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Classification
Scientific Name: Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine Forest
Unique Identifier: CES306.820
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system is widespread in upper montane to subalpine elevations of the Rocky Mountains, Intermountain West region, north into the Canadian Rockies and east into mountain "islands" of north-central Montana. These are subalpine forests where the dominance of Pinus contorta is related to fire history and topo-edaphic conditions. Following stand-replacing fires, Pinus contorta will rapidly colonize and develop into dense, even-aged stands. Most forests in this ecological system occur as early- to mid-successional forests which developed following fires. This system includes Pinus contorta-dominated stands that, while typically persistent for >100-year time frames, may succeed to spruce-fir; in the southern and central Rocky Mountains it is seral to Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland (CES306.828). More northern occurrences are seral to Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic-Wet Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland (CES306.830). Soils supporting these forests are typically well-drained, gravelly, coarse-textured, acidic, and rarely formed from calcareous parent materials. These forests are dominated by Pinus contorta with shrub, grass, or barren understories. Sometimes there are intermingled mixed conifer/Populus tremuloides stands, with the latter occurring with inclusions of deeper, typically fine-textured soils. The shrub stratum may be conspicuous to absent; common species include Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Ceanothus velutinus, Linnaea borealis, Mahonia repens, Menziesia ferruginea (in northern occurrences), Purshia tridentata, Rhododendron albiflorum (in northern occurrences), Spiraea betulifolia, Spiraea douglasii, Shepherdia canadensis, Vaccinium caespitosum, Vaccinium scoparium, Vaccinium membranaceum, Symphoricarpos albus, and Ribes spp. In southern interior British Columbia, this system is usually an open lodgepole pine forest found extensively between 500 and 1600 m elevation in the Columbia Range. In the Interior Cedar Hemlock and Interior Douglas-fir zones, Tsuga heterophylla or Pseudotsuga menziesii may be present. In Alberta, species composition indicates the transition to more boreal floristics, including such species as Empetrum nigrum, Ledum groenlandicum, Leymus innovatus, and more abundant lichens or mosses such as Cladina spp., Hylocomium splendens, and Pleurozium schreberi.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES306.828 Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
CES306.830 Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic-Wet Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000135 Pinus contorta / Arnica cordifolia Forest
CEGL000141 Pinus contorta / Carex geyeri Forest
CEGL000145 Pinus contorta / Ceanothus velutinus Forest
CEGL000153 Pinus contorta / Linnaea borealis Forest
CEGL000155 Pinus contorta / Osmorhiza berteroi Forest
CEGL000156 Pinus contorta / Pedicularis racemosa Forest
CEGL000163 Pinus contorta / Shepherdia canadensis Forest
CEGL000164 Pinus contorta / Spiraea betulifolia Forest
CEGL000166 Pinus contorta / Symphoricarpos albus Forest
CEGL000167 Pinus contorta / Thalictrum occidentale Forest
CEGL000168 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium caespitosum Forest
CEGL000169 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium membranaceum Rocky Mountain Forest
CEGL000170 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium membranaceum Forest
CEGL000172 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium scoparium Forest
CEGL000173 Pinus contorta var. latifolia / Vaccinium scoparium / Carex inops ssp. inops Forest
CEGL000174 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium scoparium / Calamagrostis rubescens Forest
CEGL000175 Pinus contorta / Xerophyllum tenax Forest
CEGL002167 Ceanothus velutinus Shrubland
CEGL002604 Pinus contorta / Spiraea douglasii Forest
CEGL005856 Chamerion angustifolium Rocky Mountain Meadow
CEGL005913 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium membranaceum / Xerophyllum tenax Forest
CEGL005915 Pinus contorta / Heracleum maximum Woodland
CEGL005916 Pinus contorta / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL005921 Pinus contorta / Clintonia uniflora - Xerophyllum tenax Woodland
CEGL005922 Pinus contorta / Menziesia ferruginea / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL005923 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium caespitosum / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL005924 Pinus contorta / Vaccinium scoparium / Xerophyllum tenax Forest
CEGL005928 Pinus contorta / Menziesia ferruginea Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Forest and Woodland
Spatial Pattern: Matrix
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Acidic Soil  
Very Shallow Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Ustic  
Long Disturbance Interval  
F-Patch/High Intensity Seasonality/Fall Fire
F-Landscape/High Intensity  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
Pinus contorta  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Upper Montane
Montane Montane
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Sideslope  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Temperate Temperate Continental

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Botrychium paradoxum
  (Peculiar Moonwort)
G3G4  
Deroceras hesperium
  (Evening Fieldslug)
G2Q  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus contorta G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Spiraea betulifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium membranaceum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium scoparium G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Arnica cordifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Xerophyllum tenax G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Botrychium paradoxum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Calamagrostis rubescens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Deroceras hesperium
  (Evening Fieldslug)
G2Q      
Myodes gapperi
  (Southern Red-backed Vole)
G5      
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
  (Red Squirrel)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: AB, BC
Global Range: This system occurs at upper montane to subalpine elevations of the Rocky Mountains, Intermountain West region, north into the Canadian Rockies, and east onto mountain "islands" of north-central Montana. In Washington, this system occurs mostly on the east side of the Cascade Crest. In Oregon, this system only occurs in the Blue Mountains; all Oregon Cascades lodgepole pine forests are included in other systems.

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
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
20 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
68 Okanagan Confident or certain
7 Canadian Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
8 Middle Rockies - Blue Mountains Confident or certain
9 Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Reported but false
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Possible
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
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
23 Colorado Plateau Possible
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain
33 Western Great Plains Possible

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4237
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1050
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2050

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

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