Northern Rocky Mountain Forests

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Forest Range Types of the Northern Rocky Mountains and Interior Pacific Northwest Region

A distinct, if not unique, forest or general forest community occurs in the Interior Pacific Northwest of North America in a region lying on the west side of the Continental Divide of the Northern Rocky Mountains and extending into the Cascade Range. This region includes parts of western Montana and much of the Idaho Panhandle with smaller portions in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and southeastern British Columbia. The various forest types of this general community are primarily the product of higher precipitation in the mountainous terrain resulting from water-rich air masses developing over the North Pacific Ocean (Baumgartner et al., 1994, ps. 9, 85) falling on fertile soils. Clements (1920, ps. 219-221) recognized this as the western larch-western white pine forest (Larix-Pinus association) but this climax shared species with his cedar-hemlock (Thuja-Tsuga association) (Clements, 1920, ps. 214-219), both of which comprised the coast forest climax (Thuja-Tsuga formation). This same arrangement was used in the dominant textbook and reference of North American vegetation of its day, Plant Ecology (Weaver and Clements, 1938, ps. 481, 501-504). Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 503) interpreted the western larch-western white pine association as a transition (… primarily a transition forest between the coast and montane climaxes, but it occupies such a large area that it cannot well be regarded merely as an ecotone”. Weaver and Clements (1938, p. 504) assigned nine dominant species to this association with these nine derived from either or both the coast association and montane (Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada) association:

                                     western larch (tamarack)         coast association

                                     western white pine                   coast association

                                     grand fir                                   coast association

                                     Douglas fir                               coast and montane associations, but mostly montane    

                                                                                    (eg. interior Douglas fir predominate)

                                     ponderosa pine                         montane association

                                     lodgepole pine                         montane association                        

                                     Englemann spruce                   montane association

                                     western red cedar                    coast association

                                     western hemlock                      coast association.

Western larch and western white pine “may well be regarded as the two most typical dominants of this forest” with grand fir also “more characteristic of the transition region” while with eastward progression in this forest region “the major dominants of the coast association are the first to drop out” (Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 504).

Baumgartner et al. (1994) designated this as Interior Cedar-Hemlock-White Pine Forest and these symposium proceedings perhaps provide the most detailed coverage of this general forest and the various forest types thereof. The proceedings of an earlier symposium (Taber, 1969) that dealt with forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains more generally is also outstanding. These two publications provide comprehensive coverage of the forest ecosystems shown in the photographs immediately following this introductory discussion. 

The designation of Interior Cedar-Hemlock-Western White Pine Forest (Baumgartner et al., 1994) is consistent with the “arborvitae-hemlock vegetation zone” having the three dominants of western arborvitae or western red cedar (Thuja plicata), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and grand fir (Abies grandis) which was presented by Daubenmire in Davis (1952, ps. 9-10). Rexford F. Daubenmire is the ecologist who published the most about these forests (eg. Daubenmire, 1943, 1952, 1956, 1968, 1980; Daubenmire and Daubenmire, 1968). The Daubenmire concept of habitat type was adopted by the United States Forest Service which made further detailed descriptions of habitat types within this general forest community using the series-habitat type-phase hierarchy (eg. Pfister et al., 1977, Cooper et al., 1991). As indicated by these forest habitat types and the diversity among them there are various upperstorey and otherwise dominant tree species for the locally rich habitats within this part of the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Peet  in (Barbour and Billings, 1988, p. 83 and Barbour and Billings, 2000, p. 97-104 passim) and Franklin and Halpern in (Barbour and Billings, 2000, ps. 127-132 and 148-150) gave general descriptions of Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest forest vegetation which corresponded closely to the western white pine-western larch and  western red cedar-hemlock of Clements. From his review of several workers Peet (cited above) concluded that the western red cedar and western hemlock were joined with mountain hemlock, Douglas fir, and grand fir as local climax species in the Northern Rockys and Cascade Range. He concluded that the first two species dominate moist sites while Douglas fir dominates drier sites with grand fir dominant on sites intermediate between these. All of these conifers are prone to devastating crown fires, and while they all are frequently successional species, lodgepole pine, western white pine, and western larch more commonly function as seral trees. Western larch is probably the most fire-tolerant tree of the Rocky Mountains and it is also one of the most shade-intolerant species. Western larch is thus often a co-dominant with ponderosa pine in open parklike forests with grass understories. Western white pine is the seral species most commonly present in climax western hemlock-western red cedar climax on moist sites (ie. the Interior Cedar-Hemlock-White Pine Forest).

Natural as well as human-induced disturbances (especially wild fires but also insect and disease pathogens) allow shade-intolerant species like the western larch and lodgepole pine and late seral species like Douglas fir and western white pine to persist in the Thuja-Tsuga climatic climax. Forests having such species compositions were dubbed the “Idaho mix” by Shiplett and Neuenschwander in Baumgartner (1994, p.47). This “Idaho mix” is a late successional stage advancing to the climax forest as the shade tolerant western red cedar and western hemlock develop into the dominant overstory, but some of the western larch and western white pine often persist as relics in the Thuja-Tsuga climax.  Therefore the distinction between the immediately subclimax “Idaho mix” and the climax forest is not always clear, especially were there is substantial local variation in habitat at small spatial scale. Furthermore, as explained at beginning and ending of this discussion, the western larch-western white pine forest is a Clementsian association, a climax vegetation, over a fairly large geographic area.

Forest communities in what is poetically called the Inland Empire vary greatly over relatively small areas. This is particularly the case for the understory. As indicated above, this diversity has been classified and described by the U.S. Forest Service using the hierarchial sequence of series-habitat type-phase for, mostly climax, vegetation. These units were applied to the photographs of forest range types in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region shown immediately below when such were obvious and/or appropriate. It became obvious to this author/photographer that there are numerous examples of apparently climax vegetation (including old growth forests) which could not be accurately categorized as any published habitat type. Classification of habitat types (like this publication on range types) is an unfinished project.

According to Franklin and Halpern in Barbour and Billings (2000, ps. 127-132 and 148-150) the climax coniferous forest of the northern Cascades (as well as the Coast Range and Olympic Mountains) is the Douglas fir-western hemlock-western red cedar community with grand fir, Sitka spruce, and western white pine as climax associates with these dominants. This is consistent with the earlier conclusion of Weaver and Clements (1938, p. 503-504) that the transition forest of western larch-western white pine association has the same species as the coastal coniferous forest except for loss of Sitka spruce and diminished dominance of hemlock and western arbor vitae. It also confirmed the legitimacy of the tamarack-western white pine as a climax in its own right. That is why it was treated as a climax forest range type in the photographs and their descriptions which follow.

The Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980) designated several forest cover types in this Interior Pacific Northwest-Northern Rocky Mountain Region using common names of single species which were often managed silviculturally as single species stands (eg. western larch, western white pine, grand fir). The SAF forest cover types include both aggregations of species like associations and “essentially pure stands” and these “may be either stable or transitory” (as in climax forests or successional, seral, forest communities, respectively) (Eyre, 1980, p. 1). Thus, SAF cover types describe “the present forest cover” only, but as descriptions include discussions of ecological succession SAF cover types furnish “clues to further development” of forest. In absence of major or abnormal disturbancees present forest vegetation described “would tend to move toward “ climax or potential natural vegetation such as that described by the Kuchler units. Thus “some SAF descriptions of climax types strongly resemble Kuchler’s phytocenoces”; this relationship or similarity to climax at earlier seral stages is “often obscure” (Eyre, 1980, p. 3).

Given that the Kuchler units of potential natural vegetation correspond closely (certainly not exactly) to units of climax vegetation previously identified and described (eg. formations and associations given by such authorities as Clements [1920] and Shelford [1967]), it follows that SAF climax cover types coincide closely to traditionally or historically recognized climaxes. Eyre (1980, p. 3) indicated that habitat types of the Daubenmire concept are “similar to Kuchler’s potential vegetation types but more refined”. Eyre (1980, p. 3) specifically referenced the classification of Montana forest habitat types detailed by Pfister et al. (1977). This and subsequent Forest Service habitat type references (eg. Cooper et al, 1991) were noted in this introduction to Northern Rocky Mountain and Interior Pacific Northwest forests wherein it was indicated that these habitat types were given for forest (range) vegetation shown in the preceding slides as appropriate. Erye (1980, p. 3) also noted the value of descriptions of vegetation in Franklin and Dryness (1973). These details were also applied to the following slides of range cover types when possible.

   
 
 

1. General exterior view of Northern Rocky Mountain forest- Two major kinds of forest (general forest types) occur in this photograph. Interior Douglas-fir (SAF 210) forest is seen in the foreground along the banks of the Lochsa River while the arch-type Idaho mixed coniferous forest occupies the north slope above the Douglas-fir forest zone. In general, an upslope progression has general topographic or elevational zones going from grand fir to a mixed community of western larch, western red cedar, western hemlock, and western white pine to lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce at hill crest.  

FRES and Kuchler units are multiple guess and anybody’s guess. Following choices seemed plausible: FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem) with K-24 (Mosaic of Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest), FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem) with K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), and/or FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem) with K-13 (Grand fir-Douglas-fir Forest). Likewise, SAF cover types could include some or all of following: SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir), 212 (Western Larch), 213 (Grand Fir), and/or 215 (Western White Pine). Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001).

Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
   
 
 

2.  Closer exterior view of Northern Rocky Mountain forest- The same forest as seen in preceding slide, but taken at shorter distance and with less Interior Douglas-fir at lowest level. Both of these photographs had to be taken with cloudy overcast sky. FRES, Kuchler, and SAF same as immediately above. Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June. 

   
 
  3. Sun-lite north slope of Northern Rocky Mountain forest- Northwest slope above Lochsa River supporting the famous “Idaho Mix”, a mixed coniferous forest with western red cedar and western hemlock climax dominants followed by western larch or tamarack and western white pine with grand fir, Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine at lowest elevation and some lodgepole pine at top of slope.  Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

This Rocky Mountain mixed conifer type could qualify as one to several FRES, Kuchler, and SAF designations. At the mapping scale (1;7,500,00) of Kuchler’s potential natural vegetation used in the map, Ecosystems of the United States, which accompanied FRES Agriculture Handbook No. 475 (Garrison et al., 1977) this was mapped as K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) or an overlap of K-13 and K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest). K-13 might be topographic climax on this north slope— and these two species were dominant at lowest elevation (by Lochsa River) —but upslope forest was clearly K-12. K-12 might, again on this north slope, be seral to K-13. This forest was never logged but much of this area burnt back in the 1930s and it may not have regained the state of old-growth.  At practical management size this is a patchwork of these two plus pockets of pure Douglas-fir (K-11) along the river. Thus, K-24 (Mosaic of Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest) seemed most apt which would throw this into FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem). Mapped as K-13, however, places this vegetation in FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem). Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). It was difficult to apply vegetation units which were mapped at large-scale to local vegetation. Furthermore, “ground truth” did always confirm mapping units applied at continental scale. It was probably remarkable that units were this consistent.      

Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho . June.

   
 
  4.  Bottomland conifer forest of interior ponderosa pine and interior Douglas-fir- This is either the Interior ponderosa pine forest cover type (SAF 237) or the Interior Douglas-fir forest cover type (SAF 210) in which Douglas-fir is likely replacing ponderosa pine as a result of fire suppression as described for this type (Eyre, 1980, p. 91, p. 114). Note, for example, the immense size of the ponderosa pine boles. The north slope forest in the background is the Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest described in the last three slides. There are both shrub and herbaceous understories. Dominant shrubs include Sitka or mountain alder (Alnus sinuata), black or Douglas hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii), red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), elderberry (either Sambucus coerulea or S. melanocarpa), willow (Salix sp.), and wood or pearhip rose (Rosa woodsii), for starters. Most of these shrubs are riparian species; dominant shrubs of the non-riparian zone are snowberry and wood rose, with serviceberry an apparent associate (next slide immediately below). Herbaceous species included such grasses as the native pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) and the naturalized species orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis).

FRES, K-, and SAF designations discussed immediately in next slide which is another view of this same forest. Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
 

5. Flood plain forest of interior ponderosa pine and interior Douglas-fir- The two dominants of the canopy are joined with black cottonwood (first and third tree trunk from left in foreground) as an associate of this upperstorey. The two right-most boles are Douglas-fir and the second trunk from left (between two black cottonwoods) is ponderosa pine. The prominent tall shrub layer is composed of riparian zone species with red osier dogwood, Sitka or mountain alder, and black or Douglas hawthorn dominant while serviceberry ranks as an associate of this strata. A second and lower shrub layer is dominated by common snowberry and wood or pearhip rose which replace the riparian shrub species a short distance from the hydric soil zone (see next slide).

Depending on interpretation this is either FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem) and K-17 (Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir Forest) or FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem) and K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest) to be either SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine) or SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). Black cottonwood (see Eyre, 1980, p. 114) as a major component— an obvious associate —of this forest community would seem to qualify this, and definitely so, as the former FRES, K-, and SAF designations (21, 17, and 237, respectively), but this may be somewhat subjective. The forest vegetation shown in this and the immediately preceding and following slides was described “perfectly” by the Soil Conservation Service in Montana as vegetation mapping unit #51, Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine Climax Forests on Deep Soils (Ross and Hunter, 1976, ps. 31-32). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002).

Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
  6. Composition shot of interior ponderosa pine- interior Douglas-fir bottomland forest- Along the flood plain of Lochsa River interior Douglas-fir (left foreground) and ponderosa pine (right foreground) are co-dominants of a multi-layered forest. High regeneration rates of both overstory dominants are evident. Herb layer dominated by grasses: pinegrass is dominant with Idaho fescue the main associate while there is local abundance of the two Eurasian agronomic species, orchardgrass and smooth bromegrass. Wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) is locally abundant. There are at least two shrub layers with the dominant, common snowberry, forming a lower woody layer and wood rose apparently dominating the taller shrub strata. This scene is away from the riparian zone.

Same FRES, K-, and SAF as for last slide (these three slides are all the same forest). Probably the Pinus ponderosa/ Symphoricarpos albus plant association (a climax type) of the Natural (Pre-settlement) Vegetation of Montana Outline. Soil Conservation Service vegetation mapping unit #51 for Montana, Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine Climax Forests on Deep Soils (Ross and Hunter, 1976, ps. 31-32). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002).

Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana (Bitterroot Range- Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
 

7. Wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina)- Lichen is a type of composite organism consisting of a fungus (the mycobiont) and an alga or cyanobacterium (the phycobiont) that live in mutualistic symbiosis (Allaby, 1998). Although lichens are a combination of two species of taxonomically distinct major groups they are classified and named as distinct species. The binominal nomenclature refers to the fungal member of the symbiotic partnership and in recent decades the lichenized fungi have been integrated into the classification of the fungi (Purvis, 2000, p. 48).

Wolf lichen is one of the more interesting species from the standpoints of its common and scientific names and the human use made of it. Letharia vulpina contains a toxin identified as vulpinic acid which has been used to kill wolves and foxes (Purvis, 2000, p. 31; Brodo, 2001, ps.411-413). It is vulpinic acid that gives the characteristic color to this fruticose lichen. Fruticose describes the lichen thallus (the vegetative body comprised of the algal and fungal components) that is stalked, pendent, or shrubby, and normally with upper and lower surfaces that are indistinguishable (Brodo et al., 2001, ps. 758, 763).

This specimen was growing on a partially decayed knot (where a limb emerged from the trunk) of ponderosa pine. Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.

   
 
  8.  Interior Douglas-fir forest- This north slope forest beginning at and extending above the Lochsa River is the pure form of  interior Douglas fir. Except for a few “strays” of grand fir and ponderosa pine (maybe a rare western white pine) this community is essentially a single species stand or consociation of the interior or Rocky Mountain variety of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca). Most of the trees are not as immense as the fine old-growth specimen featured “front and center”, but regeneration has quite obviously been successful. Fire suppression likely played some role in the development of the almost exclusive one-species composition of this forest, but while this unnatural lack of pyric disturbance is itself a disturbance this north, mesic slope is prime habitat for Douglas-fir such that it would likely be the dominant species even with natural fire regimes.

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). As discussed above, at the mapping scale (1:7,500,000) used on the map, Ecosystems of the United States, for Agriculture Handbook No. 475 this vegetation was mapped as Kuchler unit 13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) or maybe overlapping K-13 and K-12 ((Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest). At local scale of this 28mm camera lense the vegetation is K-11 (no doubt). Pseudotsuga menziesii Association, Douglas Fir-White Fir (Mixed Conifer) Series in Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002).

Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
  9.  Interior of an interior Douglas-fir forest- On this south to southeast slope a nearly “pure” stand of second-growth Douglas-fir has a very diverse understory consisting of two shrub layers and one herbaceous layer. Understory dominant is common snowberry but serviceberry, current (Ribes, most likely, lacustre), western thimbleberry (Rubus parparviflorus), and birchleaf spiraea (Spiraea betulifolia) was also common in the higher shrub strata. Oregon creeping grape or barberry (Berberis repens) dominated the lower shrub layer except in local microsites dominated by many Douglas-fir seedlings. The latter are clearly visible in the foreground. The herbaceous layer was dominated by bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) and false Solomon’s seal (Smilacina racemosa.). The only graminoid of any consequence was pinegrass (= pine reedgrass) which was scarce. 

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). Pseudotsuga menziesii/Symphoricarpos albus plant association (Montana Natural Vegetation Outline designation). Pseudotsuga menziesii Association, Douglas Fir-White Fir (Mixed Conifer) Series of Brown et al. (1998). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002).

Lolo National Forest, Missoula Montana, Montana (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
  10.  External view of interior Douglas-fir forest- This community is about at the upper elevational limit of Douglas-fir and this lower, often, bottomland species is giving way on this western exposure to the western larch zone such that the latter is the associate species in the overstorey seen here. Generally, a   forest of grand fir and lodgepole pine replaces that of Douglas-fir as the next elevational zone with the former being replaced at their elevational limits by western larch. On this drier, southwestern slope the Douglas-fir climax is replaced by the western larch zone (cf. Figures 4 and 5 in Cooper et al., 1991, ps. 18-19). In the forest community shown here widely scattered individual grand fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine  accompany the dominant Douglas-fir and associate western larch. This open, second-growth, even-aged stand supported a rich, multi-layered understorey.  Shrub species included ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor), ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), common snowberry, birchleaf spiraea, and current. Grasses were pinegrass and Idaho fescue, both of which were common (especially pinegrass).

Probably closest to FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir) primarily, but also transition or ecotone between FRES No. 20 and FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand fir-Douglas-fir Forest).Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002).

Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana (Bitterroot Range-Clearwater Mountains).  June.

   
 
  11.  Interior Douglas-fir forest with rich biodiversity- This north-slope, mesic site occurred adjacent to the Clearwater River and supported interior Douglas-fir which were grew widely spaced or scattered enough to allow an extremely varied understory composed of several layers and numerous woody and herbaceous species. On the opposite side of the Clearwater River a xeric south slope supported largely even-aged stands of ponderosa pine of locally variable tree densities and canopy cover and with a grassy understory. (Various views of this ponderosa pine forest were shown and discussed below.) This north slope forest consisted of more mesophytic species and had very little ponderosa pine, except on more western aspects. The dominant shrub was ocean spray with its associate varying among ninebark, serviceberry, birchleaf spiraea, snowberry, or wood rose depending on local habitat or microsite. Mountain or Sitka alder grew thickly in draws or coulees while syringia (Philadelphus lewisii), though conspicuous in flowering, was widely scattered. The herbaceous understory is limited being restricted primarily to openings scattered amongst the high, dense shrub layer (s). This was clearly a Douglas-fir-shrub forest. Dominant species of this restricted herb layer were pinegrass and elk or Geyer sedge (Carex geyeri) with Idaho fescue an understory associate.           

At lowest elevation (just above riparian zone of the Clearwater River and extending to base of foot slope) this was a Douglas-fir-ocean spray community— and beyond any doubt-- but, a Pseudotsuga menziesii/Holodiscus discolor habitat type was not published for either Montana (Pfister et al., 1977) or Idaho (Cooper et al., 1991). This shows once again that the habitat type classification is, as of this writing, an unfinished project. The habitat type showing clearly at the bottom of this photograph with the ocean spray in full-bloom seemed obvious to this author. In an elevational zone immediately above this obvious habitat type grew the Douglas-fir-ninebark (Pseudotsuga menziesii/Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat type (Pfister et al., 1977, ps. 41-43; Cooper et al., 1991, ps. 73-75). FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). Pseudotsuga menziesii Association in Douglas Fir-White Fir (Mixed Conifer) Series of Brown et al. (1998). Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001).Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

*** Examples of ocean spray and syringia were included with the slides of ponderosa pine forests in the northern Rocky Mountain and Palouse Prairie region; photographs of birchleaf spiraea and ninebark were placed with slides of the western white pine forest type.

