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Classification
Scientific Name: Klamath-Siskiyou Xeromorphic Serpentine Savanna and Chaparral
Unique Identifier: CES206.150

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Summary: This ecological system occurs throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou region below 1500 m (4550 feet) on thin rocky soils below winter snow accumulations and typically experiences hot and dry summers. These savannas and shrublands are almost always found on ultramafic soils (gabbro, peridotite, serpentinite), especially on the Josephine Peridotite Formation in the western Klamaths, with very low Ca:Mg ratio. These systems are highly variable and spotty in distribution. This system represents the most xeromorphic of these environments, generally supporting savannas or shrublands in areas with high rainfall amounts (over 130 cm/year) that would usually support closed-canopy forests. Landforms can include rocky ridges and ridgetops, south-facing slopes and river terraces, or gravelly valley bottomlands. These contain mosaics or patches of open-canopy tree-savannas with chaparral understories or shrub-dominated chaparral. Shrubs will often have higher densities than the trees which are more limited due to the rocky/thin soils and are often stunted in growth-form. These can also be short-duration chaparrals in previously forested areas that have experienced crownfires. When present, trees tend to have a scattered, open canopy or can be clustered, over a usually continuous, dense shrub layer, but sometimes with a grassy understory. Pinus jeffreyi or occasionally Pinus attenuata can form a scattered tree layer over bunchgrasses. Dense shrub layers can also be present in some stands, or form their own patches without trees, especially on ridges. Quercus vacciniifolia, Quercus sadleriana (coastal and wetter climate but found on xeric sties), Notholithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides, Quercus garryana var. fruticosa (drier, inland), Ceanothus cuneatus, Ceanothus pumilus, Arctostaphylos viscida, Arctostaphylos x cinerea, Arctostaphylos canescens, Arctostaphylos nevadensis, Frangula californica, and Garrya buxifolia represent some of the many chaparral shrubs that can be found in these habitats. Perennial grasses such as Festuca idahoensis ssp. roemeri, Achnatherum lemmonii, Melica sp., and Danthonia californica may also be characteristic, although a diverse and often endemic forb component (including rare serpentine endemics) is usually present. This system tends to have lower diversity within stands than in the other serpentine woodland and shrubland systems. Locally occurring, stunted and open stands of Pinus contorta and Pinus monticola on serpentine at low elevation are included in this system. The grassy understory savannas tend to have understory burns, while shrub-dense stands will suffer intense, stand-replacing fires.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: While generally occurring on serpentine soils, these also can be found on rocky or shallow, non-serpentine soils. They are identified by their very dry, open appearance, and hence are distinguished from the similar Klamath-Siskiyou Lower Montane Serpentine Mixed Conifer Woodland (CES206.917) which occurs on less xeric sties and has a woodland physiognomy.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES206.917 Klamath-Siskiyou Lower Montane Serpentine Mixed Conifer Woodland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000816 Pinus jeffreyi / Ceanothus pumilus Wooded Grassland
CEGL000817 Pinus jeffreyi / Festuca idahoensis ssp. roemeri Wooded Grassland
CEGL008623 Pinus attenuata / Arctostaphylos viscida Woodland



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
Serpentine  
Mediterranean Mediterranean Pluviseasonal-Oceanic
Ultramafic with low Ca:Mg ratio  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Arctostaphylos canescens
  (Hoary Manzanita)
G3G4  
Ceanothus pumilus
  (Siskiyou Whitethorn)
G3?  
Hastingsia bracteosa
  (Large-flower Rushlily)
G2  
Limnanthes alba ssp. gracilis
  (Slender Meadowfoam)
G4T3  
Quercus garryana var. breweri
  (Brewer Oak)
G5T3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus attenuata G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus jeffreyi G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Arctostaphylos canescens G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus sadleriana GNR Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus vacciniifolia G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Hastingsia bracteosa G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Limnanthes alba ssp. gracilis T3 Flowering forb 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      
Mustela frenata
  (Long-tailed Weasel)
G5      
Neotamias amoenus
  (Yellow-pine Chipmunk)
G5      
Neotoma cinerea
  (Bushy-tailed Woodrat)
G5      
Spilogale gracilis
  (Western Spotted Skunk)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system occurs throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains region below 1500 m (4550 feet), but mostly in the western Klamaths on the Josephine peridotite body.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
206-Mediterranean California C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
5 Klamath Mountains Predicted or probable

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
2 Oregon Coastal Range Confident or certain
3 Northern California Coastal Range Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Possible

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5425
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1170
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2170

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 23Jan2006
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
  • Atzet, T. A., D. E. White, L. A. McCrimmon, P. A. Martinez, P. R. Fong, and V. D. Randall. 1996. Field guide to the forested plant associations of southwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-17-96. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Holland, V. L., and D. J. Keil. 1995. California vegetation. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, IA. 516 pp.

  • Jimerson, T. J. 1994. A field guide to the Port Orford cedar plant associations in northwestern California. Pacific Southwest Research Station PSW-R5-ECOL-TP-OO2. Six Rivers National Forest, Eureka, CA. 109 pp.

  • Jimerson, T. J., L. D. Hoover, E. A. McGee, G. DeNitto, and R. M. Creasy. 1995. A field guide to serpentine plant associations and sensitive plants in northwestern California. Technical Publication R5-ECOL-TP-006. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, San Francisco, CA.

  • Jimerson, T. M. 1993. Preliminary plant associations of the Klamath province, Six Rivers and Klamath national forests. Unpublished report. USDA Forest Service, Eureka, CA.

  • Jimerson, T. M., and S. Daniel. 1999. Supplement to A field guide to Port Orford cedar plant associations in northwest California. Technical Publication R5-ECOL-TP-002. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, San Francisco, CA.

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. January 2004. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland. 52 pp.

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


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