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Classification
Scientific Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Conifer Swamp
Unique Identifier: CES306.803
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system occurs in the northern Rocky Mountains from northwestern Wyoming north into the Canadian Rockies and west into eastern Oregon and Washington. It is dominated by conifers on poorly drained soils that are saturated year-round or may have seasonal flooding in the spring. These are primarily on flat to gently sloping lowlands, but also occur up to near the lower limits of continuous forest (below the subalpine parkland). It can occur on steeper slopes where soils are shallow over unfractured bedrock. This system is indicative of poorly drained, mucky areas, and areas are often a mosaic of moving water and stagnant water. Soils can be woody peat, muck or mineral but tend toward mineral. Stands generally occupy sites on benches, toeslopes or valley bottoms along mountain streams. Associations present include wetland phases of Thuja plicata, Tsuga heterophylla, and Picea engelmannii forests. The wetland types are generally distinguishable from other upland forests and woodlands by shallow water tables and mesic or hydric undergrowth vegetation; some of the most typical species include Athyrium filix-femina, Dryopteris spp., Lysichiton americanus, Equisetum arvense, Senecio triangularis, Mitella breweri, Mitella pentandra, Streptopus amplexifolius, Calamagrostis canadensis, or Carex disperma.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: May need to split out calcareous cedar (Thuja plicata) swamps from the other conifer swamps- needs more review.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000322 Abies lasiocarpa - Picea engelmannii / Oplopanax horridus Swamp Forest
CEGL000336 Abies lasiocarpa - Picea engelmannii / Streptopus amplexifolius Swamp Forest
CEGL000357 Picea engelmannii / Caltha leptosepala Swamp Forest
CEGL000405 Picea (engelmannii x glauca, engelmannii) / Carex disperma Swamp Forest
CEGL000412 Picea (engelmannii x glauca, engelmannii) / Lysichiton americanus Swamp Forest
CEGL000473 Thuja plicata / Athyrium filix-femina Forest
CEGL000479 Thuja plicata - Tsuga heterophylla / Oplopanax horridus Rocky Mountain Swamp Forest
CEGL001079 Betula glandulosa / Carex utriculata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001787 Thuja plicata - Tsuga heterophylla / Lysichiton americanus / Sphagnum spp. Treed Fen
CEGL002670 Thuja plicata - Tsuga heterophylla / Lysichiton americanus Swamp Forest
CEGL002678 Picea engelmannii / Calamagrostis canadensis Swamp Forest
CEGL005887 Betula glandulosa / Carex spp. Wet Shrubland
CEGL005927 Picea engelmannii / Equisetum arvense Swamp Forest
CEGL005931 Thuja plicata / Carex disperma Swamp Forest



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Seepage-Fed Sloping Mineral
Depressional  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Saturated Soil  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane  
Bench  
Toeslope  
Valley bottom  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Needle-Leaved Tree  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Picea engelmannii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus contorta G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Thuja plicata G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Lysichiton americanus 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 occurs in the northern Rocky Mountains from northwestern Wyoming and central Montana, north into the Canadian Rockies and west into eastern Oregon and Washington.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
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
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 Predicted or probable

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Confident or certain
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9111
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1161
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2161

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 07Sep2005
Element Description Author(s): 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.

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

  • Meidinger, D., and J. Pojar, editors. 1991. Ecosystems of British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Forests Special Report Series No. 6. Victoria, BC. 330 pp.

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


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