   
 
 

12.  Interior Douglas-fir forest with pinegrass and snowberry understory- This local parklike even-aged stand of Douglas-fir was growing in a predominately ponderosa pine forest in which Douglas-fir was the associate. At the local scale yet large enough to display the habitat type and a “micro-shot” of the forest cover type this is an arch-typical example of the Northern Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir forest with a well-developed understory. The dominant species of this understory was pinegrass but with common snowberry the associate (and close runner-up for dominant).     

At local scale this is a representative of FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest). At the regional or zonal mapping scale of the Kuchler Potential Natural Vegetation this is FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-17 (Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir Forest). Pseudotsuga menziesii Association, Douglas Fir-White Fir (Mixed Conifer) Series of Brown et al. (1998). At the local scale (all that is visible in this slide) this is SRM 210 (Interior Douglas-fir) and Douglas-fir-Pinegrass (Pseudotsuga menziesii/Calamagrostis rubescens) habitat type. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho (edge of Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.
   
 
 

13.  Inside a Douglas-fir forest with grassy understorey dominated by pinegrass with elk of Geyer’s sedge and Idaho fescue as associates.  Yellow mule’s ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis) is the major forb, a photograph of which can be seen with the ponderosa pine forest slides taken at McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho. June. Immediately behind this local example of the Douglas-fir-pinegrass habitat type is the ponderosa pine-common snowberry habitat type that was included with the other slides of the interior ponderosa pine cover type (SAF 237). The change between these two forest forms (habitat types) is abrupt and clearly evident in this slide. Nonetheless some species from the dominant shrub understory of the ponderosa pine-common snowberry community stand at the edge of the Douglas-fir type. These include the dominant snowberry and also ninebark, ocean spray, and chokecherry (Prunus virginiana).

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-11 (Douglas-fir Forest). SRM 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). Pseudotsuga menziesii Association, Douglas Fir-White Fir (Mixed Conifer) Series of Brown et al. (1998). Douglas-fir-pinegrass habitat type. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001).McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho (edge of Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June. 

 

 
  14. Grand fir forest- In the valley of the Lochsa River, especially along the greater flood plain, local forest communities dominated by grand fir grow in narrow zones just up-slope (and, in flood plains, outward) from forest dominated by Douglas-fir (Figures 4 and 5 in Cooper et al., 1991, ps. 18-19). These local communities are within the general unit of K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) at regional scale. Douglas-fir was the associate unit in the community shown here with scattered ponderosa pine and black cottonwood. Common shrubs included ninebark, birchleaf spiraea, red osier dogwood, common snowberry, and, along streams and depressions, Sitka or mountain alder. Willows were limited to the riparian zone and did not grow under grand fir. Most of this community had an understory dominated by the forb, arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis).

SAF No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem) and K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) as shown in Agriculture Handbook No. 475, but this inclusion of K-13 under Western Larch is very confusing (at least to this author).  SAF 213 which is the Grand fir forest cover type. Franklin and Dryness (1973, ps. 193-198) designated and described this vegetation as the Abies grandis zone. Abies grandis/Senecio triangularis habitat type. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Clearwater Mountains). June. 

   
 

14. Grand fir forest- In the valley of the Lochsa River, especially along the greater flood plain, local forest communities dominated by grand fir grow in narrow zones just up-slope (and, in flood plains, outward) from forest dominated by Douglas-fir (Figures 4 and 5 in Cooper et al., 1991, ps. 18-19). These local communities are within the general unit of K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) at regional scale. Douglas-fir was the associate unit in the community shown here with scattered ponderosa pine and black cottonwood. Common shrubs included ninebark, birchleaf spiraea, red osier dogwood, common snowberry, and, along streams and depressions, Sitka or mountain alder. Willows were limited to the riparian zone and did not grow under grand fir. Most of this community had an understory dominated by the forb, arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis).

SAF No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem) and K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) as shown in Agriculture Handbook No. 475, but this inclusion of K-13 under Western Larch is very confusing (at least to this author).  SAF 213 which is the Grand fir forest cover type. Franklin and Dryness (1973, ps. 193-198) designated and described this vegetation as the Abies grandis zone. Abies grandis/Senecio triangularis habitat type. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Clearwater Mountains). June. 

   
 
  15. Grand fir forest- This is another view of the same stand shown in the preceding slide. The dominant herbaceous understory is visible. Dominant herb is arrowleaf groundsel. It is “accompanied by” wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), several ferns (especially lady fern [Athyrium filix-femina] and small patches of bracken [Pteridium aquilinum]), and false bugbane (Trautvetteria grandis). Most of these dominant forbs, except for the groundsel, were also dominant in the understory of western red cedar. This latter understory was somewhat better developed than that of the grand fir forest shown here. Viewers may see the understory and false bugbane with the slides of the western red cedar climax taken in the DeVoto Grove of the Clearwater National Forest shown below.

Grand fir is a tolerant species and on some sites (such as shown here) is the climax. On such sites grand fir succeeds species that are typically seral for those sites (eg. western white pine, ponderosa pine, western larch, and, even, Douglas-fir). Only the most tolerant species of the region, western hemlock and western redcedar, will— on some sites —succeed grand fir. Succession to these two regional or climatic climax species can require centuries, time enough for disturbances like windthrow and wildfire to intervene (Eyre, 1980, p. 94). It could be underscored that this potential sequence in which grand fir is seral to western hemlock and western redcedar was based on Clementsian monoclimax theory. According to polyclimax or climax pattern theories grand fir-dominated forest would be an edaphic or topographic climax (ie.Kuchler’s Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest).    

Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest of Kuchler (1964, 1966), K-13; Abies grandis zone of Franklin and Dryness (1973, ps. 193-198). Abies grandis/Senecio triangularis habitat type. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001).

More slides and details of the grand fir forest cover type (SAF 213) were presented below in this section  under the subheading of Silvilcultural Practices in the Northern Rocky Mountain Mixed Conifer Forest.

   
 
  16. Arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis)- This is a widely distributed forest and range forb. The beautiful specimen in full-flower seen here was “captured” in Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado. August.
   
 
  17. Composite shot of the famed “Idaho Mix”- This second-growth forest is a composite of the Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer type that was discussed in the introduction to the Forest Range Types of the Northern Rocky Mountains and Interior Pacific Northwest above. As discussed therein his has been variously interpreted as either a seral or climax community. It was also noted at that point— and citing the relevant authorities—  that this mixed conifer type of the Northern Rockys was interpreted in this publication as a climax type. Species in the “line-up” seen here include western red cedar (tree at extreme left side, tree at extreme right side), western white pine (third tree from left; trunk is shaded so appears dark), grand fir (second and third trunk from left; one on either side of western pine),and western hemlock (fifth tree from left or second from right, smallest tree in foreground). The herbaceous layer dominates the understory with wild ginger and bunchberry dogwood more or less co-dominant. Bracken fern was widespread and sword fern (Polystichum munitum) was common in depressions. The sparse shrub layer included serviceberry, blue huckleberry (Vaccinium globulare), western thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), and widely scattered individuals of Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). One or even two layers of trees grew below the canopy. These consisted primarily of regeneration of western red cedar and intermediate-aged grand fir. The seral western white pine shared the canopy with western red cedar and grand fir.

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest). SAF 227 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).

St. Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
  18. Interior Northwest mixed conifer forest- This is another example of the “Idaho Mix” of second-growth trees. Larger trees in foreground or “front row” (L. to R.): western white pine, western hemlock, grand fir (center; third trunk from left or second from right), western white pine (fourth trunk from left or first on right), and western red cedar (boughs along far right side). Most of the smaller trees (those of the second, lower, or shorter, tree layer) were mostly western red cedar. This illustrates the climax and shade-tolerant status of western red cedar. Relatively larger (and closer to mature age as indicated by bark) western white pine was evidence of the seral status of this species: western white pines were older (earlier in plant succession; appeared sooner on the sere). The larger shrub visible at right is fool’s huckleberry or mock azalea (Mensiesia ferruginea). An herb layer was absent in this dense second-growth forest except for widely scattered forbs like queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), wild ginger, and bunchberry dogwood. This second-growth forest was a seral community for which climax is likely the western redcedar/queencup beadlily (Thuja plicata/Clintonia uniflora habitat type, Menziesia ferruginea phase.  FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Ecosystem), K-13 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest.  SAF 227 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).

St. Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
  19. The “Idaho Mix”- This second-growth mixed conifer forest in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of the Northern Rocky Mountain Province (the   Interior Pacific Northwest vs. Coastal Pacific Northwest) has tremendous species diversity because it is the last seral or subclimax stage of plant succession on this site. Younger western red cedar (the climax dominant) and western hemlock (the climax associate) are replacing the seral western white pine and grand fir. The three front trees are all western white pine (this illustrates the variation in bark among individuals of this species). The large tree behind and to the right side of the largest (left-most) white pine is a western red cedar. The second tree in this “second row” (tree between the largest pine and red cedar and the second white pine) is a grand fir. The next trunk (smallest tree in the total “lineup”) is a western red cedar. The taller shrub is fool’s huckleberry or mock azalea. Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridum) occurred as spreading but widely scattered plants (a smaller specimen is evident in front of the largest white pine and red cedar on the left). The herb layer was dominated locally by bunchberry dogwood which was  accompanied by creeping Oregon grape and miscellaneous small forbs like violet (Viola glabella). In some places deeper into the forest there were two herb layers with a taller layer composed of largely of oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) and maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum) above the bunchberry-Oregon grape layer. This community was so locally complex that the exact habitat type could not be determined. Presence of seral species and numerous old stumps from the logged old-growth forest indicated that this forest had not “settled down” to it’s climax state. Seral status of western white pine was shown and discussed in the next photograph.
   
  FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest). SAF 221 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
  St.Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho, June.
   
 
  20. Canopy of the trees seen in previous slide- This is an exterior view of the upperstory of  the forest seen immediately above. The dead tips of the spires of western white pine (note attached cones) show that these trees teach at least three lessons in Forestry. First, from the standpoint of commercial or industrial forestry (“board-foot” forestry) these trees are “over-ripe” for the best timber and quality lumber (ie. they are “past their natural prime” for logging and should have been harvested several years ago; they are “rotting in the field”). This past-due harvest constitutes a loss of valuable clear lumber to society and loss of cash income-profit to the lumber company as a firm. This is a wasteful (improper) forestry practice that violates “the gospel of efficiency” (ie. it is economically and silviculturally inefficient because these old trees have a growth rate that is nil and their yield is declining (ie. rate and quantity of wood accretion is being exceeded by wood loss through decomposition or, put in woods lingo, more wood is rotting away than is being grown or replaced). Second, and of major concern to the loggers, is the danger posed by these dead tops. These are “widow makers”. Such rotting tops can readily break off in the felling process and kill or cripple the fellers. Again, from the standpoint of industrial forestry, failing to harvest over-mature and slow- (or non-) growing trees is a wasteful proposition.

However, these trees teach other lessons from the standpoint of forest ecology and less intensively managed commercial forests. These dead and dying trees are a natural feature of the forest ecosystem and they serve desirable, if not essential, functions in the forest ecosystem, functions with which the ecosystem evolved. When these tops fall to ground (hopefully no human winds up under them) they will be ultimately be incorporated into the soil as humus and recycled nutrients. Before that stage they will serve as “blotters” or “sponges” to hold precious water from precipitation and slowly release this moisture into the soil. The logs that finally fall from the dead trees may become “nurse logs” for species like western hemlock. Long before that stage the dead spires and, finally, snags serve as homes for wildlife species such as cavity nesting birds and mammals (eg. squirrels, coons, pine martins). Also, the rotting wood serves as media for fungi which are then used as feed for rodents which in their turn serve  as prey for predators like the famous (or infamous) northern subspecies of the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis curina).

The high amount of dead, rotting wood is a feature of old-growth forest (ie. rate of wood lost to decomposition equals rate or amount of wood produced). This is why, in the context of this forest ecology lesson, old-growth forests are essential for continued survival of species like the aforementioned hooter. (From this biological relationship grew the intriguing sociopoliticoeconomic tale of the northern spotted owl and old-growth forest of the Pacific Northwest.) And this is why, in the context of efficient forest management, foresters desire to harvest old-growth forests and convert them into forests of young, actively growing trees which are producing a net yield of wood (positive wood biomass accretion). In between, bird-watchers just want to have the owl to view and the loggers, logging truck drivers, and mill workers just want a job and beans on the plate. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” 

Another forest ecology lesson taught by the dead tops is one of forest succession and climax forest vegetation. The occurrence of young and regenerating tolerant western red cedar and western hemlock growing beneath older, dying western white pine which left few “heirs” (offspring) demonstrates that on this forest site the former are climax species while the latter species is seral. In other words, this second-growth is still passing along its sere moving irrevocably toward its climax, the Clementsian Thuja-Tsuga association. Again, this is site-specific because, as seen below, there are some sites and/or conditions under which western white pine, often along with western larch, constitutes the climax (ie. the Clementsian Larix-Pinus association). 

FRES 12 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 221 (Western Redcedar-Western Heemlock). Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).

St. Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
  21. Understorey of Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- This is the understorey of the local forest community seen in the preceding two slides. Bunchberry dogwood is in full-flower and quite conspicuous. Creeping Oregon grape and violet are also present. Note cones of western white pine. FRES No. 12 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 221 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).

St. Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June

   
 
  22. Bunchberry dogwood and its friends- Close-up of bunchberry dogwood (along with creeping Oregon grape and violet) on forest floor of the subclimax western white pine forest shown above. St. Joe National Forest, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.
   
 
  23. Transitory forest range in Northern Rocky Mountains- The dichotomy of forest range as being either permanent (as in parklike ponderosa pine forests) or transitory with a grazable-browsable understorey only until closure of canopy shuts out light (as in dense stands of southern pine or Pacific Douglas-fir) was drawn repeatedly throughout this publication. Examples and discussion of the latter were less commonly given herein because climax vegetation was emphasized. It was also made clear, however, that rangeland and forest cover types can be either seral or climax with distinctions not always clear or known (Eyre, 1980, ps. 1, 3; Shiflet, 1994, ps. xi-xii). The range vegetation in this slide was obviously seral and a disturbance-induced community. As such, exact designation of this plant community wasunclear but it was definitely part of the general (regional) Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest. Dominant trees were young individuals of western white pine and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) while a smaller number of  western larch established this species as the associate. Trees of these three species came in following fire, most likely as an invasion of the preceding fire-caused shrubfield seral stage (Baumgartner et al., 1993, p. 48). Shortly after establishment and rapid early growth of the pines white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) took out most of the western white pine (their snags stand testimony to this biotic perturbation) leaving the lodgepole and smaller numbers of  larch. Lodgepole pine has matured enough to regenerate. There was enough of a whitepine seedbank in the soil that this species was also exhibiting regeneration (as can be seen here clearly), but mostly not from the post-fire cohorts. Later— as evidenced by smaller, younger trees— grand fir began invading as did Douglas-fir at a much lower rate of recruitment.

An understory consisting of one shrub and one herbaceous layer was present throughout most of this community which qualified it as a range vegetation type. Dominant herbaceous species was pinegrass  (= pine reedgrass) with sedges (Carex spp.) and introduced and naturalized Kentucky bluegrass and timothy common in localized patches and clumps, respectively. While there were shrubs (common snowberry, birchleaf spiraea, and some huckleberry species [Vaccinium sp.]) enough to form a localized woody component this was clearly secondary to the herbaceous layer. Cooper et al. (1991, ps. 78-79) described a Pinus  contorta series consisting on one habitat type (climax) and two community types (seral), but none of these seemed to describe either this community or the likely climax vegetation. It was possible that the potential natural vegetation (climax) was one of the grand fir habitat types.

FRES, Kuchler, and SAF designations were uncertain. It was possible that this was climax lodgepole pine forest (FRES No. 26), but prior co-dominance with western white pine (or even predominance by this species) made FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem) seem equally plausible. Loss of western white pine to an alien (non-native) species of rust would most certainly not disqualify this type as being part of FRES No. 22 as the potential natural vegetation. Northern Rockies- St. Joe Schist-Gneiss Zone Ecoregion, 15p (McGrath et al., 2001).

Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.
  .
  An understory consisting of one shrub and one herbaceous layer was present throughout most of this community which qualified it as a range vegetation type. Dominant herbaceous species was pinegrass  (= pine reedgrass) with sedges (Carex spp.) and introduced and naturalized Kentucky bluegrass and timothy common in localized patches and clumps, respectively. While there were shrubs (common snowberry, birchleaf spiraea, and some huckleberry species [Vaccinium sp.]) enough to form a localized woody component this was clearly secondary to the herbaceous layer. Cooper et al. (1991, ps. 78-79) described a Pinus  contorta series consisting on one habitat type (climax) and two community types (seral), but none of these seemed to describe either this community or the likely climax vegetation. It was possible that the potential natural vegetation (climax) was one of the grand fir habitat types.
 
  24.   Interior of the seral forest (transitory forest range) presented in preceding slide- Largest tree (right foreground) is lodgepole pine, center (second largest) tree and tree to side of it (partly visible upper bole) are western white pine, sapling at far left is lodgepole pine, and small tree with lush foliage at extreme right side is grand fir. Grasses are mostly Kentucky bluegrass (in foreground with brown-colored flower culms), pine reedgrass, timothy. Sedges also common. Benewah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  25. Close-up of the understory shown in preceding slide- Lodgepole pine (basal trunk, far right foreground; basal portion of sapling left, center foreground ), western white pine (center background), and grand fir (tree with foliage at far left margin; seedling, foreground  at left margin). Grass in foreground is Kentucky bluegrass and timothy. FRES, Kuchler, and SAF designations were uncertain on this botanically diverse seral stage. Value of the understorey of this community for range was quite certain. Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.
   
 
 

26. Understorey of western white pine-dominated forest- Another view of the seral forest shown in the last  three slides. Lodgepole pine was locally absent, but grand fir invasion is obvious in background and in the trunk of the sapling (centermost tree). Western white pine is regarded as having relatively low genetic diversity but there is considerable tree-to-tree variation in bark features among young trees seen here. The coarse bark of the two white pines in the foreground of this photograph is atypical plus it is still partly wet from a recent shower so identification would be difficult were it not for the telltale lesion of white pine blister rust on the trunk of the doomed specimen on the left. More readily identified is the pine reedgrass (=pine grass) with unusually abundant flowering stalks and characteristic interrupted spikelike panicles (foreground). Pinegrass forage is generally lower in nutritive value than other native grass species like Idaho fescue or pine bluegrass, but it is one higher yielding grasses native to this region.  

FRES, Kuchler, SAF not conclusive, but at local habitat scale this appeared to be FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem) and SAF 215. If grand fir succeeded white pine this would be SAF 231.

   
 
  27. Lesion of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) on western white pine- This is an example of the characteristic lesion caused by this species of Basidiomycetes rust which was inadvertently (and unfortunately) introduced from Asia into the forests of North America. This pathogen more than any other factor— though certainly in concert with overlogging, especially high-grading, underburning, outbreaks of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), and silvicultural systems that omitted western white pine— led to the near practical extinction of the Idaho lumberman’s favorite tree known affectionately as “King Pine”. Readers interested in the history and sad epic of western white pine should refer to the outstanding book by Strong and Webb (1970), but they should also read the case for some optimism presented by Neuenschwander et al. (1999) and Fins et al. (2001). Details of the life cycle of white pine blister rust can be found in standard Plant Pathology texts. 
   
 
  28. Exterior view of old-growth western white pine forest- Trees from left to right in this “line-up”:western white pine with characteristic orientation of cones, western hemlock (note drooping tips of branches), western larch, western white pine. This is the climax larch-pine forest, the Pinus-Larix Association of Clements (Clements, 1920, ps. 219-221; Weaver and Clements, 1938, ps. 503-504). The U.S. Forest Service did not recognize either western white pine or western larch forests as climax. Neither Cooper et al. (1991) for northern Idaho nor Pfister et al. 1977) for Montana recognized any habitat types for these two species because they interpreted these as seral species. This was clearly inconsistent with the earlier Forest Service recognition/designation of the Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem though this handbook noted the seral status of western white pine (Garrison et al, 1977, p. 24). Nor did the Montana Pre-settlement Vegetation Classification Outline (Montana Natural Heritage Program, 1988) present a Pinus monticola series. The author of the current publication concurred with the designation of Clements (1920) and Clements and Weaver (1938) and interpreted old-growth western white pine-western larch as a climax cover type. The interpretation of earlier workers viewed this as climax based on the regional scale of this type as determined by distribution of relicts of virgin vegetation and its spatial extent prior to massive disturbances by white man.

