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Classification
Scientific Name: North Pacific Avalanche Chute Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CES204.854
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This tall shrubland system occurs throughout mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest, from the southern Cascades and Coast Ranges north into the mountains of British Columbia. This system occurs on sideslopes of mountains on glacial till or colluvium. These habitats range from moderately xeric to wet and occur on snow avalanche chutes at montane elevations. In the mountains of Washington, talus sites and snow avalanche chutes very often coincide spatially. On the west side of the Cascades, the major dominant species are Acer circinatum, Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, Rubus parviflorus, and small trees, especially Callitropsis nootkatensis. Forbs, grasses, or other shrubs can also be locally dominant. Prunus virginiana, Amelanchier alnifolia, Vaccinium membranaceum or Vaccinium scoparium, and Fragaria spp. are common species on drier avalanche tracks on the east side of the Cascades. The main feature of this system is that it occurs on steep, frequently disturbed (snow avalanches) slopes. Avalanche chutes can be quite long, extending from the subalpine into the montane and foothill toeslopes.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Avalanche slopes in the Cascades and mountains of southern British Columbia are probably drier than those found further north in Alaska, where the precipitation regime does not have a seasonal component to it. Hence, these have been split into two different systems. Exactly where they transition from one to another is yet to be determined.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES204.162 Alaskan Pacific Maritime Avalanche Slope Shrubland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000349 Callitropsis nootkatensis / Oplopanax horridus Swamp Forest
CEGL001155 Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata / Acer circinatum Shrub Swamp



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 Montane
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Avalanche  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Upper Montane
Montane Lower Montane
Temperate Temperate Continental

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Acer circinatum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata T5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rubus parviflorus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Chamerion angustifolium ssp. angustifolium T5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Umbilicaria angulata G4 Lichen Nonvascular      
 
 


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: OR, WA
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: BC
Global Range: This system occurs throughout mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest, from the southern Cascades and Coast Ranges north to the mountains of British Columbia.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
204-North American Pacific Maritime C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Pacific Northwest Coast Confident or certain
3 North Cascades Confident or certain
4 Modoc Plateau and East Cascades Confident or certain
69 S.E. Alaska - B.C. Coastal Forest and Mountains Confident or certain
81 West Cascades Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
2 Oregon Coastal Range Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Possible
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5260
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1083
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2083

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 08Dec2008
Element Description Author(s): K. Boggs, G. Kittel, C. Chappell and M.S. Reid

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


References
  • Banner, A., W. MacKenzie, S. Haeussler, S. Thomson, J. Pojar, and R. Trowbridge. 1993. A field guide to site identification and interpretation for the Prince Rupert Forest Region. Ministry of Forests Research Program. Victoria, BC. Parts 1 and 2. Land Management Handbook Number 26.

  • 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.

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2018. Unpublished data files. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.


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