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Classification
Scientific Name: East Cascades Oak-Ponderosa Pine Forest and Woodland
Unique Identifier: CES204.085
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This narrowly restricted ecological system appears at or near lower treeline in foothills of the eastern Cascades in Washington and Oregon within 65 km (40 miles) of the Columbia River Gorge. It also appears in the adjacent Columbia Plateau ecoregion. Elevations range from 460 to 1920 m. Most occurrences of this system are dominated by a mix of Quercus garryana and Pinus ponderosa or Pseudotsuga menziesii. Isolated, taller Pinus ponderosa or Pseudotsuga menziesii over Quercus garryana trees characterize parts of this system. Clonal Quercus garryana can create dense patches across a grassy landscape or can dominate open woodlands or savannas. The understory may include dense stands of shrubs or, more often, be dominated by grasses, sedges or forbs. Shrub-steppe shrubs may be prominent in some stands and create a distinct tree / shrub / sparse grassland habitat, including Purshia tridentata, Artemisia tridentata, Artemisia nova, and Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus. Understories are generally dominated by herbaceous species, especially graminoids. Mesic sites have an open to closed sodgrass understory dominated by Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Carex rossii, Carex inops, or Elymus glaucus. Drier savanna and woodland understories typically contain bunchgrass steppe species such as Festuca idahoensis or Pseudoroegneria spicata. Common exotic grasses that often appear in high abundance are Bromus tectorum and Poa bulbosa. These woodlands occur at the lower treeline/ecotone between Artemisia spp. or Purshia tridentata steppe or shrubland and Pinus ponderosa and/or Pseudotsuga menziesii forests or woodlands. In the Columbia River Gorge, this system appears as small to large patches in transitional areas in the Little White Salmon and White Salmon river drainages in Washington and Hood River, Rock Creek, Moiser Creek, Mill Creek, Threemile Creek, Fifteen Mile Creek, and White River drainages in Oregon. Quercus garryana can create dense patches often associated with grassland or shrubland balds within a closed Pseudotsuga menziesii forest landscape. Commonly the understory is shrubby and composed of Ceanothus integerrimus, Holodiscus discolor, Symphoricarpos albus, and Toxicodendron diversilobum. Fire plays an important role in creating vegetation structure and composition in this habitat. Decades of fire suppression have led to invasion by Pinus ponderosa along lower treeline and by Pseudotsuga menziesii in the gorge and other oak patches on xeric sites in the east Cascade foothills. In the past, most of the habitat experienced frequent low-severity fires that maintained woodland or savanna conditions. The mean fire-return interval is 20 years, although variable. Soil drought plays a role, maintaining an open tree canopy in part of this dry woodland habitat.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Mapping this system presents a typical scale problem. Areas of pure ponderosa pine are found directly adjacent to oak stands. This system is a matrix type with stands of Pinus ponderosa, Quercus garryana, Pinus ponderosa - (Pseudotsuga menziesii) - Quercus garryana; still need to get a mapping protocol and concept to distinguish Pseudotsuga menziesii with Quercus garryana patches in the east gorge White Salmon. The Little White Salmon drainage near Augspurger Mountain is the transition area between North Pacific Oak Woodland (CES204.852) and this system (Dog Mountain is the westernmost in Washington).

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES206.918 California Montane Jeffrey Pine-(Ponderosa Pine) Woodland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000274 Abies grandis / Holodiscus discolor Forest
CEGL000434 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Festuca occidentalis Forest
CEGL000549 Quercus garryana / Carex geyeri Woodland
CEGL000550 Quercus garryana / Elymus glaucus Woodland
CEGL000551 Quercus garryana / Festuca idahoensis Woodland
CEGL000552 Quercus garryana / Pseudoroegneria spicata Woodland
CEGL000553 Quercus garryana / Symphoricarpos albus Woodland
CEGL000881 Pinus ponderosa - Quercus garryana / Balsamorhiza sagittata Woodland
CEGL000882 Pinus ponderosa - Quercus garryana / Carex geyeri Woodland
CEGL000883 Pinus ponderosa - Quercus garryana / Purshia tridentata Woodland
CEGL000884 Pinus ponderosa - Quercus garryana / Symphoricarpos albus Woodland



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
Ridge/Summit/Upper Slope  
Very Shallow Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Aridic  
Intermediate Disturbance Interval Periodicity/Polycyclic Disturbance
F-Patch/Medium Intensity  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Montane
Montane Lower Montane
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Circumneutral Soil  
F-Landscape/Low Intensity  
Short (50-100 yrs) Persistence  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Batrachoseps wrightorum
  (Oregon Slender Salamander)
G3  
Delphinium lineapetalum
  (Thin-petal Larkspur)
G2G3Q  
Meconella oregana
  (White Meconella)
G2G3  
Penstemon barrettiae
  (Barrett's Beardtongue)
G2  
Penstemon deustus var. variabilis
  (Hot-rock Penstemon)
G5T2  
Polites mardon
  (Mardon Skipper)
G2G3  
Ranunculus glaberrimus var. reconditus
  (Obscure Buttercup)
G5T2  
Trilobopsis loricata
  (Scaly Chaparral)
G2G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus garryana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pinus ponderosa G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pseudotsuga menziesii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Delphinium lineapetalum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Meconella oregana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon barrettiae G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon deustus var. variabilis T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Ranunculus glaberrimus var. reconditus T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Calamagrostis rubescens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex geyeri G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex inops G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex rossii 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
Batrachoseps wrightorum
  (Oregon Slender Salamander)
G3      
Callospermophilus saturatus
  (Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel)
G5      
Marmota flaviventris
  (Yellow-bellied Marmot)
G5      
Neotamias amoenus
  (Yellow-pine Chipmunk)
G5      
Otospermophilus beecheyi
  (California Ground Squirrel)
G5      
Polites mardon
  (Mardon Skipper)
G2G3      
Sciurus griseus
  (Western Gray Squirrel)
G5      
Sorex vagrans
  (Vagrant Shrew)
G5      
Trilobopsis loricata
  (Scaly Chaparral)
G2G3      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: OR, WA
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: BC
Global Range: This narrowly restricted ecological system appears at or near lower treeline in foothills of the eastern Cascades in Washington and Oregon within 65 km (40 miles) of the Columbia River Gorge. It also appears in the adjacent Columbia Plateau ecoregion. Disjunct occurrences in Klamath and Siskiyou counties, Oregon, have more sagebrush and bitterbrush in the understory, along with other shrubs.

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

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
4 Modoc Plateau and East Cascades Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
2 Oregon Coastal Range Reported but false
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
9 Blue Mountain Region Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4301
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1060
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2060

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 24May2018
Element Description Author(s): G. Kittel, C. Chappell, M.S. Reid, 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
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