' Squirrel)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, NV, OR
Global Range: This system is typically found on deep, well-drained soils throughout the high-elevation zone (1600-2700 m [4850-8200 feet]) from the central Sierra Nevada north and west into southern Oregon.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
206-Mediterranean California C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
12 Sierra Nevada Confident or certain
5 Klamath Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
2 Oregon Coastal Range Confident or certain
3 Northern California Coastal Range Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Possible

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4219
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1032
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2032

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 12Jan2012
Element Description Author(s): P. Comer, T. Keeler-Wolf, 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
  • Agee, J. K. 1993. Fire ecology of Pacific Northwest forests. Island Press, Washington, DC. 493 pp.

  • Barbour, M. G., and J. Major, editors. 1988. Terrestrial vegetation of California: New expanded edition. California Native Plant Society, Special Publication 9, Sacramento. 1030 pp.

  • Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. 2000. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.

  • Bekker, M. F., and A. H. Taylor. 2001. Gradient analysis of fire regimes in montane forests of the southern Cascade Range, Thousand Lakes Wilderness, California, USA. Plant Ecology 155:15-28.

  • Chappell, C. B., and J. K. Agee. 1996. Fire severity and tree seedling establishment in Abies magnifica forest, southern Cascades, Oregon. Ecological Applications 6(2):628-640.

  • 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.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Holland, V. L., and D. J. Keil. 1995. California vegetation. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, IA. 516 pp.

  • Pitcher, D. C. 1987. Fire history and age structure in red fir forests of Sequoia National Park, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research17:582-587.

  • Sawyer, J. O., and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A manual of California vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 471 pp.

  • Skinner, C. N. 2000. Fire history of upper montane and subalpine glacial basins in the Klamath Mountains of Northern California. In: Proceedings of Fire Conference 2000. Miscellaneous Publication No. 13. Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL.

  • Taylor, A. H. 1993. Fire history and structure of red fir (Abies magnifica) forests, Swain Mountain Experimental Forest, Cascade Range, northeastern California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23:1672-1678.

  • Taylor, A. H., and C. B. Halpern. 1991. The structure and dynamics of Abies magnifica forests in the southern Cascade Range, USA. Journal of Vegetation Science 2:189-200.

  • Taylor, A. H., and M. N. Solem. 2001. Fire regimes and stand dynamics in an upper montane forest landscape in the southern Cascades, Caribou Wilderness, California. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128:350-361.


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