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Classification
Scientific Name: Inter-Mountain Basins Aspen-Mixed Conifer Forest and Woodland
Unique Identifier: CES304.776
Classification Confidence: 3 - Weak

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Summary: This ecological system occurs on montane slopes and plateaus in Utah, western Colorado, northern Arizona, eastern Nevada, southern Idaho, western Wyoming, and in north-central Montana in the Big Snowy Mountains. It also occurs in localized settings in the Klamath Mountains of California, as well as in the Sierra Nevada and adjacent Great Basin mountains (Inyo, White, Warner, and Modoc Plateau). Elevations range from 1700 to 2800 m. Occurrences are typically on gentle to steep slopes on any aspect but are often found on clay-rich soils in intermontane valleys. Soils are derived from alluvium, colluvium and residuum from a variety of parent materials but most typically occur on sedimentary rocks. The tree canopy is composed of a mix of deciduous and coniferous species, codominated by Populus tremuloides and conifers, including Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies concolor, Abies lasiocarpa, Abies magnifica, Picea engelmannii, Picea glauca x engelmannii, Picea pungens, Pinus contorta, Pinus flexilis, Pinus jeffreyi, Pinus contorta var. murrayana, and Pinus ponderosa. As the occurrences age, Populus tremuloides is slowly reduced until the conifer species become dominant. Common shrubs include Amelanchier alnifolia, Prunus virginiana, Acer grandidentatum, Symphoricarpos oreophilus, Juniperus communis, Paxistima myrsinites, Rosa woodsii, Spiraea betulifolia, Symphoricarpos albus, or Mahonia repens. Herbaceous species include Bromus carinatus, Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Elymus glaucus, Poa spp., and Achnatherum, Hesperostipa, Nassella, and/or Piptochaetium spp. (= Stipa spp.), Achillea millefolium, Arnica cordifolia, Asteraceae spp., Erigeron spp., Galium boreale, Geranium viscosissimum, Lathyrus spp., Lupinus argenteus, Mertensia arizonica, Mertensia lanceolata, Maianthemum stellatum, Osmorhiza berteroi (= Osmorhiza chilensis), and Thalictrum fendleri. Most occurrences at present represent a late-seral stage of aspen changing to a pure conifer occurrence. Nearly a hundred years of fire suppression and livestock grazing have converted much of the pure aspen occurrences to the present-day aspen-conifer forest and woodland ecological system. This is the typical meadow edge aspen-conifer setting in the Sierra Nevada where frequently, due to fire suppression, the conifers are replacing aspens.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000191 Pinus ponderosa - Populus tremuloides / Carex spp. - (Poa spp.) Riparian Forest
CEGL000522 Populus tremuloides - Abies concolor / Arctostaphylos patula Forest
CEGL000523 Populus tremuloides - Abies concolor / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Forest
CEGL000524 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Amelanchier alnifolia Forest
CEGL000525 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Carex geyeri - Calamagrostis rubescens Forest
CEGL000526 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Carex rossii Forest
CEGL000527 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Juniperus communis Forest
CEGL000528 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Pedicularis racemosa Forest
CEGL000529 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Shepherdia canadensis Forest
CEGL000530 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Symphoricarpos oreophilus / Bromus carinatus Forest
CEGL000531 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Symphoricarpos oreophilus / Tall Forbs Forest
CEGL000532 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Symphoricarpos oreophilus / Thalictrum fendleri Forest
CEGL000533 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Tall Forbs Forest
CEGL000534 Populus tremuloides - Abies lasiocarpa / Thalictrum fendleri Forest
CEGL000535 Populus tremuloides - Picea pungens Forest
CEGL000536 Populus tremuloides - Pinus contorta / Carex geyeri - Calamagrostis rubescens Forest
CEGL000537 Populus tremuloides - Pinus contorta / Juniperus communis Forest
CEGL000538 Populus tremuloides - Pinus contorta / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Forest
CEGL000539 Populus tremuloides - Pinus contorta / Thalictrum fendleri Forest
CEGL000540 Populus tremuloides - Pinus flexilis Forest
CEGL000541 Populus tremuloides - Pinus ponderosa Rocky Mountain Forest
CEGL000543 Populus tremuloides - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Amelanchier alnifolia Forest
CEGL000544 Populus tremuloides - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Calamagrostis rubescens Forest
CEGL000545 Populus tremuloides - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Juniperus communis Forest
CEGL000546 Populus tremuloides - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Forest
CEGL002947 Populus tremuloides - Abies concolor / Poa pratensis Ruderal Forest
CEGL003147 Populus tremuloides - Pinus jeffreyi Riparian Forest
CEGL008669 Pinus contorta var. murrayana - Populus tremuloides / Artemisia tridentata / Poa pratensis 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
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Tree  
Aspen - Conifer Mix  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Upper Montane
Montane Montane
Montane Lower Montane
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
Formica microphthalma
  (a montane ant)
G2?  
Prophysaon sp. 1
  (a terrestrial slug)
G2  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Populus tremuloides G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies concolor G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies lasiocarpa G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies magnifica G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea engelmannii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea pungens G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus contorta G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus contorta var. murrayana T4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus flexilis G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus jeffreyi G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus ponderosa G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pseudotsuga menziesii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Artemisia tridentata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Acer grandidentatum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Amelanchier alnifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Prunus virginiana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Symphoricarpos oreophilus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Berberis repens G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Juniperus communis G5 Needle-leaved shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Thalictrum fendleri G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Bromus carinatus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Calamagrostis rubescens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex geyeri G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Elymus glaucus 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
Accipiter gentilis
  (Northern Goshawk)
G5      
Accipiter striatus
  (Sharp-shinned Hawk)
G5      
Catharus ustulatus
  (Swainson's Thrush)
G5      
Formica microphthalma
  (a montane ant)
G2?      
Geothlypis tolmiei
  (MacGillivray's Warbler)
G5      
Lampropeltis pyromelana
  (Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake)
G4      
Microtus longicaudus
  (Long-tailed Vole)
G5      
Myodes gapperi
  (Southern Red-backed Vole)
G5      
Oreothlypis celata
  (Orange-crowned Warbler)
G5      
Peromyscus maniculatus
  (North American Deermouse)
G5      
Picoides pubescens
  (Downy Woodpecker)
G5      
Prophysaon sp. 1
  (a terrestrial slug)
G2      
Scapanus latimanus
  (Broad-footed Mole)
G5      
Selasphorus calliope
  (Calliope Hummingbird)
G5      
Setophaga nigrescens
  (Black-throated Gray Warbler)
G5      
Sorex monticolus
  (Dusky Shrew)
G5      
Sorex palustris
  (American Water Shrew)
G5      
Sphyrapicus nuchalis
  (Red-naped Sapsucker)
G5      
Sphyrapicus ruber
  (Red-breasted Sapsucker)
G5      
Sphyrapicus thyroideus
  (Williamson's Sapsucker)
G5      
Spizella passerina
  (Chipping Sparrow)
G5      
Tachycineta bicolor
  (Tree Swallow)
G5      
Turdus migratorius
  (American Robin)
G5      
Tyrannus tyrannus
  (Eastern Kingbird)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
Global Range: This system occurs on montane slopes and plateaus in Utah, eastern Nevada, southern Idaho, western and central Wyoming (in the Bighorn Mountains), and in north-central Montana in the Big Snowy Mountains. Elevations range from 1700 to 2800 m.

