NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
 
Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Classification
Scientific Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Dry-Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest
Unique Identifier: CES306.805
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

Search for Images on Google
Summary: This ecological system is composed of highly variable montane coniferous forests found in the interior Pacific Northwest, from southernmost interior British Columbia, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northern Idaho, western and north-central Montana, and south along the east slope of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon. In central Montana it occurs on mountain islands (the Snowy Mountains). This system is associated with a submesic climate regime with annual precipitation ranging from 50 to 100 cm, with a maximum in winter or late spring. Winter snowpacks typically melt off in early spring at lower elevations. Elevations range from 460 to 1920 m. Most occurrences of this system are dominated by a mix of Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pinus ponderosa (but there can be one without the other) and other typically seral species, including Pinus contorta, Pinus monticola (not in central Montana), and Larix occidentalis (not in central Montana). Picea engelmannii (or Picea glauca or their hybrid) becomes increasingly common towards the eastern edge of the range. The nature of this forest system is a matrix of large patches dominated or codominated by one or combinations of the above species; Abies grandis (a fire-sensitive, shade-tolerant species not occurring in central Montana) has increased on many sites once dominated by Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pinus ponderosa, which were formerly maintained by low-severity wildfire. Presettlement fire regimes may have been characterized by frequent, low-intensity surface fires that maintained relatively open stands of a mix of fire-resistant species. Under present conditions the fire regime is mixed severity and more variable, with stand-replacing fires more common, and the forests are more homogeneous. With vigorous fire suppression, longer fire-return intervals are now the rule, and multi-layered stands of Pseudotsuga menziesii, Pinus ponderosa, and/or Abies grandis provide fuel "ladders," making these forests more susceptible to high-intensity, stand-replacing fires. They are very productive forests which have been priorities for timber production. They rarely form either upper or lower timberline forests. Understories are dominated by graminoids, such as Pseudoroegneria spicata, Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, and Carex rossii, that may be associated with a variety of shrubs, such as Acer glabrum, Juniperus communis, Physocarpus malvaceus, Symphoricarpos albus, Spiraea betulifolia, or Vaccinium membranaceum on mesic sites. Abies concolor and Abies grandis x concolor hybrids in central Idaho (the Salmon Mountains) are included here but have very restricted range in this area. Abies concolor and Abies grandis in the Blue Mountains of Oregon are probably hybrids of the two and mostly Abies grandis.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Need to re-assess the concept of this system in relation to Northern Rocky Mountain Western Larch Savanna (CES306.837) and East Cascades Mesic Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest and Woodland (CES204.086). In PNV (PAGs) concept, this is mostly Pseudotsuga menziesii, moist Pinus ponderosa series, dry Abies grandis or warm, dry Abies lasiocarpa series in the Canadian Rockies, northern Middle Rockies, East Cascades and Okanagan ecoregions. Everett et al. (2000) indicate that in the eastern Cascades of Washington this system forms fire polygons due to abrupt north and south topography with presettlement fire-return intervals of 11-12 years typically covering less than 810 ha. Currently, fires have 40- to 45-year return intervals with thousands of hectares in size. Northern Rocky Mountain Western Larch Savanna (CES306.837) is a large-patch type that occurs typically within this matrix or Northern Rocky Mountain Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest (CES306.802) matrix. We need to define the percent cover of larch over 50% or over 75% relative cover of all trees for an occurrence to be placed in Northern Rocky Mountain Western Larch Savanna (CES306.837). This needs to be relative because these look(ed) like ponderosa savanna in places. East Cascades Mesic Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest and Woodland (CES204.086) has North Pacific floristic composition, and is mostly east Cascades ecoregion, peripheral in Okanagan ecoregion, and west Cascades. PAGs most of the Abies grandis, dry western red-cedar and western hemlock in the east Cascades. Environmentally, it is equivalent to Northern Rocky Mountain Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest (CES306.802). Contrasting this system (CES306.805) with Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland (CES306.828) and Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic-Wet Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland (CES306.830) is important in the Middle Rockies ecoregion and Oregon.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES204.086 East Cascades Mesic Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest and Woodland
CES204.101 Sierran-Intermontane Desert Western White Pine-White Fir Woodland
CES306.828 Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
CES306.830 Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic-Wet Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
CES306.837 Northern Rocky Mountain Western Larch Savanna


