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Classification
Scientific Name: Columbia Plateau Low Sagebrush Steppe
Unique Identifier: CES304.080
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system can form the matrix of the landscape and is composed of sagebrush dwarf-shrub-steppe that occurs in a variety of shallow-soil habitats throughout eastern Oregon, northern Nevada and southern Idaho. Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula and close relatives (Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba and occasionally Artemisia nova) form stands that typically occur on mountain ridges and flanks and broad terraces, ranging from 1000 to 3000 m in elevation. Substrates are shallow, fine-textured soils, poorly drained clays that occur in thin-soil areas and are frequently very stony. Other shrubs and dwarf-shrubs present may include Purshia tridentata, Eriogonum spp., and other species of Artemisia. Common graminoids include Festuca idahoensis, Koeleria macrantha, Poa secunda, and Pseudoroegneria spicata. Many forbs also occur and may dominate the herbaceous vegetation, especially at the higher elevations. Isolated individuals of Juniperus occidentalis and Cercocarpus ledifolius can often be found in this system. This ecological system is closely related to the concept of shallow-dry sagebrush in the resistance-resilience framework.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Diagnostic species for this Columbia Plateau ecological system, Artemisia nova and Artemisia arbuscula, are shared with three other sagebrush dwarf-shrubland ecological systems from three other ecoregions: Colorado Plateau Mixed Low Sagebrush Shrubland (CES304.762), Great Basin Xeric Mixed Sagebrush Shrubland (CES304.774), and Wyoming Basins Dwarf Sagebrush Shrubland and Steppe (CES304.794). Although there is overlap with two dominant species, regional differences in ecosystem processes, total species composition, and environmental variables support distinguishing four dwarf sagebrush ecological systems.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL001409 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula / Festuca idahoensis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001410 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula / Leymus salinus ssp. salmonis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001411 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula / Poa secunda Shrub Grassland
CEGL001412 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrub Grassland
CEGL001413 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula / Achnatherum thurberianum Shrub Grassland
CEGL001414 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba Shrubland
CEGL001415 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Pascopyrum smithii Shrub Grassland
CEGL001416 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrub Grassland
CEGL001518 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula - Purshia tridentata / Pseudoroegneria spicata - Festuca idahoensis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001522 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Festuca idahoensis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001523 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba / Poa secunda Shrub Grassland
CEGL002982 Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula - Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana / Festuca idahoensis Shrubland



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Foothill
Lowland Lowland
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Ridge/Summit/Upper Slope  
Sideslope  
Shallow Soil  
Silt Soil Texture  
Clay Soil Texture  
Aridic  
W-Landscape/High Intensity  
Low Artemisia spp.  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Temperate Temperate Continental
Alkaline Soil  
Dwarf-Shrub  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Acrolophitus pulchellus
  (Idaho Point-headed Grasshopper)
G2  
Astragalus yoder-williamsii
  (Mud-flat Milkvetch)
G3  
Centrocercus urophasianus
  (Greater Sage-Grouse)
G3G4  
Cirsium brevifolium
  (Palouse Thistle)
G3  
Collomia renacta
  (Barren Valley Collomia)
G1  
Erigeron latus
  (Broad Fleabane)
G3  
Eriogonum chrysops
  (Golden Buckwheat)
G2  
Eriogonum lewisii
  (Lewis' Buckwheat)
G2G3Q  
Lomatium salmoniflorum
  (Salmon-flower Desert-parsley)
G3  
Oreohelix idahoensis idahoensis
  (Costate Mountainsnail)
G1T1  
Oreohelix jugalis
  (Boulder Pile Mountainsnail)
G1G2  
Pyrrocoma insecticruris
  (Camas Goldenweed)
G3  
Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus
  (Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse)
G5T3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus occidentalis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia arbuscula G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Artemisia nova G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Astragalus conjunctus G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Astragalus yoder-williamsii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cirsium brevifolium G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Collomia renacta G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Erigeron latus G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum chrysops G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum lewisii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lomatium salmoniflorum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pedicularis centranthera G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon janishiae G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Phlox longifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pyrrocoma insecticruris G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Achnatherum thurberianum 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
Acrolophitus pulchellus
  (Idaho Point-headed Grasshopper)
G2      
Artemisiospiza belli
  (Bell's Sparrow)
G5      
Athene cunicularia hypugaea
  (Western Burrowing Owl)
G4T4      
Brachylagus idahoensis
  (Pygmy Rabbit)
G4      
Centrocercus urophasianus
  (Greater Sage-Grouse)
G3G4      
Lanius ludovicianus
  (Loggerhead Shrike)
G4      
Lemmiscus curtatus
  (Sagebrush Vole)
G5      
Oreohelix idahoensis idahoensis
  (Costate Mountainsnail)
G1T1      
Oreohelix jugalis
  (Boulder Pile Mountainsnail)
G1G2      
Oreoscoptes montanus
  (Sage Thrasher)
G4      
Sorex merriami
  (Merriam's Shrew)
G4      
Spizella breweri
  (Brewer's Sparrow)
G5      
Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus
  (Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse)
G5T3      
Tympanuchus phasianellus
  (Sharp-tailed Grouse)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, ID, MTpotentially occurs, NV, OR, WA, WYpotentially occurs
Global Range: This system is found throughout the basins of eastern Oregon and southern Idaho, south into northern Nevada and northeastern California.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
304-Inter-Mountain Basins C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Possible
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
17 Eastern Great Basin Possible
18 Snake River Plain Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Predicted or probable
22 Wyoming Basin Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5453
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1124
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2124