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock Pine Forest). SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  29. Interior of old-growth western white pine- Inside of the forest seen in the previous slide viewed from a slightly different angle (up-hill on a north slope). This is nearly a single species stand of western white pine except for an occasional stray Douglas-fir (eg. smaller tree at far left and right margins) which migrated in from large seed trees up-hill from this site. Interestingly, there is obvious regeneration of western white pine as indicated by a number of smaller pines (This was even more evident in the next slide in this sequence.) Understory dominant is creeping Oregon grape, but queencup beadlily, fools’s huckleberry, heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), and northern bedstraw (Galium triflorum) were also present. Graminoids were absent. FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest). SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
 

30. Interior of old-growth western white pine- This is the same forest as seen in the last two photographs. At local scale it is a closed canopy with absolutely no understory whatsoever except for some species of moss which was growing on the deep sponge-like duff of “pine straw” (= pine needles) that has accumulated over the years. This understory literally has a “bounce” to it when walked on and is characteristic of dense old-growth western white pine (personal communication: Mr. Jack Puckett, forest and range fuels specialist, U.S, Forest Service, retired; June 2001). Viewers should note that there is regeneration of western white pine in this old-growth forest. While this was not a forest stand consisting of numerous ages neither was it an even-aged forest. There were at least two cohort ages, roughly speaking, in this community. The reproduction of western white pine would seem unusual given the seral status of this species which is so typically regenerated by patch-creating disturbances, notably wildfire. Yet, western white pine was rated as “intermediate” in tolerance which, by the way, it shared with sugar pine, the other major lumber white pine in western North America (Wenger, 1984, p. 3). Thus, it has been established that this species does regenerate to some extent in it’s own shade. This feature coupled with its presence as a relict from natural wildfire likely explains the associate species nature of western white pine even in western red cedar-western hemlock forests (Baumgartner et al., ps. 42-48) as well as it’s natural co-dominance with western larch in the western larch-white pine climax of Clements. (Once again, the famed  “Idaho Mix” described above.) Western larch, western red cedar, western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and Grand fir were all present within this general local area, but only the first two species were “captured” in this photo-frame. The reddish log on the ground in center of photograph was western larch. Western red cedar can be seen: the tree closest to left margin, the tree (with entire lower trunk visible) closest to right margin, and the second (from left) of the three larger trunks in foreground. Otherwise, “pure” western white pine.    

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.
   
 
 

31. Inside a virgin western white pine forest- This is a consociation of western white pine, in fact a nearlysingle-species stand except for a few western red cedar, western hemlock, and Douglas fir which are out of camera range. The trees in this virgin forest are not as large as some of the old-growth specimens of yesteryear, but this nice relict stand clearly showed why the old-time timbermen loved  “king Pine” and why today’s foresters are “pulling out the stops” to restore this magnificent tree to its throne in the Inland Pacific Northwest. This “dog-hair” stand has a multi-aged structure (at very least two generations are obvious) proving that the pine is reproducing but, as is the usual case for such crowding, all trees were relatively small (by standards for trees of this species on this favorable site). This crowded stand was compared to a more open (more widely dispersed) forest less than 100 yards distant three slides from now. The spongy layer of pine needles and moss is clearly apparent as is much downed timber which is characteristic of old-growth forests in general. 

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains), June.
   
 
 

32. Floor of virgin western white pine forest- A mound created by an uprooted forest giant is now covered with the spongy mixture of pine straw and some moss. This is a reminder of the value of forests in watershed protection and yield of water for ownstream- and down-the-mountain users. It also illustrates nutrient cycling in forest and range ecosystems while the Lilliputian moss reminds students that no species regardless of its apparent financial worthlessness is really insignificant in ecosystem structure and function and, ultimately, in economic impact. The down branch with browning needles was recently wind-torn from a mature white pine. FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.

 
 

33. The dead wood and downed timber of an old-growth western white pine forest- It is hard to see in the dim-lite, dark interior of this virgin western white pine stand, but viewers can see the old snags of western white pine (eg. biggest trunk, front and center of slide) and decaying downed tops and limbs that are good indicators of the old-growth status of this forest community. This is an example of the architecture and interior physiogonomy of a climax forest dominated by chronologically-physiologically mature trees. At this endpoint of both plant and ecosystem succession the net rate of wood accumulation or biomass accretion is zero: wood produced by net primary productivity equals wood lost by decay. Most of the older-cohort trees are at or approaching the final stage of old-age and are rotting away (ie. they are at the down-slope point of the maturity stage on the sigmoid growth curve which represents the life cycle of every living thing). It was explained above when discussing the dead spires of mature timber in the canopy of an Idaho mixed conifer forest that this natural process of decay is a waste of valuable stumpage, a commodity capable of generating profit and building material, and yet also a feature of natural ecosystems which serves essential roles in the functions of forest ecosystems. Specifically, snags serve as food sources for invertebrates which become food for wildlife such as woodpeckers. Snags also serve as nest sites for cavity dwelling animals. Once fallen, these snags become water-retaining logs which slowly release this life-giving  moisture until finally the rotted wood becomes a source of humus and soil minerals. Before that final stage of decomposition the dead wood serves as food for saprophytes (both vascular plants as well as fungi) and other reducers like microorganisms. At this stage dead, rotting wood continues to serve as a food source for insects like grubs or ants which in turn can be eaten by big game like bears. On the other hand, this “balance of Nature” could be so completely balanced that job-creating, building material-supplying lumber companies could not balance their books. Then there would be no dividends paid to stock-holding retirees, many of whom are members of the Sierra Club and native plant societies. Nor would there be that source of revenue which helps in the provision of the essential services of government and private enterprise (eg. a portion, typically a quarter, of the revenue from stumpage goes to the local county to support schools and roads).  A balance is required in all aspects of the ecosystem which certainly includes the human dimension, man as ecosystem manipulator.

This view of a densely populated (closely spaced, narrowly dispersed) forest of western white pine provided pictorial evidence of the ability of this species to regenerate in its own shade, but the death of a large proportion of the younger cohorts was also evident. Thick stands of western white pine as seen here were the result of high rates of seedling establishment in clearings created by natural disturbances like crown fires and windthrow (or perhaps outbreaks of mountain pine beetle), but size (especially diameter) was much less than in more open stands of this species which is rated as having intermediate tolerance. The next slide of an adjoining community provided a comparison that illustrated the result of forest crowding (and the benefit of tree thinning, by natural or artificial means).

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
 

34. Another local variant of the old-growth western white pine forest- Amazingly, this forest community dominated by widely spaced western white pine with western red cedar as the associate species grew less than 90 yards from the forest vegetation shown in the last six slides (and with basically the same slope and aspect). Here the individual old-growth trees were over twice the diameter as on the “dog-hair” stand. The much greater spacing among trees did not allow a closed canopy of interlocking branches. Rather, it was more of a woodland overstory and physiogonomy which allowed a rich multi-layer understorey to florish. The two immense old-growth specimens of western white pine in the foreground are examples of what made this pine the loggers’ favorite and what made history for the Idaho Panhandle. The center large trunk is western red cedar. Small trunks of downed young trees were white pine and grand fir that were brought down by the crash of a top-broken mature white pine (barely visible in left background). Seedlings of all these conifers (plus a few of Douglas-fir) grew throughout the understorey. Understorey shrubs included ninebark, Rocky Mountain maple, birchleaf spiraea, common snowberry, serviceberry, creeping Oregon grape, thimbleberry, and Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana). Pine reedgrass was the major grass present, but it was widely scattered as were a few plants of sedges.      

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).   

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.

  FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
  Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  35. Ground level of virgin western white pine-mixed conifer forest- Shown here is another view of the understorey of the same old-growth Idaho mixed conifer forest dominated by western white pine seen in the preceding slide, and about 90 yards from the old-growth “dog-hair” stand shown just before that. Huge trunk on the left with lichen is grand fir. The “almost-as-big” trunk to it’s right is a mature western white pine as are the two samplings immediately in front (and to left and right) and the dead one with peeling bark. The boughs with dense needles showing new growth by the young white pine and the dark green and densely foliated young tree in left background are Douglas-fir. The dominant forb is bracken fern which is of a stunted size under this multi-storied woody overstory. The second most abundant forb is common horsetail (Equisetum arvense).

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains). June.

   
 
 

36. Old-growth western white pine forest- Another view of the same virgin forest seen in the last eight slides showing even more widely spaced trees and, therefore, a more open and better developed understorey than observed in previous photographs. Regeneration of western white pine was even more prolific than in the preceding views. A greater number of shrub species were also observed even though this immediate vegetation was less than 20 yards from that shown in the last two photographs. Shrubs included ocean spray, ninebark, birachleaf spiraea, Rocky; Mountain maple, thimbleberry, common snowberry, serviceberry, and Nootka rose. Douglas-fir and grand fir seedlings were abundant in microsites such as depressions. The herb layer was mostly suppressed by the multi-layer woody understorey.    

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 

The western white pine forest at Heyburn State Park shown in the last nine slides illustrated the remarkable variation of the mixed conifer forest (the “Idaho Mix”) of the Interior Pacific Northwest that can occur at local scale. From the perspective of range management this was a textbook case of the problems that are often encountered in establishing proper stocking rates— those that provide for full proper use of the forage/browse resource while allowing regeneration of commercially and ecologically important woody plants all the while providing for maximum watershed protection— on public land allotments and commercial forests. Tremendous local variation in vegetation (“translated” into livestock and game feed, wildlife habitat, watershed, and board foot of timber), water availability, soils (site potential), topography (accessibility of  feed), and so forth often occurs over the area encompassed by a management unit such as a range, allotment, forest compartment, state park, etc. 

The resources (natural and otherwise) present over a management unit, along with the location and variation of these resources, necessitated the early—and often first— form of range analysis known as range reconnaissance or range surveying. Reconnaissance was defined by the Society for Range Management as “ a general examination or survey of a region with reference to its main features, usually as a preliminary act to a more detailed survey (Jacoby, 1989). The Society of American Foresters offered this definition: “An extensive range survey. Reconnaissance method is a standard technique in range surveys for estimating average density and composition of range vegetation within a type or subtype without use of systematically established plots” (Hawley, 1950).  Historical note: it was often the case that the Society of American Foresters “had a better handle [ax as it were] on” things range than did the American Society of Range Management and, even more so, than the later Society for Range Management with it’s perpetual self-proclaimed “identity crisis”.  The Hawley (1950) definition stated exactly and precisely what actual range reconnaissance consisted of. The reconnaissance method of mapping range features with emphasis on range vegetation as “types” was the heart of early range surveys.

Reconnaissance as either a formal process, as was often the case on public land in the “early days”, or informal, as on private ranchlands, was often the first study made of the range. Formal range surveying, especially as conducted by government conservation agencies, was prelude and prerequisite to scientific planning of range use. Range reconnaissance was often the main activity that beginning government rangemen became involved in, and those early range surveys, extensive though they were, provided some of the most useful information ever gathered on the public ranges in North America. Mini editorial: the range surveys done by junior officers in agencies like the U.S. Forest Service were worth more than all the environmental impact statements ever printed and wasted on American pulp.

A good introductory discussion of range surveys was published in Stoddart and Smith (1943, chapter IX).

   
 
  37. Birchleaf spiraea (Spiraea betulifolia)- This member of the rose family is one of the most widely distributed browse plants in North America extending across the northern portions of the entire Western Range. For example, it was shown previously in the understory of the Black Hills ponderosa pine forest where it was a major shrub species.  The example seen here was in the understorey of the virgin western white pine-mixed conifer forest seen in the last nine slides. Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains of the Northern Rocky Mountain Region). June.
   
 
  38. Ninebark or mallow ninebark (Physocarpus monogynus)- This is another member of the rose family (in fact, the same subfamily, Spiraeoideae) that is a highly desirable and widely distributed browse plant. This one was member of the same western white pine-dominated Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer seen in the above 10 slides taken of Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  39. “King Pine” and it’s royal escort- This marvelous specimen of western or Idaho white pine is the sort that made its species famous among loggers and beloved of foresters. This beauty was over a yard DBH (diameter breast height) and at the edge of the same western white pine-dominated mixed conifer forest featured in the last 11 slides taken at Heyburn State Park. The delightful rose blooming at its feet is Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana). This duo is a representative composite of the combination of forest tree canopy and shrubby understory which was often present even in old-growth western white pine and/or Idaho mixed conifer forest of other than dog-hair tree density.

FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem), N-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest), SAF 215 (Western White Pine). Benewah County, Idaho (Coeur d’Alene Mountains, Northern Rocky Mountain Region). June.

Many to most of the western or Idaho white pine growing in Heyburn State Park have natural resistance to the dreaded introduced white pine blister rust. The cones of these genotypes are routinely gathered at Heyburn as sources of germ plasm from which to propagate seedlings and develop rust-resistant strains of white pine. Easily read accounts of these sorts of breeding program can be found in  Neuenschwander et al. 1999) and Finnis et al. (2001). Alliances of the U.S. forest Service, state forestry programs, and groups like the Inland Empire Tree Improvement Cooperative are working feverishly to develop blister rust-resistant pines to restore this once grand “King Pine” to the Northern Rockys. Unfortunately, a number of recent forces have slowed progress in restoration of Idaho white pine forests. These range from cutbacks for research into rust resistance to changed silvicultural systems (especially fewer clearcuts which could restore western white pine faster) and shorter timber rotations which do not favor larger species like white pine (Neuenschwander et al. 1999, p. 14). Time will tell if man is able to restore the once magnificent western white pine forest of the Inland Empire.

   
 

 

40. Strobili and shoot- Two megasporangiate strobili on shoot tip of western white pine. These female organs and subsequent photographs of ovuliferous cones (immature and mature) were growing on the same young tree. Gymnosperms are those spermatophytes that bear naked seeds. (Gymnospermae is the classification unit--traditionally, a class--, of the Spermatophyta, classification unit--usually a division--of seed-bearing plants, that bear naked seeds.) Gymnosperms are not flowering or fruit-bearing plants so terms used for angiosperms (class, Angiospermae) like staminate or pistillate are not appropriate (ie. are not botanically precise or specific). In gymnosperms the gamete (often called "spore")-bearing part of the gymnosperm is the sporophyll. The male sporophyll, microsporophyll, is smaller than the female sporophyll, the megasporophyll. Sporophylls are organized into cones or, more technically, strobili (plural; strobilus, singluar) so that male cones are microsporangiate strobili and female cones are megasporangiate strobili.

As megasporangiate strobili of most gymnosperms (eg. most of the conifers) continue to develop into obvious seed-bearing structures the term cone is applied to them. At this arbitrary but obvious stage the megasporangiate strobilus with its developing naked seeds becomes a cone (typically woody) which is referred to as the ovuliferous (= female) cone. Examples of ovuliferous cones of western white pine were shown in immediately following photographs.

Latah County, Idaho. June (late spring).

   
 

 

41. Cluster of young female cones- Group of immature ovuliferous cones of western white pine. These cones were on the same tree as the two megasporangiate strobili presented in the two immediately preceding photographs. The shield-shaped or plate-like structures are the developing megasporophylls, generally called ovuliferous scales (technically outgrowths thereof ) each of which on its adaxial ("upper") side bears two ovules that are ripenen into seeds. In some conifers like the pines the seed-contaning scale is a thin, parchment-like structure that is an evolutionary adaptation for wind dispersal.

Readers were referred to standard botantical texts for details of sexual reproduction in the conifers. Incidentially the term conifer is from Coniferae, the taxon (usually order) of plants having nonmotile sperm, leaves known as needles and ovulate strobilus that mature into woody or fleshy cones. Most are monoecious (ie. again, male and female strobili). In more recent (vs. the classic or traditional) taxonomic treatment the Gymnospermae became the division, Pinophyta.

Latah County, Idaho. June (late spring).
   
 
 

42. Different ages on the same stage- Mature and immature female cones on the same branch of western white pine. This was branch was on the same tree whose female structures were discussed in the preceding two two-slide sets. In temperate regions two years are required for female strobili to develop into mature, seed-bearing cones.

Latah County, Idaho. June (late spring).

   
 
  43. Branch tip of western white pine- Needles and mature cones of western white pine. Marion County, Oregon. June.
   
  The other regional or climatic climax forest of the Inland Pacific Northwest traditionally recognized by foresters and other ecologists was the cedar-hemlock forest, the Clementsian Thuja-Tsuga association of the Thuja-Tsuga formation (Clements, 1920, 214-219; Weaver and Clements, 1938, ps. 481, 500-504). This formation consisting of the Larix-Pinus and Thuja-Tsuga associations was discussed at beginning of this section. It was also discussed above that more recent workers did not recognize the western larch-western white pine association nor did they regard either of these species as climax trees. Instead, they interpreted these species as seral in the overall climax western red cedar-western hemlock forest.
   
  These forest ecologists viewed certain other conifers as comprising climax forest vegetation at the smaller scale of habitat types which were grouped within the more general and larger spatial scale level of classification designated as series.  In this Habitat Type Classification ecologists like Pfister  et al. (1977) for Montana and Cooper et al. (1991) for northern Idaho recognized such units as Tsuga heterophylla series, Thuja plicata series, Abies lasiocarpa series, Abies grandis series, Pseudotsuga menziesii series, Pinus ponderosa series, and Pinus contorta series.
   
  Some representative samples of these series were presented and discussed below.
   
  Western red cedar is the co-dominant with western hemlock at regional-scale. At both regional and local scales the forests of the Northern Rocky Mountain and Cascade  (Inland Pacific Northwest) Region are composed variously of several dominant and associate species (ie. mixed conifer forest), but at local scale on some habitat types there are some consociations and essentially single-species stands. This is the case for ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, western larch, and especially western red cedar. The latter sometimes forms groves of massive old-growth specimens. Tracy and Johnson in Baumgartner et al. (1994, ps. 53-55) regarded these western red cedar “cathedral groves” as “the ultimate old-growth” noting that they inspired awe and wonder on par with giant sequoia or coast redwood. Grand fir, western hemlock, and Englemann spruce are the more common associate species in such cedar groves.
   
 
 

44. Exterior view of western red cedar grove- An outside-looking-in view of the classic Clementsian climax of the Northern Rocky Mountains. In monoclimax theory the climax is the climatic or regional climax which has as its theoretical terminus that vegetation which would exist if the land at regional spatial scale was worn down to level of a peneplane (where climate is the main set of factors acting on and affecting landscape over span of geologic time). A good concise explanation of this monoclimax interpretation for beginning students is Spurr and Barnes (1980, p. 413).

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-2 (Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 228 (Western Redcedar). The FRES and Kuchler designations differ slightly from those of the western white pine-dominated forest type(s) in having relatively less pine and relatively more Douglas-fir which puts this in the Douglas-fir instead of western white pine ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977). Otherwise, and far more importantly, the overwhelming dominance and almost exclusive tree cover by western red cedar places this in the SAF western redcedar cover type. At mapping scale of Kuchler’s potential natural vegetation (1:7,500,000) this is mapped the same as that of the western white pine consociation which is K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine Forest) or perhaps K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest), but at local scale of habitat type it is K-2. DeVoto Grove, Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho  (Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
  45. Interior view of the western red cedar forest (a consociation, essentially single-species stand with traces of Douglas-fir and western hemlock)- That the tolerance rating of this species as “ very tolerant” (Wenger, 1984, p. 3) is well-deserved and that this is a climax species capable of readily regenerating in it’s “own shade” is clearly seen here. The presence of several different age classes of western red cedar was shown here (note even little seedlings as well as saplings and trees of intermediate size) and in the immediately preceding and succeeding photographs. The understory was well developed but primarily limited to herbs, the dominant species of which varied by microsite with one species generally existing as a colony in different microenvironments. Areas of a few dozen square yards were often populated exclusively (not just dominated) by first one and then another single species. These included lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), false bugbane (Trautvetteria caroliniensis), maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), bracken fern, trail plant (Adenocaulon bicolor), common horsetail (Equisetum arvense), and western thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus). This was even more obvious in the following photograph but apparent in this slide also.

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-2 (Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 228 (Western Redcedar). Designations were explained in preceding slide. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). DeVoto Grove, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Clearwater Mountains). June. 

   
 
  46. A so-called “cathedral grove” of western red cedar- This marvelous old-growth grove is a single species stand of western red cedar (with a few “strays” of western hemlock and Douglas-fir in the background by banks of a shallow stream) but one with a species-rich herbaceous understory. Forbs included lady fern, maidenhair fern, bracken fern, common horsetail, false bugbane, and trail plant.Western thimbleberry was the one common shrub. Lady fern was locally dominant allowing this community to be easily identified as the Thuja plicata/Athyrium filix-femina habitat type (Cooper et al., 1991, p. 28-29). Regeneration of the very tolerant western red cedar occurred throughout this magnificent grove. As visible here and the two immediately preceding photographs this is a textbook of an uneven-aged climax forest. It also served as an excellent example of the architecture and layering of vegetation which often exist even in climax forests of giant trees.
   