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
19 Colorado Plateau Predicted or probable
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
9 Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
3 Northern California Coastal Range Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Confident or certain
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Possible
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Confident or certain
15 Mogollon Rim Confident or certain
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
17 Eastern Great Basin Predicted or probable
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 Predicted or probable
23 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
24 Navajo Plateau Confident or certain
25 Rio Grande Basin Possible
27 Great Plains Tablelands Predicted or probable
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4302
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1061
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2061

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Apr2014
Element Description Author(s): K.A. Schulz, M.S. Reid and 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
  • Bartos, D. L. 2001. Landscape dynamics of aspen and conifer forests. Pages 5-14 in: W. D. Shepperd, D. Binkley, D. L. Bartos, T. J. Stohlgren, and L. G. Eskew, compilers. Sustaining aspen in western landscapes: Symposium proceedings; 13-15 June 2000. Grand Junction, CO. Proceedings RMRS-P-18. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO. 460 pp.

  • Bartos, D. L., and R. B. Campbell, Jr. 1998. Decline of quaking aspen in the interior west-examples from Utah. Rangelands 20(1):17-24.

  • Bradley, A. F., N. V. Noste, and W. C. Fischer. 1992. Fire ecology of forests and woodlands in Utah. General Technical Report INT-287. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 128 pp.

  • Comer, P. J., M. S. Reid, R. J. Rondeau, A. Black, J. Stevens, J. Bell, M. Menefee, and D. Cogan. 2002. A working classification of terrestrial ecological systems in the Northern Colorado Plateau: Analysis of their relation to the National Vegetation Classification System and application to mapping. NatureServe. Report to the National Park Service. 23 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • DeByle, N. V., and R. P. Winokur, editors. 1985. Aspen: Ecology and management in the western United States. General Technical Report RM-119. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. 283 pp.

  • DeVelice, R. L., J. A. Ludwig, W. H. Moir, and F. Ronco, Jr. 1986. A classification of forest habitat types of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. General Technical Report RM-131. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. 59 pp.

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

  • Hardy, C. C., and S. F. Arno, editors. 1996. The use of fire in forest restoration. General Technical Report INT-GTR-341. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 86 pp.

  • Henderson, J. A., S. A. Simon, and S. B. Hartvigsen. 1977. Plant community types and habitat types of the Price District Manti-La Sal National Forest. Unpublished report prepared for Utah State University, Department of Forestry and Outdoor Recreation, Logan.

  • Howard, J. L. 1996a. Populus tremuloides. In: Fire Effects Information System [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). [http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/] (accessed 25 April 2011).

  • Mueggler, W. F. 1988. Aspen community types of the Intermountain Region. General Technical Report INT-250. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 135 pp.

  • Reid, M. S., K. A. Schulz, P. J. Comer, M. H. Schindel, D. R. Culver, D. A. Sarr, and M. C. Damm. 1999. An alliance level classification of vegetation of the coterminous western United States. Unpublished final report to the University of Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and National Gap Analysis Program, in fulfillment of Cooperative Agreement 1434-HQ-97-AG-01779. The Nature Conservancy, Western Conservation Science Department, Boulder, CO.

  • Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.

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

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Tuhy, J., P. Comer, D. Dorfman, M. Lammert, B. Neely, L. Whitham, S. Silbert, G. Bell, J. Humke, B. Baker, and B. Cholvin. 2002. An ecoregional assessment of the Colorado Plateau. The Nature Conservancy, Moab Project Office. 112 pp. plus maps and appendices.

  • Youngblood, A. P., and R. L. Mauk. 1985. Coniferous forest habitat types of central and southern Utah. General Technical Report INT-187. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 89 pp.

  • Youngblood, A. P., and W. F. Mueggler. 1981. Aspen community types on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming. Research Paper INT-272. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 34 pp.


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