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000176 Pinus monticola / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL000207 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. inermis Woodland
CEGL000208 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arctostaphylos nevadensis Woodland
CEGL000209 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arctostaphylos patula Woodland
CEGL000210 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Calamagrostis rubescens Woodland
CEGL000211 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Carex geyeri Forest
CEGL000212 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Penstemon fruticosus Woodland
CEGL000213 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Physocarpus malvaceus Forest
CEGL000214 Pinus ponderosa - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Purshia tridentata Woodland
CEGL000267 Abies grandis / Acer glabrum Forest
CEGL000275 Abies grandis / Linnaea borealis Forest
CEGL000277 Abies grandis / Physocarpus malvaceus Forest
CEGL000281 Abies grandis / Spiraea betulifolia Forest
CEGL000282 Abies grandis / Symphoricarpos albus Forest
CEGL000424 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Forest
CEGL000425 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Cascadian Forest
CEGL000426 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Purshia tridentata Forest
CEGL000427 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Arnica cordifolia Forest
CEGL000428 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Bromus ciliatus Forest
CEGL000429 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Calamagrostis rubescens Woodland
CEGL000430 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Carex geyeri Forest
CEGL000431 Abies concolor - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Carex rossii Forest
CEGL000434 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Festuca occidentalis Forest
CEGL000441 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Linnaea borealis Forest
CEGL000445 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Osmorhiza berteroi Forest
CEGL000446 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Paxistima myrsinites Forest
CEGL000448 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Physocarpus malvaceus - Linnaea borealis Forest
CEGL000458 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos albus / Hieracium cynoglossoides Forest
CEGL000461 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos occidentalis Forest
CEGL000462 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Forest
CEGL000464 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Vaccinium spp. Forest
CEGL000465 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Vaccinium caespitosum Forest
CEGL000915 Abies grandis / Arctostaphylos nevadensis Woodland
CEGL000916 Abies grandis / Calamagrostis rubescens Woodland
CEGL000917 Abies grandis / Carex geyeri Woodland
CEGL002601 Abies grandis / Bromus vulgaris Forest
CEGL005850 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL005851 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Menziesia ferruginea / Clintonia uniflora Forest
CEGL005852 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Vaccinium membranaceum / Xerophyllum tenax Forest
CEGL005853 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Heracleum maximum Forest
CEGL005854 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Clintonia uniflora - Xerophyllum tenax 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
Montane Montane
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Ustic  
Short Disturbance Interval  
F-Patch/Low Intensity  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
Abies grandis - Mixed  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Sideslope  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Mesotrophic Soil  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Botrychium ascendens
  (Upward-lobed Moonwort)
G3  
Chaenactis thompsonii
  (Thompson's Pincushion)
G3  
Delphinium viridescens
  (Wenatchee Larkspur)
G2  
Driloleirus americanus
  (Giant Palouse Earthworm)
G1  
Hackelia venusta
  (Showy Stickseed)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Oreohelix sp. 1
  (Chelan Mountainsnail)
G2  
Penstemon barrettiae
  (Barrett's Beardtongue)
G2  
Penstemon eriantherus var. whitedii
  (Crested-tongue Beardtongue)
G4G5T2  
Sidalcea oregana var. calva
  (Oregon Checker-mallow)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered
Silene seelyi
  (Seely's Silene)
G2G3  
Trifolium thompsonii
  (Thompson's Clover)
G3  
Valeriana columbiana
  (Wenatchee Valerian)
G2G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies grandis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus contorta G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus ponderosa G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pseudotsuga menziesii 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)    
 
 
Arnica cordifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Chaenactis thompsonii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Delphinium viridescens G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hackelia venusta G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon barrettiae G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon eriantherus var. whitedii T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Silene seelyi G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Trifolium thompsonii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Valeriana columbiana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Botrychium ascendens G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Calamagrostis rubescens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex geyeri G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex rossii G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pseudoroegneria spicata 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
Callospermophilus lateralis
  (Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel)
G5      
Driloleirus americanus
  (Giant Palouse Earthworm)
G1      
Erethizon dorsatum
  (North American Porcupine)
G5      
Oreohelix sp. 1
  (Chelan Mountainsnail)
G2      
Peromyscus maniculatus
  (North American Deermouse)
G5      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      
Thamnophis elegans
  (Terrestrial Gartersnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: ID, MT, OR, WA
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: BC
Global Range: This system is found in the interior Pacific Northwest, from southern interior British Columbia south and east into Oregon, Idaho (including north and central Idaho, down to the Boise Mountains), and western Montana, and south along the east slope of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
204-North American Pacific Maritime C: Confident or certain
304-Inter-Mountain Basins P: Predicted or probable
306-Rocky Mountain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
2 Puget Trough - Willamette Valley - Georgia Basin Predicted or probable
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
4 Modoc Plateau and East Cascades 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
2 Oregon Coastal Range Never was there
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 Predicted or probable
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4232
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1045
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2045

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 23Jan2006
Element Description Author(s): R. Crawford, 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
  • 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.

  • Cooper, S. V., K. E. Neiman, R. Steele, and D. W. Roberts. 1987. Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: A second approximation. General Technical Report INT-236.USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 135 pp. [reprinted in 1991]

  • Crawford, R. C., and F. D. Johnson. 1985. Pacific yew dominance in tall forests, a classification dilemma. Canadian Journal of Botany 63:592-602.

  • Daubenmire, R. F., and J. B. Daubenmire. 1968. Forest vegetation of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Washington State University Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 60. 104 pp.

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

  • Lillybridge, T. R., B. L. Kovalchik, C. K. Williams, and B. G. Smith. 1995. Field guide for forested plant associations of the Wenatchee National Forest. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-359. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. 335 pp.

  • NCC [The Nature Conservancy of Canada]. 2002. Canadian Rockies ecoregional plan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Victoria, BC.

  • Pfister, R. D., B. L. Kovalchik, S. F. Arno, and R. C. Presby. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. General Technical Report INT-34. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 174 pp.

  • Steele, R., R. D. Pfister, R. A. Ryker, and J. A. Kittams. 1981. Forest habitat types of central Idaho. General Technical Report INT-114. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 138 pp.

  • Steele, R., and K. Geier-Hayes. 1995. Major Douglas-fir habitat types of central Idaho: A summary of succession and management. General Technical Report INT-GTR-331. USDA Forest Service, USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Steen, O. A., and R. A. Coupé. 1997. A field guide to forest site identification and interpretation for the Cariboo Forest Region. Land Management Handbook No. 39. Parts 1 and 2. British Columbia Ministry of Forests Research Program, Victoria, BC.

  • Topik, C. 1989. Plant associations and management guide for the Abies grandis zone Gifford Pinchot National Forest. R6-ECOL-TP-006-88. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 110 pp.

  • Topik, C., N. M. Halverson, and T. High. 1988. Plant associations and management guide of the ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir zone, Mt. Hood National Forest. R6-ECOL-TP-004-88. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 136 pp.

  • Williams, C. K., and T. R. Lillybridge. 1983. Forested plant associations of the Okanogan National Forest. R6-Ecol-132b-1983. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 140 pp.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2017
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: November 2016