 

  47. Branch of western red cedar (Thuja plicata)- Needles and immature cones of western red cedar or arborvitae in first photograph. Mature cones in second photograph. Benton County, Oregon. June.
   
 
 

48. Detail of the understorey in a virgin western red cedar cathedral grove- Detailed shot of a “Dukes mixture” of forbs and shrubs in the understorey of the old-growth consociation of western red cedar shown in the preceding three slides. This botanically diverse local understorey community was atypical in this grove where local microenvironments were populated almost exclusively by a single species. Species clearly visible include common horsetail, lady fern, false bugbane, and western thimbleberry (distinct white inflorescence). DeVoto Grove, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June. 

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-2 (Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir), SAF 228 (Western Redcedar). The absence of western white pine and the presence of trace specimens of Douglas-fir was basis of this as K-2 versus K-12 (Cedar-Hemlock-Pine) even though at regional mapping scale (1:750,000) Kuchler designated this as K-12 or alternatively as K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). Western red cedar-lady fern habitat type. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). DeVoto Grove, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho (Clearwater Mountains). June.

   
 
  49. False bugbane- This member of the Ranunculaceae (the buttercup family) was an abundant and striking forest forb on the floor of a virgin cathedral grove of western red cedar. DeVoto Grove, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.
   
 

The pristine western red cedar forest and its components shown in the preceding five photographs did not have much by way of forage or browse for livestock or wildlife. In fact, some species like bracken fern and common horsetail are frequently toxic to livestock.  However, western thimbleberry was noted in the Range Plant Handbook as sometimes being a fairly important browse plant although it varies in palatability (Forest Service, 1940, B138).

While old-growth forest of many cover types are often of quite limited value for range (probably more true for old-growth coniferous than deciduous forests) “replacement (seral) forest” created by natural or human disturbances are often quite productive of palatable and nutritious forage and browse. Transitory forest range was discussed routinely herein. Forests with more open canopies (less crown cover) allow more light to reach the forest floor and hence support more grazable/browsable understory. This is most pronounced in parklike forests such as ponderosa pine as shown frequently in this publication. These forested natural pastures are classified as permanent (vs. transitory) forest range by the Society for Range Management (see the various editions of the SRM Glossary of Terms Used In Range Management).

   
 
  50. A second-growth (but nearing mature tree size) western red cedar forest with a grazable understory-This second-growth climax forest is approaching mature tree size and supports the woody species composition of the original pre-white man forest. The understory by contrast is a radical departure from that of the virgin forest as can be seen when this grass-dominated understory is compared to the forb-dominated floor of the cathedral grove viewed immediately above. In the present photograph the herb layer is overwhelming dominated by Kentucky bluegrass introduced by European man. Actually the western red cedar stand shown here is part of a fragmented forest which has man-made glades covered by grasses, including other Eurasian species like timothy and orchardgrass, interspersed within the climax Thuja plicata forest that recovered from past logging through secondary plant succession.

This was a good example of forest grazing and forest range management. It demonstrated how forestry, pasture, and livestock practices can complement each other. This could be viewed as an example of agroforestry given that the dominant grasses are agronomic and not native species. On the other hand, these cool-season Eurasian grasses have naturalized and in this scene were being managed strictly by extensive grazing husbandry without benefit of reseeding, fertilization, and so on. Either way the cows are fat and contented and appreciated the forage provided by the introduced species regardless of whether they are managed as naturalized range or tame pasture. And the cattle also appreciated the shade afforded by the climax western arborvitae.  

FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystem), K-2 (Cedar-Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest), SAF 228 (Western Redcedar). The seral or agronomic understory precludes the designation of a habitat type which is a climax unit comprised of  both upper- and understories. Unit of Clearwater National Forest inside University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
   
 
  51. Mixed conifer Rocky Mountain montane forest with ponderosa pine and Douglas fir as local dominants with western larch (Larix occidentalis) and Englemann spruce (Picea engelmannii) as associates— This is a transition forest type between Douglas fir-quaking aspen-black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Englemann spruce-subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) zones. Glacier National Park (east side of Continental Divide), Montana. July. FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-17 (Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir Forest). Variant of SAF 210 (Interior Douglas-fir). Canadian Rockies- Northern Front Ecoregion, 41a (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  52. Climax old-growth western redcedar (Thuja plicata)-western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)-Douglas fir- western larch forest cover type- In foreground, Douglas fir (l.) and western redcedar (r.). Understory is dominated by vine maple (Acer circinatum) a valuable browse species.Glacier National Park, Montana. July. FRES No. 20 Douglas-fir Ecosystem).K-2 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 227 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Canadian Rockies- Western Candian Rockies Ecoregion, 41c (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  53. Composite shot of climax western redcedar-western hemlock- Douglas fir forest type— Classic example of old-growth stage: western redcedar (center), western hemlock (r.), black cottonwood (l. of center), vine maple understory. Glacier National Park, Montana. July. FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Ecosystem).K-2 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 227 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Canadian Rockies- Western Candian Rockies Ecoregion, 41c (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  54. Old-growth western redcedar- western hemlock forest type— All trees are redcedar except for the western hemlock on far left. Downed timber from wind and lightening. A climax forest of this type has a very sparse understory and thus little browse or forage, especially at old-growth stage. Glacier National Park, Montana. July. FRES No. 20 (Douglas-fir Ecosystem). K-2 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 227 (Western Redcedar-Western Hemlock). Canadian Rockies- Western Candian Rockies Ecoregion, 41c (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  55. Western redcedar-western hemlock forest type with black cottonwood as an associate (conspicuous furrowed-bark trunk immediately left of center). Canadian Rockies- Western Candian Rockies Ecoregion, 41c (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  56. Western larch or tamarack forest in Northern Rocky Mountains- Larix occidentalis is viewed by most current forest ecologists (at least those conspicuous by their published papers) as a seral species much like western white pine. As was the case for the latter species, the U.S. Forest Service did not  recognize any series for western larch nor any habitat type (both units are reserved for climax species) with larch as the upperstorey dominant for forests of either Montana (Pfister et al., 1977) or northern Idaho (Cooper et al., 1991). As was discussed for western white pine, the present author disagreed with the Forest Service interpretation and followed the precedent of earlier vegetation scientists who viewed western (Idaho) white pine and western larch as forming the Clementsian climax Larix-Pinus Association (Clements, 1920, ps. 214-219; Weaver and Clements, 1938, ps. 481, 501-504). The latter authors regarded the larch-pine forest as a transition association (a climax unit) between the coastal and montane climaxes over such a large area that the association was a climatic or regional climax and not just an ecotone (Weaver and Clements, 1938, 503). Even if Larix occidentalis and Pinus monticola are seral species which become established by disturbances like fire and persist as relict populations or relict species in the climax forest (see pages 43-49 in Baumgartner et al., 1994) they occupy these general niches or roles over such spatial and temporal scales and as persistent dominants so as to define the forest of which they are parts. Ergo, Lartix-Pinus Association.  

What is more— and what seemed contradictory to the author of the current publication— the U.S. Forest Service in a publication (Garrison et al., 1977, ps. iii, 24, 27-29) contemporary with and-- complementary to Pfister et al. (1977) and Cooper et al. (1991) recognized two regional forest -- ecosystems after the dominants of the Clementsian Larix-Pinus Association: 1) FRES No. 22 (Western White Pine Forest Ecosystem) and 2) FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem).

Irrespective of successional status, these two species are major economic species (the Herculean efforts to save the western white pine were discussed above). Both, especially western larch, are managed silviculturally as important forest crop species. Finally, and reflecting the above realities, both species have SAF forest cover types.

The western tamaracks seen here are mature trees apparently in their prime. They are growing justabove the flood plain of the Lochsa River in an area that underwent intensive wildfires in the 1930s  (60-70 years pre-photograph). There are some ponderosa pine and grand fir as associates of the tamarack, but what is also indicative of past hot fire is the massive western white pine at far left margin of the slide. This is a forest community dominated by “fire-loving” species (those heavily dependant on fire for natural regeneration). Western larch, especially at maturity, is regarded as the most fire-tolerant conifer in the famed Idaho mixed conifer forest, and within cedar-hemlock forests,  exceeded in longevity only by western red cedar (Baumgartner et al., 1994, p. 44). Unlike maturetrees, young western larch can be severely damaged even by surface fires (Harlow et al. (1979, p. 124).

In the forest shown here there was not an herbaceous layer to speak of, but the shrub understory was well developed and botanically diverse. Shrubs included syringa, ocean spray, ninebark, serviceberry, Rocky Mountain maple, and common snowberry. Excellent browse for mule deer and elk.

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  57. Western larch-dominated mixed conifer forest- This mixed conifer community in the Clearwater Mountains of the Northern Rocky Mountain Region had several tree species which are dominants and associates variously depending on forest site. The forest shown here was obviously dominated by western larch which were the oldest trees. Larch as a fire-seeding species and being moderately fire-tolerant in adulthood probably either came in after severe wildfires 70 years ago and/or survived them. A specimen of the highly fire-intolerant western hemlock is at the far left margin of photograph  (note drooping terminal branches with new needles). Western hemlock is probably the dominant climax species, in absence of severe fire, for this site. Douglas-fir is also regarded as a climax species in this region (mapped as Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest by Kuchler). Douglas-fir was alsoregenerating well in the community seen here (a young specimen of Douglas-fir is present immediately to right of largest, centermost tamarack). The co-dominant cohort species was western white pine which dominated the skyline in background. (This is the same forest as seen in the preceding slide where the associate species status of western white pine was featured in foreground).
   
  Shrubs were also the same as shown immediately above: ocean spray, common snowberry, syringa, serviceberry, birchleaf spirea, Rocky Mountain maple, and ninebark. Herbaceous species were very limited; main grass was pinegrass (= pine reedgrass).  
   
  FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June
   
 
 

58. Bark and cones on twig of western larch or tamarack- Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

59. Silvicultural method for western larch- In this forest compartment a single-species stand of young  (but harvestable age) western larch was logged and is being regenerated by the seed tree silvicultural system. This reproduction method was described by Smith (1986, ps. 330, 396-402) as removal of the old stand in one cutting except for a small number of seed trees left singly or in small groups which then provide the seed to naturally restock the cleared area.

An unharvested stand of western larch of the same age on the far left showed what the harvested stand that is regenerating by the seed tree silvicultural method larch looked like just prior to logging.

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Benewah County Idaho. June.

   
 
 

60. Full view of the western larch stand shown in the previous slide that was undergoing forest regeneration by the seed tree reproduction method. Larch seedlings are clearly visible throughout. Shrub species such as ocean spray, western serviceberry, common snowberry, and ninebark were released by removal of the light-blocking canopy and can be seen clearly especially along the ridge top. 

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

61. Recently thinned stand of western larch- An even-aged stand of western larch (tamarack to Idaho lumbermen) just thinned. Tending operations, including thinning of western larch monocultures, were explained below in the section, Silvicultural Systems in the Northern Rocky Mountains Mixed Conifer Forest.

This example of a singles-species stand was included here to show students an example of the western larch cover type as grown under silvicultural practices of industrial forestry (in commercial forests). Range students, especially, should note the complete absence of any lower layers of vegetation in this community which is more precisely a population of the one species of tree. This is the same fundamental form of agricultural cropping practice as in single-species stands (monocultures) of field (agronomic) crops. The form of forestry cropping illustrated here is essentially “tree farming” (a generic term used to connote an image of intensive silvicultural management— the tree equivalent of agronomic management —almost  solely for wood production and in contrast to the more ecological-oriented (and perhaps less input-intensive management) of traditional forestry. This stand is basically a “field” of western larch “on par” with a field of corn or cotton or an orchard of apples or almonds.     

The thinning operation might allow enough light to reach the ground level to support lower layers of plant life and produce a grazable or browsable understorey (ie. serve or function as forest range).

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains Ecoregion, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001). Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  62. Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) forest- This forest stand was at the upper limit of the subalpine zone  yet well below timberline. It was dominated by subalpine fir but some of the larger trees were whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Englemann spruce (Picea engelmannii) as relict individuals from previous seral stages. Dominant species of the sparse understory were huckleberry (mostly Vaccinium caespitosum and some V. scoparium). Pinegrass (= pine reedgrass) occurred in patches. Elk sedge (Carex geyeri)was even less common, but an associate herbaceous species. Predominately a southwestern-- hence dry--slope.       

FRES No. 23 (Fir-Spruce Forest Ecosystem), K-14  (Western Spruce-Fir Forest). SAF 206 (Englemann Spruce-Subalpine Fir). Abies lasiocarpa Association (if and when such is recognized), Englemann Spruce-Alpine Fir Series in Rocky Mountain and Great Basin Subalpine Conifer Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). Northern Rockies- Clearwater Mountains and Breaks Ecoregion, 15i (McGrath et al., 2001). Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  63. Young western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)- Younger aged western hemlock grew on thissoutheastern slope opposite the Lochsa River and above the Douglas-fir zone. Note the characteristic drooping tips of the new growth on the leaders. Northern Rockies- Clearwater Mountains and Breaks Ecoregion, 15i (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho.  June.  
   
 
Interior Ponderosa (Western Yellow) Pine Forests
   
  Ponderosa or western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa) is one of the longest lived and most widely distributed Pinus species in North America. Its range extends from southern British Columbia to northern Mexico. It occurs in every state and province from the Great Plains (at least the one hundredth meridian) beginning in the Black Hills of South Dakota westward to Puget Sound of the  Pacific Ocean (Sudworth, 1967, p. 44;  Harlow et al., 1979, p,. 101-102). Ponderosa pine is clearly the most economically important pine in western North America. Though a member of the yellow or hard pine subgenus (Diploxylon) ponderosa pine is less coarse-grained and resinous than most hard pines and its lumber was often marketed as a "white pine" (Sudworth, 1967, p. 44; Harlow et al., 1979, p. 102).

In addition to the value of ponderosa pine as a source of lumber and obviously for watershed protection, forests of this relatively fire-tolerant, climax species are some of the most widely distributed and productive forest ranges on the continent. In most ponderosa pine forests the trees grow widely spaced enough that light reaches the forest floor or at least far down past the relatively open canopy which allows  well-developed understories of shrubby and/or herbaceous layers which persist throughout most stages of forest development, often including climax. Ponderosa pine is the textbook example of permanent forest range. With the vast geographic distribution of ponderosa pine there is an unusually diverse botanical composition, architecture, and physiogonomy to these ponderosa pine forest ranges. Furthermore, ponderosa pine often grows with tremendous variability in cover and density often within very small spatial scale. As shown in photographs below, ponderosa pine naturally occurs in relative proportions or general abundances ranging from widely scattered trees on grassland (eg. less than one tree per acre) to a classic savanna biome or physiogonomy (eg. so few trees per unit area that area under tree canopy is far less than area without tree cover) to a woodland form or physiogonomy where crown cover far exceeds area without canopy but crowns do not touch or interlock (the standard definition of a woodland vs. forest) to forests having relatively open crown cover finally to completely closed crown canopy such that there is little or no forest understory. Given such diversity in species composition, canopy cover, forest structure, and physiogonomy there is infinite variation in ponderosa pine ranges and in the ponderosa pine forest and rangeland cover types. And, again, there is often considerable variation within a relatively small area. This is probably most pronounced in the northern Rocky Mountains in states like Idaho and Montana.

Oliver and Ryker (in Burns and Honkala, 1990, p. 413) indicted that there are two varieties of ponderosa pine: Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum) and Pacific ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. ponderosa). The Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine variety is also known as interior ponderosa pine (eg. SAF forest cover type 237; see Eyre, 1980, ps. 114-115). Rocky Mountain or interior ponderosa pine extends from the Black Hills across to the northern Rocky Mountain and Cascade ranges southward to the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas and the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. Some authorities regard many of the specimens of the deep southwest as of a third variety known as Arizona pine or Arizona ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. arizonica). Other authors interpret this form as a separate species, P. arizonica.
   
 
  64. Interior or Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine on xeric south slope- In this and the next slide viewers see examples of the local variation in crown cover and tree density of Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine on what is probably the site limit of this species based on the habitat factor of soil moisture (chresard). Pines are most dense in the more mesic draws or small canyons. The dominant native grasss under climax condition was bluebunch wheatgrass, and while healthy relicts of this remarkable bunchgrass were still present on these xeric slopes, cheatgrass was about as abundant. Idaho fescue, pine bluegrass (Poa scabrella), and pinegrass or pine reedgrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) were other members of the Gramineae and these were well-represented in the more mesic draws. Note the almost complete absence of any woody species on the rock outcrop site in center of slope. Yet even here the dominant ponderosa pine had successfully regenerated to establish young plants. This is an example of Clementsian invasion. It is also an example of what has been referred to as "ponderosa pine-grassland (SRM rangeland cover type 110; Shiflet, 1994, p. 8-9). Following a fairly "open winter" (winter of limited snowpack) and in this drier and warmer than typical spring most herbaceous species were already dormant in late Jun
   
  The bluish gray color was produced by populations of the alien noxious weed, spotted knapweed  (Centaurea maculosa). Spotted knapweed is likely the worst weed on ranges in western Montana and northern Idaho. Other Centaurea species that occur on rangeland throughout this region include diffuse knapweed (C. diffusa), Russian knapweed (C. repens), squarrose knapweed (C. virgata subsp. squarrosa), and yellow starthistle (C. solstitialis). These species form what is known as "the  knapweed complex of weeds" (Sheley, Larson, and Jacobs in Sheley and Petroff, 1999, p. 408), but see throughout). Knapweeds besides spotted that were growing over this general area (and that could like as not have been present in this view) included yellow starthistle, diffuse knapweed, and Russian knapweed. Several Centaurea species have all been shown to cause neurotoxicity in horses known as chewing disease (see review by Panter in James et al., 1991, ps. 316-324). Invasion of range, forest, and crop lands by such alien weeds is one of the most immediately pressing agricultural and environmental problems across North America.  Other good references on the range weed problem include Whitson et al. (1992) 
   
  Several range sites and habitat types were caught in this photograph of range which had the size and slope effect of a catena or toposequence. A catena is usually defined from a soils perspective. The Society of American Foresters defined catena as “a sequence of soils of about the same age, derived from similar parent material and occurring under similar climatic conditions, but having different characteristics because of variation in relief and drainage” (Helms, 1998). This vegetation could logically be interpreted as a mosaic of ponderosa pine woodland or even forest and bluebunch wheatgrass-dominated foothill prairie (ie. a patchwork of ponderosa pine forest and Palouse Prairie grassland). Alternatively the vegetation could be envisioned as a ponderosa pine-bunchgrass savanna and be imagined rationally as one single unit of vegetation. Thus even in this limited landscape panorama the student of vegetation could see one to three biomes (savanna or some savanna, grassland, and forest). Classification of habitat types and mapping of range sites would be subject to similar individual interpretations depending on objectives (operation of a legitimate for-profit ranch or theoretical study of vegetational development), value judgments, and school of ecological thought.
   
  FRES and Kuchler designations subject to the variables and factors of interpretation just discussed, but a commonsense view seemed FRES 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). South slope above Clearwater River, Idaho County, Idaho. June
   
 
 

65. Ponderosa pine-dominated Rocky Mountain vegetation- This is another scene of a xeric south slopeabove the Clearwater River showing vegetation ranging from ponderosa pine forest to ponderosa pine woodland to ponderosa pine-bluebunch wheatgrass savanna. This is the catena-scale of vegetation and served to 1) provide an example of the ponderosa pine range representative of the northern Rocky Mountains and 2) illustrate the difficulties inherent in classifying and mapping vegetation. It also provided the student with an example of the role of physiography (relief), soil, and soil moisture regime in determining potential vegetation. An open ponderosa pine forest with shrub understory is growing in the lower saddle between two higher hills. Compare this to the rock outcrop site of the previous slide. (Both photographs were taken from the same landscape and same parcel of range or forest land; both locations were within a few hundred yards of each other.)                        

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). Complex of SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland) and SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Vegetation shown in this and several of the following photogarphs represented in general the Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series in Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). Clearwater River Canyon. Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  66. Ponderosa pine forest of both the shrubland and grassland understory forms (SRM 109 and SRM 110)- On this south slope there are the two general or fundamental forms of ponderosa pine forest and/or woodland. The more mesic draws or coulees support a shrub-dominated understory: ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor) is dominant with such associate species as ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), common snowberry (Symphoricarpus occidentalis), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and syringa or Lewis mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii). The side slopes and rock outcrops have an herbaceous, mostly grassy, understory in which bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum) is dominant while cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), pinegrass or pine reedgrass (Calamagrostis rubescens), pine bluegrass (Poa scabrella), elk sedge (Carex geyeri), and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), in roughly that order, are associated species.  On this more xeric forest site the crown cover is such as to be more of woodland than forest physiogonomy and community (ie. crowns of pines do not interlock). These are Rocky Mountain or interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum).