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 26Jan2016
Element Description Author(s): J. Kagan and K.A. Schulz

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


References
  • Baker, W. L. 2006. Fire and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(1):177-185.

  • Barbour, M. G., and J. Major, editors. 1988. Terrestrial vegetation of California: New expanded edition. California Native Plant Society, Special Publication 9, Sacramento. 1030 pp.

  • Beetle, A. A., and K. L. Johnson. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 779. University of Wyoming, Laramie.

  • Bell, J., D. Cogan, J. Erixson, and J. Von Loh. 2009. Vegetation inventory project report, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/UCBN/NRTR-2009/277. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 358 pp.

  • Belnap, J. 2001. Chapter 19: Factors influencing nitrogen fixation and nitrogen release in biological soil crusts. Pages 241-261 in: J. Belnap and O. L. Lange, editors. Biological soil crusts: Structure, function, and management. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

  • Belnap, J., J. Kaltenecker, R. Rosentreter, J. Williams, S. Leonard, and D. Eldridge. 2001. Biological soil crusts: Ecology and management. Technical Report 1730-2. USDI Bureau of Land Management. 110 pp.

  • Belnap, J., and O. L. Lange, editors. 2003. Biological soil crusts: Structure, function, and management. Second edition. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

  • Blackburn, W. H., and P. T. Tueller. 1970. Pinyon and juniper invasion in black sagebrush communities in east-central Nevada. Ecology 51:841-848.

  • Chappell, C., R. Crawford, J. Kagan, and P. J. Doran. 1997. A vegetation, land use, and habitat classification system for the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of Oregon and Washington. Unpublished report prepared for Wildlife habitat and species associations within Oregon and Washington landscapes: Building a common understanding for management. Prepared by Washington and Oregon Natural Heritage Programs, Olympia, WA, and Portland, OR. 177 pp.

  • 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.

  • Fryer, J. L. 2009. Artemisia nova. 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 30 May 2011).

  • Hironaka, M., M. A. Fosberg, and A. H. Winward. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Forestry, Wildlife, and Range Experiment Station Bulletin No. 15, University of Idaho, Moscow. 44 pp.

  • Howard, J. L. 1999. Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis. 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 13 July 2007).

  • Johnston, B. C. 2001. Ecological types of the Upper Gunnison Basin. Technical Report R2-RR-2001-01. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Denver, CO.

  • LANDFIRE [Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Database]. 2007a. Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Models. Landfire Project, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior. (January - last update) [http://www.LANDFIRE.gov/index.php] (accessed 8 February 2007).

  • Rosentreter, R., and J. Belnap. 2003. Biological soil crusts of North America. Chapter 2 in: J. Belnap and O. L. Lange, editors. Biological soil crusts: Structure, function, and management. Second edition. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

  • 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.

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

  • Steinberg, P. D. 2002a. Artemisia arbuscula. 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 30 May 2011).

  • USDA-APHIS. 2003. APHIS Factsheet: Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. May 2003. [http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/content/printable_version/fs_phgrasshoppersmc.pdf]

  • USDA-APHIS. 2010. APHIS Factsheet: Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. May 2010. [http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/content/printable_version/fs_grasshoppers.pdf]

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2011. Ecological integrity assessments for the ecological systems of Washington. Version: 2.22.2011. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. [http://www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/eia_list.html] (accessed September 9, 2013).

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  • Young, J. A., and D. E. Palmquist. 1992. Plant age/size distributions in black sagebrush (Artemisia nova): Effects on community structure. Great Basin Naturalist 52(4):313-320.

  • Zamora, B., and P. T. Tueller. 1973. Artemisia arbuscula, A. longiloba, and A. nova habitat types in northern Nevada. Great Basin Naturalist 33(4):225-242.


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