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland) and 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Generally the Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Immediately above Clearwater River Canyon. Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 
 

67. Rocky Mountain or interior ponderosa pine forest with diverse shrub understorey- On this north slope ponderosa pine density and crown cover assumed proportions of a forest rather than woodland form and supported an amazingly diverse understorey of shrubs. The conspicuously blooming ocean spray was the overall dominant, but locally common snowberry, ninebark, western serviceberry, and birchleaf spirea assumed dominance.  The stately syringa was a widespread associate. Sitka alder occurred in the very bottom of the drainages which led to the Clearwater River. Herbaceous species were largely absent. Elk sedge was the most common graminoid. Scattered Douglas-fir-- clearly visible in this slide-- was the associate tree species. Presence of Douglas-fir on this north slope stood in stark contrast to the more open and "pure" ponderosa pine forest and woodland with no Douglas-fir which grew on the immediately opposite south slope that was shown in the last three slides. 

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland) .Generally the Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). The U.S. Forest Service (Cooper et al., 1991) did not recognize a ponderosa pine-ocean spray habitat type for northern Idaho (the area in which these photographs were taken). While ocean spray was the dominant shrub of the community pictured here, the published habitat type that appeared to fit most closely was the ponderosa pine-ninebark, Pinus ponderosa/Physocarpus malvaceus habitat type   (Cooper et al., 1991,  p.81).
   
 
 

68. Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine forest with ocean spray-dominated understorey- This ponderosa pine-shrub understorey forest should be interpreted as the ponderosa pine-ocean spray habitat type, except that there is no such recognized (at least no such published) habitat type. Other shrubs in this botanically diverse understory included ninebark, common snowberry, birchleaf spirea, western serviceberry, common chokecherry, and syringa (in roughly that order based on empirical-- non-quantified-- observation). There were several, and scattered, Douglas-fir making this the associate species of the tree layer. This contrasted strikingly to the south slope ponderosa pine forest on the opposite side of the Clearwater River in which Douglas-fir was absent. (See again the three slides of the Clearwater River canyon, south slope ponderosa pine-dominated communities.)

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Overall, the Pinus ponderosa association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Clearwater River Canyon. Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  69. Interior of a north slope ponderosa pine-shrub understory forest- This is inside the botanically rich ponderosa pine-dominated forest growing on the north slope of the Clearwater River canyon. The woody understorey is essentially a single shrub layer but composed of numerous species. Ocean spray was generally the dominant shrub, but common snowberry, ninebark, western serviceberry, birchleaf spirea, and common chokecherry were all abundant. There were traces of syringa,  Sitka alder, and Rocky Mountain maple. The latter two could probably be interpreted as forming a taller woody layer intermediate between the tree and the predominant shrub layer. An herbaceous layer was absent except in widely scattered small openings dominated by elk sedge and Idaho fescue.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Overall, the Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Clearwater River Canyon, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

 
 

70. Ocean spray- Flowering leader of Holodiscus discolor growing immediately beyond the riparian zone of the Clearwater River. As shown in the three preceding slides, ocean spray was the dominant species of the shrub understory of a north slope ponderosa pine forest. Interestingly, ocean spray and some of the other major shrubs common in the ponderosa pine-shrub forest of this region such as ninebark and birchleaf spirea are members of the same tribe (the Spiraeoideae) of the Rosaceae. Clearwater River, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  71. Inflorescence of ocean spray- Individual flowers and leaves of ocean spray in the understory of a north-slope ponderosa pine-shrub forest immediately above the flood plain of the Clearwater River. Idaho County, Idaho. June. 
   
 
  72. Syringa, Lewis mockorange, or Indian arrowwood  (Philadelphus lewisii)- This profusely blooming member of the Saxifragacae is most deservedly the State Flower of the Gem State. The specific epithet is a commemorative to the senior leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who was the first to collect it for scientific purposes. The common name of “syringa” is not a deserving name. It is, in fact, an inappropriate name because Syringa is the Genus of several species of the cultivated lilac. The Range Plant Handbook explained that Lewis mockorange is locally a valuable browse plant for browsing wildlife but usually little used by livestock (Forest Service, 1940, B109). Missoula County, Montana. June.
   
 
  73. Inflorescences of syringa- These beautiful blossoms of the State Flower of Idaho were growing along the bank of the Lochsa River. Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  74. Ponderosa pine-shrub forest- This uneven-aged interior or Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine forest had a shrub understorey dominated by common snowberry with western serviceberry as the associate shrub species. An herbaceous layer in the understorey was present sporadically. Dominant herbs varied locally. Pinegrass or Columbia bromegrass (Bromus vulgaris) was the dominant monocot depending on microsite with the former on drier microhabitats and the latter on damp or more shaded microclimates. Locally dominant forbs included arrowleaf balsamroot, yellow mulesear (Wyethia amplexicaulis), and silver lupine (Lupinus argenteus or L. sericeus or L. caudatus, all of which intergrade), in that general order. Interior Douglas-fir was the associate tree species.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Overall community was Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-common snowberry habitat type. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

75. Ponderosa pine-shrub forest- Another view of the uneven-aged ponderosa pine-shrub understorey forest shown immediately above but here with arrowleaf balsamroot as the locally dominant herbaceous species interspersed among common snowberry, the dominant shrub. This is a good example of the multi-layer characteristic of some western coniferous forests. In many areas of the Northern Rocky Mountain region ponderosa pine forests more typically consist of an herbaceous layer dominated by grasses. Douglas-fir was infrequent, but it was the associate tree species. This pristine forest was at the very edge of the Palouse Prairie, or more precisely, at the edge of a very narrow transition zone between the ponderosa pine forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Palouse Prairie.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Overall community was Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-common snowberry habitat type. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
 

76. Ponderosa pine-shrub forest- This third and vertical view of a pristine uneven-aged ponderosa pine forest in the Idaho Panhandle portrayed the various layers of vegetation within this forest range cover type. Common snowberry was the dominant shrub but serviceberry, birchleaf spirea, and ninebark were locally common. Pinegrass and Columbia bromegrass were the dominant members of the Gramineae with the more mesic bromegrass more common in shaded and damp microsites. Yellow mulesears and arrowleaf balsamroot were locally dominant forbs. “Mint-condition” vegetation like this is prime range for both livestock and big game, a priceless resource to be managed with care and devotion.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Overall, Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa Pine-common snowberry habitat type. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho. June. 
   
 
  77. Yellow mulesears (Wyethia amplexicaulis)- This was a locally dominant range forb in the ponderosa pine-common snowberry habitat type shown in the three preceding slides. Like it’s associate composite species arrowleaf balsamroot, mulesears is readily eaten at certain phenological stages    (such as young leaf and flowering) by all species of livestock (including by horses and mules) and ruminant wildlife, but it is generally no better than poor forage. This species was discussed in both the Rang Plant Handbook (Forest Service, 1937, p.W206) and Notes on Western Range Forbs (Hermann, 1966, ps. 346-347) McCroskey State Park, Latah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
 

78. Ponderosa pine-dominated Inland Pacific Northwest mixed conifer forest- This was not a ponderosa pine forest of the “pure type” nor even of the ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forest type presented both before and after this and the next photograph. Rather this is a forest of the famed “Idaho Mix”. Tree species visible in this slide besides ponderosa pine include Douglas-fir, western larch, lodgepole pine, and western white pine (in that order of general tree density and cover except for a “close call” on the latter two pine species). Ponderosa pine was clearly the forest dominant with more of this species than all other coniferous species combined. For that reason, this and the next slide of this same forest community were placed here.

There was a well-developed shrub layer and a poorly developed herbaceous layer. The shrub layer was almost totally of two species with serviceberry the dominant shrub and common snowberry the associate shrub. The herbaceous layer consisted mostly of pteridophytes with common horsetail dominant to associated miscellaneous ferns. Pinegrass and Kentucky bluegrass were present but sparse at best. While regeneration of this second-growth forest was good to excellent and the shrub component equally “healthy and robust” (and of two valuable browse species) the herb layer (what there was of it) reflected the fairly recent disturbance of logging.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Generally, the Pinus ponderosa Assocaition, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). This second-growth forest was perhaps a later seral stage but “not quite” climax forest if the relatively high proportion of the two fire-propagated species (lodgepole and western white pines) was any indicator. Based on the overwhelming dominance of ponderosa pine and the clear dominance of serviceberry in the shrub layer, this community easily fit the Pinus ponderosa/Amelanchier alnifolia plant association (an implied climax type) of the Montana Pre-settlement Vegetation Classification Outline (Montana Natural Heritage Program, 1988). The U. S. Forest Service did not describe a ponderosa pine-serviceberry habitat type in either Montana (Pfister et al., 1977) or Idaho (Cooper et al., 1991). Given the relatively close proximity of Montana to the photographed location and there being no evidence that vegetation recognizes state lines, the current author felt confident in declaring this community a ponderosa pine-serviceberry phase (perhaps a habitat type) of the ponderosa pine-shrub cover type. (Asimilar difference that appeared to this author to be an inconsistencey in habitat type classification was noted for the Pinus contorta series except that in that case the Forest Service manual for Montana and and the Montana natural vegetation outline were in agreement yet apparently inconsistent with the Forest Service habitat type manual for adjoining forests in northern Idaho.)  
   
 
  79. Ponderosa pine-dominated Inland Pacific Northwest mixed conifer forest- This is an interior view of the second-growth ponderosa pine-serviceberry forest community presented immediately above. Dominance of ponderosa pine was obvious, but it was also obvious that Douglas-fir was the associate species and that it was regenerating prolifically (eg. the mid-height tree in center foreground). This was not, however, the ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forest of lower elevations, but more of a ponderosa pine phase of the northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest (the “Idaho Mix”). For example,western white pine was a prominent, though not dominant or associate, species. A large western white pine is visible at the far right margin (the rightmost trunk in foreground). Serviceberry dominated the shrub layer even more than ponderosa pine dominated the canopy. Common snowberry was the associate shrub species. Other shrubs included ninebark, common chokecherry, and, infrequently, currants (Ribes spp.). The herb layer was discontinuous, and common horsetail dominated pinegrass and such naturalized agronomic grasses as Kentucky bluegrass and timothy. Trace amounts of Idaho fescue were present (probably as relicts of the virgin forest). This was a browse range most aptly described among the rangeland cover types as ponderosa pine-shrub forest where it was remarked that on moist sites of this cover type tree harvest resulted in such shrub species as chokecherry,serviceberry, and currants or gooseberries (Shiflet, 1994, p. 8).

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland). Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 

 

80. Park-like ponderosa pine forest- This was a textbook example of the open, grassy understory and   even-aged ponderosa pine forest so typical of the Northern Rocky Mountain and Cascade ranges in the Interior Pacific Northwest. It illustrated the case exemplar of permanent forest range: the trees were essentially one cohort (ie. even-aged) and were so widely spaced that their crowns will not grow so closely together as to exclude light from the forest floor. Consequently, the herbaceous (and, in spots, shrubby) understory will persist throughout longevity of the forest. The plant acommunity seen here developed by secondary succession following a severe crown fire sometime in the 1930sand, as obvious by the stately and colorful flame-burnished bark (eg. trunk in far right foreground), it has been subjected to surface fires since regeneration. This clearly reflected the fire background of this fire-type vegetation. Beginning students in Range Management and Forestry should “burn” this example in their mind’s eye and never forget the essential, (as in absolutely necessary and indispensable) role of fire in ponderosa pine ecosystems.

Smokey Bear should have been cremated and his ashes allowed to thrift
throughout such a beautiful
fire-climax ponderosa pine forest.  Instead an
ill-advised (and ultimately ineffective) policy of fire exclusion led to the
d
eterioration of such pristine forests by either underburning or catastrophic
wild crown fires caused by formation of a fire staircases (due to lack of
periodic surface fires). In time, the U.S. Forest Service came to realize
this (see for eg. Pfister et al. [1977, p. 29]). 
           

Though a classic representation of the physiogonomy of the open, herbaceous understory ponderosa pine forest, the vegetation shown here was not at climax the understory being in but Fair to Good range condition class. On this south slope, the herbaceous understory was dominated by pinegrass with the associates being Idaho fescue on the deeper soils of the lower toe slope and benches and bluebunch wheatgrass on shallower, drier soils of the upper slopes and ridgelines. Locally— but on a restricted scale— the pernicious invader cheatgrass was dominant (some of the lighter or tan-colored spots) and the introduced, and now naturalized, orchardgrass was the dominant grass in frequent ground depressions. The most common forb was arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata). It, bluebunch wheatgrass, and Idaho fescue are the climax decreasers on such (and similar) range sites while pinegrass is typically an increaser  (Ross and Hunter, 1976, p. 32; Hermann, 1966, p. 301; Daubenmire and Daubenmire, 1968, ps. 16-18; Pfister et al., 1977, ps. 30-32). As throughout many of the forest understories of this region, bracken fern was common and widely dispersed in the more mesic microhabitats (right foreground for eg.). Interestingly, another common forb was the Eurasian annual rabbitfoot clover  (Trifolium arvense). The deeper draws supported pockets of the more mesic shrubs such as common snowberry, birchleaf spirea, ninebark, ocean spray, and syrinka. These were apparently more common by rock outcrops where perhaps shed water created more moist microenvironments.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Pinus ponderosa/Festuca idahoensis habitat type but in deteriorated condition. Northern Rockies- Lower Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 15j (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

81. Ponderosa pine forest with grass understory- This second-growth, even-aged stand of ponderosa pine grew on a south slope and portrayed the classic parklike appearance of the ponderosa pine-grass forest. It was permanent forest ranges like this one that attracted stockmen to the high-quality natural pastures of the coniferous forests of western North America during the heyday of the open range  (Public Domain “open” to whoever grazed on it or “free for the taking”; a grazing commons) beginning in the late 1870s-1880s. Initially such lands were used more by stockgrowers than lumbermen. Regulation of grazing for “wise use” and “sustained yield”, the utilitarian “greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time”, was the first task confronting Gifford Pinchot and the forest rangers of his newborn Forest Service.

This is the same forest range shown in the preceding photograph the caption of which explained that this was a picture-perfect example of a fire-maintained forest type (a fire-type; pyric vegetation). This plant community regenerated by secondary succession following a wild crown fire in the 1930s. The strikingly beautiful fire-burnished bark provided unequivocal proof of a continuing fire regime on this forest range. Pinegrass, an increaser, was the overall dominant species of the understorey, but this forest floor was a mosaic of microsites with such local dominants as Idaho fescue on the deeper, less xeric soils of the lower slopes, bluebunch wheatgrass  on the shallower, more xeric soils along the ridge and downslope from it, cheatgrass on small pataches (light-colored dry grass), shrubs (common snowberry, ninebark, syrinka, ocean spray, birchleaf spirea) in the deeper draws, and bracken fern in small surface depressions. Arrowleaf balsamroot was the dominant forb. Orchardgrass and rabbitfoot clover were common Eurasian species, the former a purposely introduced domestic pasture grass and the latter—like cheatgrass—a stowaway that “made itself to home”.     

Though ponderosa pine forest is a fire-type the proper use of fire in management of these forest ranges requires judicious burning. Rangemen and foresters cannot simply toss out firebrands, “watch her burn”, and automatically care for the natural resources and reap some magic benefit. Smokey Bear rangers in their Forest Service greens had that part right—as far as it went. Plant species vary in their responses to fire depending on the fire factors of intensity, frequency, season, selectivity, and size of burn area. Improper fire regimens such as “too hot”, “too late”, “too often” can initiate and maintain range and forest deterioration just the same as can absence of fire (though obviously by different mechanisms). For example, improper firing of ponderosa pine ranges can damage the more mesic understory species like Idaho fescue and shift the species composition to the more fire-tolerant bluebunch wheatgrass or even induce further range retrogression toward certain forbs (Shiflet, 1994, p. 9). Of course such changes in species composition may be desirable under some situations, but shifting range vegetation to more xeric species would seem to be of dubious value in the long run.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue habitat type, but in some state of deterioration based on species composition. Northern Rockies- Lower Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 15j (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  82. Trunks of old ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)- Characteristic bark (and fire scar) on trunks of mature ponderosa pine. Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. July.
   
 
 

83. Reproductive structures of ponderosa pine- Two immature female or ovulate strobolii (cones) below the male pollen-bearing structures. In more technical terms the ovulate cones are the macrosporangiate cones and the male strobolii are the microsporangiate cones. Sexual reproduction in the gymnosperms is interesting and rather complex given the production of naken seed. Those interested are referred to a standard text in Botany. An extra good one for this purpose is Raven et al. (1992, ps. 364-372).

Utah County, Utah. June.

  .
 
  84. Details of morphology of reproductive structures of ponderosa pine- The female or ovulate strobolus (= cone) is one year old (ie. last year's cone). The pollen-bearing (microsporangiate) cones were produced this year, but there were no ovulate cones formed on this twig in the current season (ie. no this year's macrosporangiate cones). The male strobolii have already shed their pollen.
   
  Utah County, Utah. June.
 
  85. Detail of herbaceous understory of parklike ponderosa pine-grass forest- This was part of the  understory shown in the preceding two slides. Here was an example of species naturalization. Orchardgrass, a tame pasture species, introduced by white man “went native”. European man was part of the ecological niche of this domestic species providing if nothing else safe passage to a “new world”. This form of human epizoochory (dispersal of propagules or diaspores by animals) allowed migration, and ecesis (“adjustment of the plant to a new home”) (Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 131) of this Eurasian perennial until it could achieve invasion:
   
  "Invasion is the movement of one or more plants from one area into another and their establishment in the latter. It is thus the complete and complex process of which migration, ecesis, and competition are the essential parts” (Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 166).Once orchardgrass was brought across the Atlantic Ocean it was capable of propagating itself in it’s new-found home (as evidenced here by shedding its grain for continued successful sexual reproduction).
   
  Arrowleaf balsamroot, the dominant forb, was also present as was bracken fern, rabbitfoot clover, and seedlings of ocean spray and ninebark. The other grass speaacies (still in the vegetative stage) was pinegrass (pine reedgrass) the dominant understory species.   
   
  FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecossytem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Deteriorated ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue habitat type. Northern Rockies- Lower Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 15j (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June. 
   
 
  86. Pinegrass or pine reedgrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) in understory of parklike ponderosa pine-grass forest- Pinegrass is often the dominant grass of the herbaceous understorey of ponderosa pine forests especially where overgrazing or improper season of use reduced density and cover of such climax decreaser grasses as Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass. It is generally accepted among rangemen and foresters that pinegrass is less palatable than many native dominant grasses and that it is an increaser species on most forest range sites. The Soil Conservation Service listed pinegrass as a dominant in the vegetation of climax forests that it designated by name (and number) as: Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine (51); subalpine fir and Douglas-fir (53); spruce and Douglas-fir (54); subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, and ponderosa pine (55); subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, and grand fir (57); and grand fir and Douglas-fir (59). In every one of these climax designations pinegrass was listed as an increaser (Ross and Hunter, 1976, ps. 32-33, 35-41, 43) 

The Range Plant Handbook offered the assessment of pinegrass as a forage species that based on abundance it was “an important range plant in many localities” (especially in ponderosa pine and logdepole pine forest ranges), but that there was “much diversity of opinion” as to its forage value owing to its “varying palatability at different times of the year”. Overall pine reedgrass was rated as fair in forage value (Forest Service, 1940, G 42). Roche (1983, p.171) also rated pinegrass as having fair forage value and as being “less palatable than associated perennial grasses and forbs”. Consistent with this, Roche (1983, p. 171) noted that pine reedgrass “will increase with overuse”.

Pinegrass differs from many of its cespitose “colleagues” in having fairly extensive rhizomes by which means it reproduces vegetatively, often aggressively. Daughter clumps developing along these underground shoots give pinegrass the appearance of a bunchgrass. This form of asexual reproduction coupled with lower palatability could explain the increaser response of this grass. The specimen shown here was growing in “full sun” in the understory of a ponderosa pine stand that had been thinned the previous growing season.

Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

87. Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forest with Idaho fescue understory- This second-growth forest is at climax or, at least, high seral stage with an herbaceous understory dominated throughout by Idaho fescue except for patches of pine bluegrass. This forest community was on a bench or the highest terrace of a flood plain and supported ponderosa pine and the more mesic Douglas-fir as the associate coniferous species. No other tree species were present. Whether Douglas-fir was an edaphic climax species on this infrequent alluvial site or an invading species present on a fire-climax type as a result of fire suppression (Cooper et al., 1991, p. 80) was known but to God. The vegetation seemed to correspond closely to the Pinus ponderosa/Festuca idahoensis habitat type and for that reason was included here with ponderosa pine forests rather than with the flood plain interior ponderosa pine-interior Douglas-fir forest type shown and described previously. From perspective of Clementsian theory this represented an ecotone (transition zone) between the bottomland western (vs. Pacific) ponderosa pine-interior Douglas-fir forest and the ‘pure form” of open understory ponderosa pine forests occurring on either south slopes and/or on hillsides at elevations below (lower than) the more mesic Douglas-fir (Pfister et al., 1977, ps. 16-18; Cooper et al., 1991, ps. 18-19). Ponderosa pine was overwhelmingly dominant from standpoint of canopy cover, tree size (DBH), tree density, and tree (seedling) reproduction.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Generally, the Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue habitat type. Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002). Lee Creek watershed on Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.

   
 
 

88. Understory of ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue forest- Throughout this understory Idaho fescue (seed- shatter stage) was the climax dominant except for isolated patches of pine bluegrass (in the shadow of the ponderosa pine immediately to right of it’s trunk) and local spots where human-induced disturbance allowed cheatgrass (pale yellow or tan-colored patch immediately to left of pine trunk) or  smooth bromegrass to thrive (the green strip immediately behind the just-noted cheatgrass is a mixture of bromegrass and pine bluegrass).

These latter exceptions were yet other examples of how Man the Manipulator of Ecosystems has wrought a lasting impact on native vegetation (modified the natural plant community). Such influences may be interpreted as good or bad depending on one’s value judgments. Native plantenthusiasts, most naturalists, and perhaps purist vegetation scientists understandably regard alien plant species as somewhere between enemies and unwanted guests. Rangemen universally understand the adverse ecological impacts of cheatgrass on many range ecosystems (eg. provide fuel for fires of unnatural intensities, frequencies, and seasons which reduce populations of desirable native plant species and shift the competitive advantage to the alien as well as native invaders, provide forage of lower nutritive value and for shorter periods of time than native species). Range managers also have enough wisdom to understand that most exotics like cheatgrass and other annual Bromus species “are here for the duration” and must be accepted as part of the challenge in managing and conserving the more desirable native forage and browse species. Rangemen know further that all but the most noxious exotic range plants have some “virtues”. In some instances alien weedy species increased biodiversity; provided variety to range animal diets; furnished cover and nest building material for wildlife; and created at least some ground cover to reduce soil erosion, increase soil organic matter, and offer more moderate microsites for plant seedlings. Exotic perennials like the smooth bromegrass shown here are also Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde characters. In some cases smooth brome threatens certain plants, even plant communities, with local extinction and smooth brome must be controlled like any other noxious plant. In other instances, smooth bromegrass has greatly increased forage yield to both livestock and wildlife, extended the green feed season and made forage availablewhere none had existed previously in climax vegetation  (eg. certain forest understories), and provided excellent erosion control as on road cuts (such as seen here).    

Lee Creel watershed, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June

   
 
  89. Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis)- Idaho fescue was the dominant understory species of a western ponderosa pine-interior Douglas-fir forest in Northern Rocky Mountains just upslope from or directly on the upper alluvial bench of the flood plain of the Lochsa River. This cespitose (tufted or bunched habit) grass reproduces asexually solely by tillers. In the understory of the forest community shown in the preceding two slides. Lee Creek watershed, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.
   
 
  90. Pine bluegrass (Poa scabrella)- Pine bluegrass was the understory associate species (to the dominantIdaho fescue) in a western ponderosa pine-interior Douglas-fir forest at the uppermost reaches of a flood plain. Like most native grasses of the Northern Rocky Mountain and Palouse Prairie Region pine bluegrass is a bunchgrass. Lee Creek watershed, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.
   
 
  91. Pine bluegrass- Close-up shot of pine bluegrass growing in the small colony shown in the preceding photograph. This cespitose festucoid grass can be locally dominant in ponderosa pine forest ranges having herbaceous understories but it is not usually a major forage species. Lee Creek watershed, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June. 
   
 
  92. Ponderosa pine forest range- This scene illustrated the value of the open, herbaceous understory form of  ponderosa pine forest typical of the Northern Rocky Mountain and Palouse Prairie Region. Theunderstorey of this forest community was in approximately Fair range condition class as pinegrass  (Calamagrostis rubescens), an increaser, was the dominant species. There was also an appreciable component of the naturalized alien Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and minor— but perhaps of indicator value— amounts of the Eurasian timothy (Phleum pratensis) and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata). Inflorescences of the latter are visible in the foreground. Among climax (decreaser) grasses, Idaho fescue was apparently (appeared to be) somewhat more common than bluebunch wheatgrass on this more lowland and gentle relief forest site. Aspect was east to northeast and thus more mesic than more southerly oriented landscapes. Such sites favor Idaho fescue over bluebunch wheatgrass. The latter is better adapted to and more apt to dominate on the more droughty southern aspects at lower elevations with this phenomenon occurring on ponderosa pine forest (Pfister et al., 1977, ps. 30-31) as well as on grassland ranges (as was discussed for Palouse Prairie and Rocky Mountain foothill grasslands). Shrubs occurred singly rather than in groups or colonies. Shrub species included serviceberry, common snowberry, and birchleaf spirea. The taller shrubs are serviceberry (eg.  tallest shrub which is immediately behind cow) and the lower-growing shrubs with white blooms are common snowberry. Douglas-fir was completely absent from this forest which, as explained immediately below, was mostly an even-aged stand.

This forest vegetation was at the very edge of the former Palouse Prairie bunchgrass grassland that was now all under cultivation. This could explain presence of the three introduced agronomic grasses, but these species have naturalized so thoroughly throughout the Rocky Mountains and Cascades that they are typically present in the understories of forests throughout this region.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue habitat type (but as an ecological departure from climax). Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). Latah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
 

93. Detail of the understorey of ponderosa pine forest range- This is a “closer in” view of the understory of the range vegetation viewed immediately above. There was absolutely no Douglas-fir present. The forest was overwhelmingly an even-age stand, but closer study revealed presence of several age classes including seedling and sapling. Stumps visible in both slides show that some selective cutting  (apparently including some thinning) had taken place, but this forest probably could be managed most effectively by an even-aged silvicultural system.

The shrubs immediately to the left and right of the pine trunk are serviceberry and the shortest shrub to the left of the trunk is common snowberry. The understory dominant was pine reedgrass followed  (barely) by Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass with some quantities of the three introduced agronomic grasses: Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, and timothy. Forbs were inconsequential.  

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-10 (Western Ponderosa Forest). SAF 237 (Interior Ponderosa Pine). SRM 110 (Ponderosa Pine-Grassland). Pinus ponderosa Association, Yellow Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ponderosa pine-Idaho fescue habitat type but in deteriorated condition with understory dominant being the increaser pinegrass. Northern Rockies- Grassy Potlatch Ridges Ecoregion, 15f (McGrath et al., 2001). Latah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
 

94. Agroforestry (of sorts)- This is a even-aged stand— kind of, more-or-less, whatever— of ponderosa pine with an understory comprised of a mixed seeding of three agronomic hay-pasture grasses: timothy (primarily), smooth bromegrass, and orchardgrass. In the context of Range Management or Forestry (if by some imagination this could be viewed as either) this is a candidate for example of agroforestry and/or, more specifically, of silvopastoralism (and, as shown immediately, probably most precisely of agrosilvopastoralism).     

The concept and the applications of agroforestry are likely as old as agriculture— generically, the cropping arts— itself. However, as a form of forestry (as implied by the syntax of the term with    “forestry” as it’s root word) the concept did not enter into American forestry practice until relatively recent years. For example, Society of American Foresters (SAF) did not recognize (at least did not include) “agroforestry” in either its revised edition of Forestry Terminology (Munns, 1950) nor even in it’s English-Language Version, The Multilingual Forestry Terminology Series (Ford-Robertson, 1971) which was jointly published with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. Rather “agroforestry” first appeared in the SAF fourth edition of forestry terminology, The Dictionary of Forestry (Helms, 1998). The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary showed “agroforestry” as originating in 1977. (It was noted below that this was the year the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry was formed). The following definitions were quoted literally from Helms (1998):          

“Agroforestry- a land-use system that involves deliberate retention, introduction, or mixture of trees or other woody perennials in crop and animal production systems to take advantage of economic or ecological interactions among the components.

“Agrosilvopastoralism- a form of agroforestry consisting of tree (woody perennial), crop, pasture and livestock components; synonym, agrosilvopasture. [Obviously “crop” refers to field—meaning agronomic— crop and not the generic crop as in tree crop, lamb crop, grass crop, etc.]

“Silvopastoralism (or silvipastoralism)- a form of agroforestry consisting of the trees (woody perennials) and pasture and animal components."

Technical note and clarification (maybe): Whether silvopasture of agronomic forage species is agrosilvopastoralism or just silvopastoralism depends on whether the domestic forage can be both crop and pasture or if “crop” applies only to row crops, small grains, or horticultural crops. The author of this publication (who teaches sections of a university course in freshman Agronomy) interpreted a silvopastoral system that is based on tame (= argronomic, domestic) pasture as “agro[as in “agronomic” from Agronomy]silvopastoralism” whereas silvopastoralism refers to or is reserved for a land-use system based on range (= natural pasture, native grazing land), specifically forest range which is grazable and/or browsable understories in forests and woodlands. In other words, silvopastoralism and silvopastroral systems are what rangemen have always called— by the traditional term— forest and woodland ranges (native forest and woodland communities used as natural pastures; native forest and woodland understory plants and, sometimes, mast serving as forage or browse and, sometimes, concentrates for livestock or wildlife). This is the traditional usage by such renowned rangemen as Barnes (1913) in his classic, Western Grazing Grounds and Forest Ranges and Roberts (1963) in Hoof Prints on Forest Ranges..  

*** The slides of forest range— forests or woodlands whose native or, at least, naturalized plants are used as feed (shoots, including leaves, stems, buds; fruits known as mast; rarely, roots) for grazing/browsing animals— were interpreted as grazing lands of silvopastoralism (ie. as silvopasture). The current and next slide of a timothy pasture (an agronomic grass crop harveasted by grazing) as the understory of ponderosa pine forest (or at least a population of ponderosa pine) were interpreted as an example of agrosilvopastoralism (ie.as agrosilvopasture).                 

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) was established in 1977 indicating that Agroforestry had became widely recognized as a discipline, profession, practice, etc. In 1991 the Association for Temperate Agroforestry was founded (following the first biennial North American Agroforestry Conference in 1989) “to promote the wider adoption of agroforestry by landowners in temperate regions of North America” (Web www.missouri.edu/~afta; Email afta@missouri.edu).      

The Association for Temperate Agroforestry (AFTA) provided this definition: “ Agroforestry is an intensive land management system that optimizes the benefits from the biological interactions created when trees and/or shrubs are deliberately combined with crops and/or animals”. The AFTA also provided this description: “Agroforestry practices are intentional combinations of trees with crops and/or livestock which involve intensive management of the interactions between the components as an integrated agroecosystem. These four key characteristics- intentional, intensive, interactive and integrated- are the essence of agroforestry and are what distinguish it from other farming or forestry practices”.

The ICRAF defined agroforestry “as a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resources management system that, through the integration of trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production for increased social, economic and environmental benefits for land users at all levels” (Web www.icraf.cgiar.org).

The ICRAF elaborated further that there were two basic categories of agroforestry systems: 1) simultaneous and 2) sequential. “In a simultaneous agroforestry system trees and crops or animals grow together, at the same time on the same piece of land. These are the systems in which trees and crops compete most for light, water and nutrients.” Simultaneous agroforestry systems include silvopastoral systems:

"Silvopastoral systems…incorporate a discontinuous tree storey, over a continuous grass cover. Animals, the chief beneficiaries of these combinations, can graze in pastureland under trees or they can feed off tree fodder or browse. The fodder from the trees can also be cut and carried to livestock penned elsewhere”.

As specified in the discussion for this slide and discussed elsewhere in this publication, mast (the fruits ana/or seeds of woody plants) along with forage and browse are the three general categories of feed from forest ranges. In North America, these feeds are not typically harvested by humans to be fed to confined animals. Rather such forest feeds-- natural or domesticated-- are harvested by grazing or browsing range or pasture animals.

The ICRAF made an innocent but sophomorish mistake in specifying that silvopastures (=  silvopastoral systems) are simultaneous agroforestry systems. The undisputable fact is that silvopastures are (at least, can be) both. This goes back to the two most fundamental categories or forms of forest range: 1) permanent forest range (which is simultaneous silvopasture) and transitory forest range (which is sequential silvopasture; it is natural pasture only until at some point in an advanced seral stage or at climax when tree crowns grow close enough together to exclude light from the forest floor such that an understory usable or functional as range no longer exist; a browsable/grazable understory persist sequentially to canopy closure). 

Silvopastoral land use systems or silvopastures (ie. forest ranges) are either simultaneous or sequential systems; agrosilvopastures (tame pasture— meaning field of agronomic forage crops harvested by grazing animals —as an understory to forests or, at least, trees and shrubs grown as wood crops ) are simultaneous agroforestry systems.         

Merriam-Webster (1995) defined agroforestry as “land management for the simultaneous [or sequential] production of food, crops, and trees: also the science of agroforestry”. [Interestingly enough this definition included “simultaneous” but omitted “sequential” production. Given that this dictionary gave the year of origin for the term as the same year that the ICRAF was chartered—1977— and that it included such key words as “production”, “crop”, “trees” from the ICRAF definition, it seemed likely that this organization was the source of “agroforestry” and it’s meaning. It also seemed obvious that the option of “sequential” production had been inadvertently omitted and should have been— and be —included in Agroforestry. ] 

There are a number of texts and references on Agroforestry, most of them for continents other than North America in which foresters and agronomists appear to have adopted and applied concepts and practices from this combined form of agriculture later than practitioners in some other places.  One of the more comprehensive and authoritative, yet readily available, treatments is that of MacDicken  (1990).

In this photograph the pasture mixture of timothy (mostly), smooth bromegrass, and orchardgrass was managed by agronomic inputs and harvested by grazing cattle inside a stand of ponderosa pine. This was a very straightforward example of the form of grazingland and forestland use in a kind of agricultural system that combined range and pasture management, forest practices, and livestock production (ie. in a ranching operation typical of those in this region). Viewed academically or scholastically and as practiced in production agriculture this involved the combined application of the disciplines of Agronomy, Forestry, and Animal Science to the actual practice of managing an operation that produces field, wood, and livestock crops. Furthermore, operations such as the ranch that managed this land typically run cattle on Forest Service allotments as well as on privately owned range and forest, produce hay for winter feeding, and sell stumpage. Ranches that rely on agrosilvopastoral systems like this integrate three of the traditional four primary agricultural industries: 1) farming, 2) ranching, and 3) lumbering.

Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

95. Agrosilvopasture- Another view of the timothy pasture understory in a stand of ponderosa pine shown in the preceding slide. While there has been some selective cutting of the ponderosa pine this is basically an even-aged population. It seemed prudent to designate the group of pine trees as apopulation and not as a forest. This combined agricultural system of Agronomy and Forestry as the forms of plant agriculture is a far cry from "real" (actual) ponderosa pine forests shown previously in this sequence of slides for SAF 237(Interior Ponderosa Pine) in the Northern Rocky Mountain and Palouse Prairie region. Neither is this a tree farm as traditionally and precisely defined by such groups as the Society of American Foresters.  

It was unknown whether this agronomic pasture of the three Eurasian grasses had been seeded as a "three-way" mixture or if this mixed pasture resulted from several sequential plantings of first one species and then another. The relevant fact remained that this was a good example of a domestic pasture as understory in a stand of ponderosa pine. It was included in this publication (and at this point along with natural ponderosa pine forests used as forest range) as a lesson in Agroforestry and to present an illustration of domestic silvopasture (the forest and grazing land use system known as agrosilvopastoralism).

Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  96.  Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) woodland- This is probably climax (potential natural) vegetation. On this shallow, rock outcrop slope there is likely not enough fuel in the herbaceous understory to carry fire hot enough to crown out and kill the juniper. Dominant understory species is little ricegrass (Oryzopsis micrantha). Mountain big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata var. vaseyana) dominates an intermediate woody (shrub) layer having mountain mahogany and skunkbush sumac as associate species. Pfister et al. (1977, p. 123) interpreted such pure  stands of J. scopulorum as “a northern extension of the Great Basin ‘pinyon/juniper’ zone”. 

FRES No. 35 (Pinyon-Juniper Ecosystem). K-21 (Juniper-Pinyon Woodland). SAF 220 (Rocky Mountain Juniper). Closest SRM is an Interior Northwest variant of 412 (Juniper-Pinyon Woodland). Soil Conservation Service mapping unit #50 for Foothills and Mountains in Montana, Rocky Mountain Juniper and Limber Pine on Shallow Soils (Frigid Temperature Regime) range site (Huntrer and Ross, 1976, p. 31). Middle Rockies- Elkhorn Mountains-Boulder Batholith Ecoregion, 17ai (McGrath et al. 2001). Jeffrson County, Montana. June. 

   
 
  97.  Rocky Mountain cedar or juniper woodland- The large size and “old-age” appearance of trunks of these conifers suggest that they (or at least a high portion of them) predate the understandable but misdirected fire exclusion policy of the white man. As noted in the preceding panoramic view, sparsity of ground cover of the native little ricegrass suggest that fire of severity (especially intensity and frequency) enough to reduce or eliminate juniper cover is unlikely. Conversely, the shrub layer of scattered mountain big sagebrush, mountain mahogany, and skunkbush sumac could fuel hot fires. Either way, however, the Rocky Mountain juniper/little ricegrass community was interpreted on the Montana Pre-settlement Vegetation Classification Outline (Montana Natural Heritage Program, 1988) as a “plant association” which “implies a climax type”. Clements (1920, ps. 197-199) recognized a Pinus-Juniperus Association  (the Clementsian association was of course climax). He noted that J. scoplorum had the most northern distribution and was the least xeric of western Juniperus species and that it “usually makes its best growth in moist canyons” (Clements, 1920, p. 199). The preference for this habitat is seen clearly in this photograph.

This Rocky Mountain juniper community was treated herein as a climax range type and not as a seral stage of woody invasion indicating range retrogression, but it must be emphasized that seemingly limitless research findings clearly show that the J-P Woodland Type has expanded greatly since the white man frontier and settlement periods. See for example the many symposia, field day and technical reports, etc. devoted (perhaps all out of proportion to relative importance) to this range cover type (eg. Aldon and Springfield, 1973; Utah State University, 1975; Springfield, 1976; Martin et al., 1978; Tueller et al., 1979; Everett, 1987; Oregon state University and Agricultural Research Service, 1999; Society for Range Management, 2000). The expansion of juniper-pinyon woodlands that can be traced to human mismanagement through overgrazing, fire exclusion, farming activities, commercial traffic, etc. is range deterioration. In this ecological state of severe departure from potential natural vegetation proper management of natural resources must include— first of all— control of the existing juniper-pinyon brush problem and prevention of further invasion/expansion of these species at populations that constitute range deterioration and create noxious range plant problems.

FRES No. 35 (Pinyon-Juniper Ecosystem). K- 21(Juniper-Pinyon Woodland). SAF 220 (Rocky Mountain Juniper). No SRM, but Interior Northwest variant of SRM 412 (Juniper-Pinyon Woodland) was closest. Soil Conservation Service mapping unit #50 for Foothills and Mountains in Montana, Rocky Mountain Juniper and Limber Pine on Shallow Soil (Frigid Temperature Regime) (Hunter and Ross, 1976, p. 31). Middle Rockies- Elkhorn Mountains-Boulder Batholith Ecoregion, 17ai (McGrath et al. 2001). Jefferson County, Montana. June.

   
 
 

98.   Rocky Mountain cedar (= Rocky Mountain juniper)- Dinosaur National Monument, Unita County, Utah. June.

   
 
  99.  Leader with fleshy seeds of Rocky Mountain juniper- Dinosaur National Monument, Unita County, Utah. June.
   
 
 

100.  Mountain big sagebrush- Jefferson County, Montana. June.

   
 
  101.  Leader tips of mountain big sagebrush- Jefferson County, Montana. June.
   
 
 

102.  Little ricegrass- Jefferson County, Montana. June.

   
 
Lodgepole Pine Forest
   
  Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) is a widely occurring species with at least four taxonomic varieties (Harlow, Harrar, and Smith, 1979, pp. 109-112), or subspecies according to some authors.Two of these are inland taxa have a tree-growth form(arboreous, “being a tree”):1)Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine or black pine (P. contorta var. latifolia) and 2)Sierra lodgepole pine or tamarack pine (P. contorta var. murrayana).The Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980, pp. 97-98) did not differentiate among these taxa but included all varieties in one “very extensive” forest cover type.It “is one of the most widespread in western North America” and commonly occurs as a “pure” type though lodgepole pine is also a component in mixed stands or diverse forest communities.The two inland varieties or subspecies grow at a relatively wide elevational range and as components—often as associates—of several forest range types.Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is a member of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir types at lower limits and also to the Englemann spruce—subalpine fir type just below alpine.As an associate, Sierra lodgepole pine more commonly grows with limber pine (P. flexilis), Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi), and red fir (Abies magnifica) and at higher elevations and on wetter, poorly drained soils.Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine grows best on moist yet well-drained soils.
   
 

Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) is one of the most widely distributed species of pine in North America, and it’s adaptation to a range of habitats is matched with it’s geographic species range. Consistent with this lodgepole pine occurs as four varieties. This “cosmopolitan tree of wide distribution through western North America” (Harlow et al., 1979, p. 109) was also included and discussed with the forests of California’s Sierra Nevada and with the California coastal vegetation under the shrubland biome.

Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine (P. contorta var. latifolia) is arguably the varietal form adapted to the greatest diversity of environments and it occurs on various forest sites. From standpoint of edaphic adaptation, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is found on dry, gravely soils, moist yet well-drained soil, subirrigated, and even, waterlogged soils (refer to such basic references as Peattie, 1953; Fowells, 1965; Harlow et al., 1979).     

While Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is largely a trash tree from a commercial standpoint, or at least has traditionally been regarded by most lumbermen as a weedy tree of low value, it dominates countless acres and is one of the fastest trees to regenerate forests that were devastated by fire. Thus, lodgepole pine is a major forest cover type, and one of particular importance as forest range for both livestock and wildlife.

   
 
  103. Lodgepole pine forest range- This Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine forest was a nearly even-aged stand with almost no other species of conifer present (the young Douglas-fir in left foreground was included to show the closest to an upperstorey associate species). This forest was growing on a relatively gravely soil but at an elevation of about 4800 to 5200 feet in a saddle between hills on a predominately north slope such that cool air allowed a relatively moist soil profile. This particular forest, though small, was a mosaic of local habitats and microhabitats.  The understorey was dominated by common beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax)— overall or general understorey domianance— except for local microsites where the dominants were kinnikinnick or bearberry manzanita (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) or grouseberry or grouse wortleberry (Vaccinium scoparium). Smooth or Hitchcock woodrush (Luzula hitchcockii= L piperi) was widespread but not abundant growing only as isolated individuals. Beargrass is strikingly conspicuous by it’s inflorescences.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest), SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Lodgepole pine-beargrass (Pinus contorta/Xerophyllum tenax) community type (a seral, not a climax, community so community, not habitat, type) reported by Cooper et al. (1991) for northern Idaho; closely resembled the Pinus contorta-Pseudotsuga menziesii/Xerophyllum tenax-Vaccinium globulare community type reported for Montana by the Montana Natural Heritage Program (1988) except for the different Vaccinium species. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001). Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

104.   Lodgepole pine-beargrass understorey forest range- This is another view of the even-aged (more-or-less) Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine forest presented immediately above. While the soil was porus and droughty this predominant north slope was in a gap between hills such that it trapped cool air and lost less soil water to evapotranspiration. Douglas-fir was rare but present as the associate of the tree layer. Understorey dominant was common beargrass with grouse wortlebery as the understorey associate. Local microsites had kinnikinnick as the dominant— usually sole —species of the understorey (shown in a slide below). Smooth woodrush was present but only in small proportions. Forbs were essentially absent. The shrub in center was grouseberry or grouse wortleberry. The striking inflorescences of beargrass cannot be missed.    

It should be noted that while the density of Pinus approached that of “doghair’stand” characteristics this definitely did not meet the “doghair” state as there was a well-developed understory. Pines were predominantly of one age class but, as shown directly in a detailed photograph of the understorey, there was some reproduction and/or delayed germination from the same soil seedbank.  This was a true and complete seral community and not just a solid stand of lodgeole pine so thick that vegetation development was arrested.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest). SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Lodgepole pine-beargrass community type (a seral and not a climax or habitat type) based on Forest Service classification for northern Idaho (Cooper et al., 1991). Described in Montana (Montana Natural Heritage Program, 1988) as the Pinus controta-Pseudotsuga menziesii/Xerophyllum tenax-Vaccinium globulare which is “right on” except for the species of Vaccinium. Idaho Batholith- Lochsa-Selway-Clearwater Canyons Ecoregion, 16c (McGrath et al., 2001).
   
 
  105. Beargrass or, as it is known variously, basketgrass, elkgrass, pinelilly, soapgrass, and squawgrass     (Xerophyllum tenax)- This member of the Liliacaeae (lily family) is widely distributed throughout the Rocky Mountains and Cascades Range and extending through to the Olympic Peninsula and southward into Nevada and the Sierra Nevada of California. (Dayton, 1960, p.40) concluded that beargrass was generally of little or no forage value. Beargrass is sometimes, as in the community type displayed in the two preceding slides, a dominant climax species. It is beyond doubt one of the showest of range forbs in the Rocky Mountain and Intermountain Regions: “When in bloom, common beargrass is one of the most conspicuous and attractive mountain flowers and has appropriately been called’The Great White Monarch of the Northwest’” (Dayton, 1960, p. 40). Glacier National Park, July.
   
 
 

106. Inflorescences of common beargrass- Glacier National Park, Montana. July.

   
 
  107.  Understorey of Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine forest- This dense, primarily even-aged stand of lodgepole pine had common beargrass as the general understorey dominant, but locally bearberry manzanita or kinnikinnick dominated the understorey as seen here. A specimen of the dominant herb, beargrass, can be seen in the extreme left midground. Smooth woodrush was a widely scattered graminoid, an example of which is growing directly at base the larger lodgepole pine in left foreground. A carpet of  kinnikinnick grew elsewhere within range of the author’s Nikon. Clearwater National Forest, Idaho County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  108.   Kinnikinnick or bearberry manzanity (Arctostaphylos usa-ursi) in bloom- This low-growing, often prostrate, ericaceous (heather-like; member of Ericaceae) shrub frequently carpets floors of certain forest cover types such as lodgepole pine as shown in the immediately preceding slide. In this slide kinnikinnick carpeted the floor of a Idaho mixed conifer forest dominated by western white pine and western larch. Heyburn State Park, Benewah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  109. Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine-pinegrass forest range- Exterior view of one of the numerous forms of the lodgepole pine forest cover type valuable as forest range. This vegetation was described as the Pinus contorta/Calamagrostis rubescens community type in Montana by both the U.S. Forest Service (Pfister et al., 1977) and the Montana Natural Heritage Program (1988), but the Forest Service (Cooper et al, 1991) did not list or describe this community type for northern Idaho. (The author of the current publication described what he regarded as a similar inconisistency between Forest Service manuals of forest habitat types for Montana and northern Idaho and the state of Montana natural vegetation outline for the Pinus ponderosa series.) The range community shown here was regarded  by both the U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Natural Heritage Program as a community, and not a habitat, type thereby classifying it as seral and not climax vegetation. While the Soil Conservation Service listed pinegrass as a common component of climax forests in Montana the SCS most commonly listed pinegrass as an increaser ((Ross and Hunter, 1976, ps. 32, 33 35-41, 43). This was consistent with listing pinegrass as the understory dominant in a community (vs. habitat) type.

However, the vegetation shown here was in deterioration (retrogression) even from the natural seral community because Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), a naturalized invader, had replaced pinegrass as the dominant of the herbaceous layer. As noted throughout this publication Kentucky bluegrass is one of the numerous non-native (Eurasian), cool season grasses which naturalized and   must now be regarded as a permanent member of the natural vegetation. Furthermore, the naturalized perennial grasses like Kentucky bluegrass consistently make valuable contributions to range animal diets. It should also be underscored, however, that, as in this case of Kentucky bluegrass, the naturalized exotics more often than not produce less and inferior-quality forage than native climax species or even, as in this case of pinegrass, native increasers.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecossytem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest). SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Lodgepole pine-pinegrass community type. Forest Service allotment within University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest. Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
 

110.  Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine-pinegrass forest range- Interior view of a lodgepole pine forest community type (seral vegetation) valuable as forest range, but in a state of deterioration in which the invader Kentucky bluegrass replaced the native (but probably increaser) pinegrass as the understorey dominant. This is a more close-up view of the range shown in the preceding slide.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Sibalpine Forest). SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Lodgepole pine-pinegrass community type. Forest Service a llotment within University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest. Benewah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  111. Riparian lodgepole pine-Douglas or black hawthorn community- Lodgepole pine is one of the most    flood-tolerant (adapted to “waterlogged” or saturated soils) of all western pines. It can survive in habitats that are essentially “swamps”. For example, lodgepole pine often comes in on the margins of beaver ponds, frequently the pioneer tree on such environments. The vegetation shown here was a multi-layered riparian plant community growing along a small stream and out into the edges of a seasonally wet meadow. The canopy layer was exclusively Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine while the second layer (the first understorey or undercanopy) was Douglas or black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) and the third storey of vegetation, which grew right at stream’s edge, was Sitka or mountain alder (Alnus sinuata). This third layer was not visible in this exterior view, but is clearly visible in the next slide. Alder was a part of this general community only in water-logged soil of the stream bank where alder formed a colony or population in a narrow strip which was spatially adajacent to a mixture of alder and Douglas hawthorn that grew under the canopy of the lodgepole pine. Perhaps these two faintly distinct horizonal layers could be interpreted as two plant communities, but that view was inconsistent with the definition of community which specifies at least two species. Black hawthorn is the round-shaped shrub at the left foreground and the shrubs invading the meadow. This appeared to be a former wet sedge meadow (very few specimens of what seemed to be Carex aquatilis were found) that had been converted to a hay field of timothy. There was no evidence of recent hay-making activity and invasion by the hawthorn suggested expansion of the lodgepole pine-hawthorn community into the stand of timothy. No species of willow (Salix sp.) was found as a part of this community. This is one of many phases or forms of the lodgeole forest type or general ecosystem. It illustrated the diversity of both this forest range cover type and of riparian vegetation.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosystem), K –8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest). Variant of  SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). The Forest Service did not describe any community or habitat type in the Pinus contorta series even faintly resembling this vegetation. Instead this plant community appeared to a form of the Alnus sinuata communities (Cooper et al., 1991, p. 84) which was quite clearly incomplete for this particular expression of vegetation.

Latah County, Idaho. June.
   
 
  112. Riparian lodgepole pine-black hawthorn-river alder community(ies)- Interior view of the riparian forest vegetation shown in the last slide. Here the mountain or Sitka alder layer described under that photograph is distinct. The narrow horizonal layer formed by the solid or “pure” stand (colony) of alder could be interpreted as a separate community, but such a view is dubious given that community by definition must include more than one population (a group of individuals of one species that is capable of interbreeding). It seemed more precise to interpret this as a three-layer tree-shrub community. Black hawthorn was represented by the two darker-colored shrubs in foreground. Alder is the lighter-colored, “shiny” lower layer of shrubs beneath the lodgepole pine. This was strictly a browse range there being no herbaceous species beneath either of the shrub species. Other common riparian woody species such as willow and cottonwood were absent.

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosytem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest). Variant of SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). This was likely some “hybrid” community (ie. narrow ecotone) between an Alnus sinuata and a Pinus contorta-dominated community. Latah County, Idaho. June.

   
 
  113. Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine forest on subirriagated flood plain- Lodgepole pine is well-adapted to an array of soil moisture regimes (as long as soil is moist or “not too dry”). In the two preceding photographs lodgepole pine was showh growing on water-logged (or nearly so) soil with a shrub understory. In this and the next slide readers see lodgepole pine forest with a strictly herbaceous understory on a subirrigated alluvial flat adjacent to a mountain creek. There were fewer pines with increasing distance from the stream and decreasing water content of soil (diminished lateral movement of soil water). The herbaceous layer was not native vegetation being composed almost exclusively of the Eurasian invader Kentucky bluegrass. Elk sedge (Carex greyii) was the closest thing to an associate graminoid. Forbs were Lupinus, Senecio, and Ranunculus species.

When previously describing another form of lodgepole pine forest range the author explained to beginning students (and native plant purists) that while Kentucky bluegrass is an ecological invader and frequently a less desirable forage species than native plants, it has so thoroughly adapted to certain rangeland and forest types that management must include consideration of this alien species. Kentucky bluegrass is not so noxious nor its feed value so “inferior” as to justify control practices. Rather, wise resource managers (wildlifers and foresters as well as rangemen) must utilize the numerous benefits of this agronomic pasture grass (eg. feed for both livestock and grazing wildlife, soil and watershed protection). Point of origin notwithstanding, it must be remembered that Kentucky bluegrass provides some of the best pasture forage and is one of the most persistent pasture plants of any cool-season perennial grass in North America. The fact that this rhizomatous, widely distributed Poa species is adapted to human-induced disturbance very often turns out to be a  “blessing in disguise”. For instance, the Kentucky bluegrass and the lodgepole pine seen here had   revegetated and were protecting a highway and highway right-of-way from erosion as well as providing feed for native ruminants and reducing the threat from accelerated soil erosion to the adjacent stream, including pollution from sediment from road construction which could damage fish habitat (eg. interfere with hatching of fish eggs). The adaptation to disturbance by these two species— one native; one exotic —is obviously an ecological virtue along this stretch of man’s playground and commerce. 

FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest). Variant of  SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Middle Rockies- Bitterroot-Frenchtown Valley Ecoregion, 17s (Woods et al., 2002). Lolo Creek, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.
   
 
  114. Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine-Kentucky bluegrass forest range- Interior view of the lodgepole pine forest range shown immediately above. This subirrigated alluvial site was revegetated by Kentucky bluegrass and lodgepole pine following highway construction. (Note the even-aged structure of the pine population which indicated, at least strongly suggested, that this species came in following disturbance.) It was not known whether the bluegrass was reseeded as part of the road construction project and/or if some is natural revegetation by this naturalized species. Either way, man was the migration agent responsible for Kentucky bluegrass invasion. “This movement of a plant or group of plants from one area into another and establishment in the new home is termed invasion” (Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 148). Lodgepole pine is often a pioneering species following disturbance that leaves exposed or partly exposed mineral soil (eg. severe forest fires or human earth-moving activities). This is the process designated as initial causes of plant succession, in the instance of road-building a biotic cause (Weaver and Clements, 1938, ps. 106, 114-116). “Initial causes produce the bare area or destroy the original population in areas already vegetated…Initial causes of succession are those which prduce a new or denuded soil upon which invasion is possible” (Weaver and Clements, 1938, p. 106). Thus a disturbance (or the process of disturbance) that leaves a bare or partially bare soil (or even that removes soil) has often been called denudation or nudation. This is the initial process of the classic Cleamentsian model of plant succession often known traditionally as relay floristics and, in later years, as facilitation (Barbour et al., 1999, p. 294). The vegetation seen here developed at least partially due to such human-caused (anthropogenic) disturbances as road construction and associated logging. Terrace of Lolo Creek, Lolo National Forest, Missoula County, Montana. June.

For comprehensive references on loggepole pine see the fine work of Baumgartner et al, (1984) and the sweeping masterpiece of Koch (1996, esp. volume 1 for silvics).

   
 
 

115. Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine type—This cover type is one of the most extensive and important kinds of forest range in the northern Rocky Mountains.For instance, by some estimates it makes up to three-fourths of the forest types in Yellowstone National Park (and is regenerating well after the "cataclysmic" fires of 1988).Many lodgepole pine stands (eg. those of Yellowstone) are interpreted as either "fire types" or, in absence of fires intense enough to open serotinous cones, seral to the more mesic forests dominated by subalpine fir. Lodgepole pine forests vary from thick "dog-hair stands" having no understory to widely spaced, open forest communities of several layers of vegetation or with only an herbaceous layer similar to park-like ponderosa pine forests.Despain (1990, ps. 108-111) presented five lodgepole pine cover types, based on age and development of vegetation, for Yellowstone National Park. On some forest sites, lodgepole pine is seral to the climax Englemann spruce and subalpine fir cover type (lodgepole pine is classified as an intolerant species) while on other sites lodgepole pine is the climax dominant. Soils and relief (slope, aspect, etc.) of specific forest sites as well as climatic variables (esp. fire) determine successional status of lodgepole pine.

As just mentioned, Rocky Mountain lodgepole has serotinous cones and as such old forests often are “over-ripe” with a high percentage of dead or dying trees and limited regeneration.This may be accompanied by heavy parasitism by dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum).Both of these conditions are seen here in this lodgepole forest at about 7500 foot elevation (Transition life zone) in Yellowstone National Park prior to the "great fire of 1988". Recurrent fire will maintain this forest range as a lodgepole pine forest, but even under the estimated natural fire regime there will be periods when this vegetation will be the mesophytic climax having subalpine fir and Englemann spruce as dominants and lodgepole pine as the associate species (relict trees from the preceeding lodgepole pine community). This was shown in the next slide.

Lodgepole pine most likely got its name from the well-documented practice of Indians using the peeled trunks as poles for wigwams as well as for the travois drug by dogs or squaws.White men later used the light, uniform-diameter logs for telegraph poles, corrals, cabins, ect.The case has been made that "lodgepole" could also have come form the jackstraw tangle formed by dead, fallen pines hanging up in crowns of neighboring trees (i.e. "lodged poles") typically seen in old-growth stands.This condition results in reduced crown cover and hence allows light to support an understory of grasses, sedges, forbs, and even scattered Englemann spruce as seen in this shot.

The forest shown here consisted pirmarily of fully mature lodgepole pine with some lodgepole pine seedlings and saplings (eg. young pine at far left margin). Much of the reproduction, however, was of subalpine fir, Englemann spruce (small sapling in center), and even scattered whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis).Grasses included of Poa nervosa, Phleum alpinum,, and Deschampsia caespitosa with scattered Bromus tectorum.Carex species were also common.Shrubs were sparse but dominant species included grouse whortleberry (Vaccinium scoparium) and globe huckleberry (V. globulare).July.FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Ecosystem).K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest).SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Despain (1990, ps. 110-111) cover type, LP3. Middle Rockies- Yellowstone Plateau Ecoregion, 17j (Chapman et al., 2003).

   
 
 

116. Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine FirType—Northern Rocky Mountain variant of the extensive range cover type typically found at mid-elevation of forests (usually between Douglas fir-quaking aspen and spruce-fir forest types) in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges. In the diverse climax community seen here subalpine fir (foremost tree and characteristic bark) and Englemann spruce as dominant species grew with lodgepole pine,becoming the associate species, which persisted as relicts from the previous seral stage having probably been established by intense fire. Adult conifers grew with a multilayered understory of regenerating conifers (all species including the intolerant lodgepole pine) and shrubs such as grouse whortleberry, bearberry or kinnikinnic (Arctostaphylus uva-ursi), mountain gooseberry (Ribes montigenum), buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), and birchleaf spiraea (Spiraea betulifolia).Smaller conifer seedlings and saplings besides lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, and Englemann spruce include whitebark pine.Major grasses included bluegrasses (example:Poa nervosa) pine reedgrass (Calamagrostis rubescens), bluejoint reedgrass (C. canadensis), alpine timothy, and tufted hairgrass.Sedges included Carex geyeri and C. rossi.Forbs included twin flower (Linnaea borealis), stickygeranium (Geranium viscosissimum), and the conspicuous silver lupine (Lupinus argenteus).

July.Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Ecosystem).K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest).SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Despain (1990, ps. 111-112) cover type, SF. Middle Rockies- Yellowstone Plateau Ecoregion, 17j (Chapman et al., 2003).

   
 
   
 
 

117. Lodgepole Pine Forest Type—Forest fire smoke in this forest bespeaks the typical condition that the lodgepole forest is usually seral to such climax forest types as subalpine fir—Englemann spruce and is maintained by fire when the high temperatures cause opening of serotinus cones and release of seed into mineral soil (i.e. lodgepole pine is often a fire type).

July.Grand Teton National Park.FRES No. 26 (Lodgepole Pine Ecosystem).K-8 (Lodgepole Pine-Subalpine Forest).SAF 218 (Lodgepole Pine). Middle Rockies- Yellowstone Plateau Ecoregion, 17j (Chapman et al., 2003).
   
 
 

118. Colony of fireweed or willowherb (Epilobium augustifolium= Chamaenerion augustifolium)- This member of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae) got it's more common common name from it's adaptation to fire, especially intense forest fires. Fireweed is a pioneer species-- usually the most prominent pioneer-- following fires. This perennial species is found in various regions of North America, but is most widely distributed in the general Rocky Mountain and Pacific Slope Regions.

Fireweed is especially valuable in watershed stability and protection following fires that denude steeply sloping land. It has been regarded as being of fair to good forage (when immature) for small ruminants. The showy, bright-pink inflorescences and graceful leaves impart aesthetic values to this forest and range forb as well.

Fireweed was one of the 200 range plant species included on the Master List for the International Range Plant Identification Contest sponsored by the Society for Range Management. The various editions of North American Range Plants (Stubbendieck et al., 1981, 1982, 1992, etc.) provided complete, yet concise, descriptions of E. augustifolium. Readers were referred to those excellent works. This species was also included in the Range Plant Handbook (Forest Service, 1941, p. W50) and Notes on Western Range Forbs (Hermann, 1966, ps. 185-186).

This robust clump was photographed in the understory of a mature lodgepole pine forest (elevation about 6000 feet) in Yellowstone National Park (and even before the 1988 holocaust). While fireweed is a pioneer and rapidly invades burnt-over ground it still persist into the climax forest as shown in this slide. July.
   
 

  119. Inflorescence and individual flowers of fireweed or willowherb- This specimen was photographed at peak bloom in the Routt National Forest, Jackson County, Colorado. July.
   
 
Silvicultural Practices in the Northern Rocky Mountain Mixed Conifer Forest
   
 

Silviculture and silvicultural systems were introduced and discussed variously in this publication. Refer to the toolbar sections of Sierra & Coast Range Forests (specifically the Sierran Mixed Conifer Type), Coast Redwood, and Oak-Hickory Forest. The following basic definitions were provided for and to facilitate understanding for the beginning student:

Silviculture- “The art of producing and tending a forest; the application of the knowledge of silvics in the treatment of a forest; the theory and practice of controlling forest establishment, composition, and growth” (Munns, 1950); “generally, the science and art of cultivating (ie. growing and tending) forest crops, based on a knowledge of silvics; more particularly, the theory and practice orf controlling the establishment, composition, constitution, and growth of forests” (Ford-Robertson, 1971); “the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of forests and woodlands to meet the diverse needs and values of landwowners and society on a sustainable basis” (Helms, 1998). Verbatim definitions showing changes (if any) in the meaning(s) of silviculture.

“The method of handling the forest in view of its silvics—modified in practice by economic factors—is silviculture” (Daniel et al, 1979. p. 4).

 “Silviculture has been various defined as the art of producing and tending a forest; the application of knowledge of silvics in the treatment of a forest; the theory and practice of controlling forest establishment, compositon, structure, and growth” (Spurr, 1979). Silvicultural practice consists of the various treatments that may be applied to forest stands to maintain and enhance their utility for any purpose. The duties of the forester are to analyze the natural and social factors bearing on each stand and then devise and conduct the treatments most appropriate to the objective of management.

“Silviculture is to forestry as agronomy is to agriculture in that it is concerned with the technology of crop production. Like forestry itself, silviculture is an applied science that rest ultimately upon the more fundamental natural and social sciences. The immediate foundation of silviculture in the natural sciences is silvics, which deals with the principles underlying the growth and development of single trees and of the forest as a biological unit… The practice of silviculture is concerned with the social as well as the biological aspects of forestry. The implicit objective of forestry is to make forests useful to society. Since all management is, therefore, aimed at economic objectives it is almost impossible to separate the biological aspects from the economic…Silviculture is normally directed at the creation and maintenance of the kind of forest that will best fulfill the objectives of the owner. “ (Smith, 1986, ps.1, 2).  

Silvics- “The study of the life history and general characteristics of forest trees and stands, with particular reference to envioronmental factors, as a basis for the practice of silviculture” (Helms, 1998).

“Silvicultural practice encompasses all treatments applied to forest vegetation. While there is much more to the understanding of these treamtment than their definitions and nomenclature, the terminology must be understood and used carefully and precisely. Sloppy us of the terms has caused all manner of misunderstanding within the forestry profession and in dealings with the general public” (Smith, 1986, p. 13).

Smith (1986, p. 13-14) explained that all silvicultural practices or treatments could be defined under the two categories of:

1.  methods of reproduction- traeatments of stand and site during the period of regeneration or establishment and

2.  tending or intermediate cutting- treatments at other times during the rotation*; they may be conducted during development from the regeneration stage to maturity and are done to improve the existing stand, regulate its growth, and provide for early financial returns, without any effort directed at regeneration. “Intermediate treatment- any treatment or tending designed to enhance growth, quality, vigor, and composition of the stand after establishment or regeneration and prior to final harvest” (Helms, 1998).

Thinnings- tending operations (= intermediate cuttings) aimed primarily at controlling the growth of stands by adjusting stand density,

Release operations- cuttings done to regulate species composition and improve the quality of very young stands,

Improvement cuttings- cuttings done in older stands to regulate species composition and improve the quality of these stands, 

Pruning- intermediate cuttings involving only removal of branches, and

Stand improvements- tending opertions requiring direct investment without any wood harvest (removal) such that “cutting” is used in a figurative or generic sense.

Chapter 17 of Daniel et al. (1979, ps. 416-435) covered intermediate treatments. It is easily read and understood.

*Rotation- the period during which a single crop or generation is allowed to grow (Smith, 1986, p.14); “the planned number of years between the formation or regeneration of a crop or stand and its final cutting at a special stage of maturity (in a selection [uneven-aged] forest the mean exploitable age replaces the rotation)” (Ford-Robertson, 1971); “in even-aged systems, the period between regeneration establishment and final cutting— note rotation may be based on many criteria including mean size, age, culmination of mean annual increment, attainment of particular minimum physical or value growth rate, and biological condition” (Helms, 1998).

Regeneration or reproduction (synonymous) is the act of replacing trees, either naturally or artificially (Smith, 1986, p. 14); the renewal of a tree crop, whether by natural or artificial means, hence natural regeneration such as self-sown seed or vegetative means like coppicing or root suckering and artificial regeneration such as tree planting, both means result in restocking of the area (Ford-Robertson, 1971); the act of renewing tree cover by establishing young trees naturally  (natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (direct seeding or planting) (Helms, 1998). Advance regeneratioin (=advance reproduction) is restocking which appears spontaneously or is induced under existing stands (Smith, 1986, p. 14).

Reproduction or regeneration cuttings are those silvicultural practices made with the dual goals of: 1) removing older trees and 2) creating habitats or environments conducive for establishment of regeneration (ie. for restocking) (Smith, 1986, p. 14).

Regeneration or reproduction period is the period of time over which regeneration cuttings extend.These may range from one to several in number and the reproduction period may extend from several years to several decades. In uneven-aged forests managed under the selection system regeneration is almost always on-going in at least some part of the forest. The regeneration period begins when site preparation starts and ends when young, growing trees have been established at the proper density (Smith, 1986, p. 14).

Silvicultural system- A process, following accepted silvicultural principles, whereby the cropsconstituting forest are tended, harvested, and replaced, resulting in the production of crops of distinctive form; note: systems are conveniently classified according to the method of carrying out the fellings that remove the mature crop with a view to regeneration (eg. regeneration cutting) and according to the type of crop produced thereby (Ford-Robertson, 1971); a planned series of treatments for tending, harvesting, and re-establishing a stand—note the system name is based on the number of age classes (coppice, even-aged, two-aged, uneven-aged) or the regeneration method (clearcutting, seed tree, shelterwood, selection, coppice, coppice with reserves) used (Helms, 1998); a program for the treatment of a stand during a whole rotation, the silvicultural system includes both the method of reproduction and any tending operations but it is customarily given the name of the reproduction method employed (a confusing custom that arose because the regeneration method has a decisive effect on the structure and treatment of the stand throughout its life) (Smith, 1986, p. 13).

Regeneration or reproduction method – a cutting procedure by which a new age class is created; the major methods are clearcutting, seed tree, shelterwood, selection, and coppice; synonym, reproduction method (Helms, 1998).

“A reproduction [= regeneration] method is a procedure by which a stand is established or renewed; the process is accomplished during the regeneration period by artificial or natural reproduction. The various methods consist of the removal of the old stand, the establishment of a new one, and any supplementary treatments of vegetation, slash, or soil that are applied to create and maintain conditions favorable to the start and early gowth of reproduction. Any procedure, intentional or otherwise, that leads to the development of a new stand of trees is identifiable as a method of reproduction (Smith, 1986, p. 329).

“Regeneration method- “a cutting procedure by which a new age class is created; the major methods are cleaarcutting, seed tree, shelterwood, selection, and coppice” (Helms, 1998). Chapter 18 of Daniel et al. (1979, ps. 436-455) is highly recommended.

“The term silvicultural system is more comprehensive and designates a planned program of silvicultural treatment during the whole life of a stand; it includes not only the reproduction cuttings but also any tending operations or intermediate cuttings. The reproduction methods employed have such a decisive influence on the form and treatment of the stand that the name of the method is commonly applied to that silvicultural system; the shelterwood system, for example, leads to reproduction by   means of the shelterwood method of cutting.” (Smith, 1986, p. 329).

For detailed coverage of the various silvicultural systems shown in the following photographs readers are referred to the various authorities cited for the above definitions and their concepts. Also highly recommeded is Agriculture Handbook Number 445 (U.S. Forest Service, 1979) and of course section 8 of the SAF Forestry Handbook, “bible” of the North American forester (Wenger, 1984, ps. 413-455).

 
120. Seed tree regeneration method in western larch- The seed tree reproduction method is one of the even-aged methods (those that regenerate and maintain a stand with a single age class). Seed tree regeneration involves “the cutting of all trees except for a small number of widely dispersed trees retained for seed production and to produce a new age class in fully exposed microenvironment”; the seed trees in turn are usually harvested after regeneration is established (Helms, 1998). Smith (1986, ps. 330, 396) explained that seed tree reproduction was one of the high-forest methods (producing forest stands from seed and in contrast to coppice-forest reproduction methods in which stands reproduce mostly from vegetative regeneration) consisting of removal of the old stand in one cutting  (ie. the stand is clearcut) except for a relatively small number of seed trees left singly or in small groups to provide the seed to naturally restock the cleared forest. Once the new crop (generation) of trees is established (restocking is successful) the seed trees may be removed in a second cutting or left indefinitely. (See pages 396-402 in Smith, 1986.)

This steep slope grew a second-growth western larch forest that was harvested by clear-cutting in the year prior to this shot. Close observation revealed that the second- (or, maybe, third-) growth forest had been an uneven-aged stand, and two age classes of seed trees were left. Trees of the older age class were left as single seed trees while trees of the younger age class (the smaller trees) were left in clumps or “bunches”. It should also be observed that older (relatively large) seedlings were also present. Thus something of a “next crop” was assured. The harvest operation and pre-harvest standcomposition resulted in a seed-tree method that resempled or had some features of a two-aged regeneration method (one in which there is regeneration and maintenance of stands with two ageclasses [Helms, 1998]). This may have been as much by default as design (ie. a younger age class was present that was too young to produce abundant seed and too small to log).  

Logging released numerous browse plants such as serviceberry, common snowberry, ninebark, ocean spray, and Rocky Mountain maple. Regeneration of these shrub species (either as seedlings, sprouts from damaged shrubs, or faster-growing undamaged plants was rapid) as shown here at mid-point of the first growing season post-logging. As shrubs grow and restock this slope it will become a high-quality big game range. It is too steep for efficient cattle grazing and although smaller ruminant livestock like sheep and goats could readily use it this forest grazing land this small isolated tract was reserved for wildlife habitat. This is an example of how forest harvest and regeneration (ie. silviculuture) go hand-in-glove with production of livestock and/or wildlife.

t should be observed that while herbaceous species, including numerous species of forage grasses and sedges, were also released by tree cutting growth and restocking rate of shrubs was so rapid that they will exclude light from any developing herbaceous layer and prevent dvelopment of this layer as effectively as did the tree canopy. This is browse range.

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Western larch is typically a pioneer species coming in following fire and persisting in climax mixed conifer forests as scattered relict individuals. Western larch as “pure” or single-species stands is thus seral to the climax and was shown by the U. S. Forest Service FRES as part of or under the above Kuchler potential natural vegetation unit K-13. The Forest Service (1979, p. 38) noted that western tamarack can be most readily maintained by even-aged silvicultural systems like seed tree, shelterwood, or patch clearcutting. Seed tree regeneration is a time-honored reproduction method for western larch having been recommended for this species by Westveld (1939, p. 402). Seral, no habitat type.
 
121. A “hybrid” (“three-way cross”) regeneration method in the Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifertype- The silvicultural system shown here involved a combination of seed-tree, clearcutting, and shelterwood regeneration methods  (Harold Osborn, experimental forest superintendent, personalcommunication). In the spring right after winter logging (start of first growing season following harvest) this site was prepared by prescribed burning and planted to seedlings mostly of ponderosa pine and western white pine with some western larch and Douglas-fir. There was some natural regeneration of western larch from seed trees. The harvested forest had been second-growth grand fir-Douglas fir, the climax composition for this forest site. This management unit was being converted from that climax forest  (potential natural forest vegetation) in order to produce greater wood yield  (higher stumpage) from the faster growing seral species which were also less susceptible to insect pests like the Douglas-fir tussock moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata) and more in tune with lumber market demand.This photograph was taken about mid-way into the first growing season following logging  (and about three months post-prescribed burning). 

Logging was done with a “pincher harvester” and when ground was frozen to prevent site degradation by equipment-induced soil erosion. This photograph was taken from the landing (the cleared area in the forest to which logs are yarded or skidded to the logging truck for transport to the mill [Helms, 1998].        

Larger slash was used to construct a “poor boys” corduory road at the landing as protection from soil erosion and excessive compaction.The topped trunks were left as home sites for cavity nesting wildlife species (especially birds). The exact location of each “man-made snag” was determined by  Global Positioning System technology, then recorded, and will be monitored for any occupants. Ain’t research grand!

An example of what herbage and browse will become available for range animals later in this rotation can be imagined from photographs of thinned forests and forest clearcuts on this same property, University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, which were presented below in this section of silvicultural practices. 

To reiterate, the pre-harvest forest was primarily a grand fir-Douglas-fir climax forest. It was being converted into a mostly pondereosa pine-western white pine forest-western larch forest. The pioneer or seral species were chosen for their faster growth rate and lesser susceptibility to certain insects, especially the Douglas-fir tussock moth. Given this forest cover type conversion there was no obvious FRES designation. Readers can take their choices of FRES Nos. 21, 22, or 25 (ponderosa pine, western white pine, or western larch, respectively). Likewise, SAF forest cover types based on a single dominant species were not applicable to this regenerating forest. University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.
 
122. Interior view of a “hybrid” silviclutural system in Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest. The system of silviculture shown here was based on a “three-way cross” of seed-tree, shelterwood, and clearcutting regeneration methods. The forest was logged in winter by a “pincher harvester” in order to minimize damage to the site (the ground was frozen and slash was used to fashion a corduory road-like trail to the landing). The spring following winter logging (first spring post-winter harvest) the site was prepared by prescribed fire and replanted with seedlings mostly of western white pine, ponderosa pine, and western larch, with some Douglas-fir. The harvested second-growth forest had the approximate composition of the grand fir-Douglas-fir climax, but the forest in this management area is being changed to a mixture of the faster-growing seral species which are also less susceptible to insect pest like the Douglas-fir tussock moth and more in line with the current lumber market.

Some harvested trees were topped or “high-cut” (real high) to create artificial snags for cavity nesting animals. (These snags were located, identified, and recorded using technology of Global Positioning Systems.These potential home sites— critters will have to build their own houses— were being monitored for anticipated feathered or furred guest , should any choose to oblige forest researchers.)  Explanation courtesty of Harold Osborn, “chief forester”, Flat Creek Experimental Forest (personal tour and communication to author). 

 What herbage and browse may become available to range animals as this rotation advances in age can be imagined from slides of clearcut and thinned forests on this same property, Univrsity of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, shown below in this section on silvicultural practices in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region.     

FRES, Kuchler and SAF designations did not seem appropriate or relevant for this particular parcel at this point in the rotation, but FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest) was closest to the pre-Columbian climax vegetation which was clearly K-13. FRES No. 21 or 22 (ponderosa pine or western white pine, respectively) would be equally appropriate now. University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

123. Clearcut in Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- This 26 acre clearcut was cable-logged and line-skidded two summers prior to the scene in this photograph. Three months following logging the area was broadcast burnt with a slow backing fire (downhill from point of photograph). Then the following March the land was planted to seedlings (400 seedlings/acre) of four conifer species: ponderosa pine on ridges, Douglas-fir and western white pine on bottomland of valley floor, and western larch on mid-slopes. This photogrpph was taken in June 15 months after tree planting and roughly two years after clearcut logging and prescribed burning. Details of vegetation (and it’s feed value) were given uder description of the next slide. 

No FRES No. was obvious but a “multiple guess with no wrong answer” would be to choose from  among Nos. 21, 22 or 25 (ponderosa pine, western white pine, or western larch, respectively). No SAF fit either. University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 
124. Detail of vegetation on an area that had been clearcut two years earlier- This area (26 acres) was clearcut harvested by a combination of cable-logging and line-skidding two years prior to time of this photograph. The forest was logged in summer and three months later was broadcast burned by prescription using a slow backing fire (moving downhill from this general spot of initial ignition). The following March (about 15 months prior to this photograph) the unit was planted to conifer seedlings (400 trees/acre) of Douglas-fir and and western white pine in the valley, ponderosa pine on the ridges, and western larch on mid-slopes. While many herbaceous species (of both pioneer and later seral stages) quickly colonized, red-stem ceanothus or snowbush (Ceanothus sanguineus) was the overwhelming dominant with 40,000 stems/acre. This species is the somewhat creeping shrub with the red branches in the foreground. An unbrowsed specimen of C. sanguineus is blooming in left-center foreground. Most of the Ceanothus plants had been browsed by mule deer and/or elk.

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

125. Red-stem ceanothus or snowbush heavily browsed by mule deer and/or elk- This is ground level of a 26 acre clearcut that was prescription burned by a slow-moving backing fire and replanted to western white pine, Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and western larch at total rate of 400 trees/acre. Snowbush quickly established as the dominant colonizing species among various herbaceous plants that ranged from weedy composites to native perennial bunchgrasses. Few plants of C. sanguineus escaped with no browsing  by the cervids. The typical degree of use on Ceanothus was represented by the defoliation shown here. Such browsing was beneficial to the planted trees and forest regeneration as well as to the native ruminants. Browsing obviously supports native game herds and this defoliation also reduces competition between the planted conifers (and any natural seedlings) and the faster-growing browse species. To the forester wanting to quickly and efficiently re-establish the next tree crop the red-stem ceanothus is brush (a noxious forest plant; a woody weed). Various weedy forbs were also grazed by the deer and/or elk as can be seen by the heavily used wild lettuce (Lactuca sp.) and thistle (Cirsium sp.) in upper left corner of photograph (adjacent to burnt stick). Wildlife and trees, wildlifer and forester find common ground using the clearcutting silvicultural system under these conditions. This is a textbook example of the multiple benefits derived from multiple use management in Forestry, Range Manageament, and Wildlife Management.   

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

126. Ponderosa pine plantation- The management area shown here was planted to ponderosa pine (600 trees/acre) 18 years ago. It is a monoculture, a stand of a single species and generally even-aged   (Helms, 1998). Monocultures can be established by either artificial regeneration (as in this case) or by natural reproduction. While there is little biological diversity in the tree layer of this stand there was considerable species diversity in the other layers of vegetation. Note for example the conspicuous panicles of timothy in the foreground. Red-stem ceanothus was a major shrub in the lower woody layer.This management area adjoined the 26 acre clearcut shown in the immediately preceding three slides. These two conterminous management areas served as an outstanding example of how it is possible to achieve considerable biodiversity even when monocultures are included in forest management. This also provided students with an illustration of the concept of compartment. A compartment is “a portion of a forest under one ownership, usually contiguous and composed of a variety of forest stand types”  (Helms, 1998). The compartment is “the basic territorial unit of a forest estate, permanently defined for purposes of location, description and record, and as a basis for forest management; commonly a subdivision of a block which is the primary subdivision and major territorial unit of a forest estate [= forest property], generally bounded by natural features” (Ford-Robertson, 1971). Even with limited “variety”within a single management area, tremendous variation can be achieved within individual compartments (and even more at the scale of the block). This is the case even in commercial or industrial forests. Such management works to optimize or, in some cases, maximize such things as economic returns and stability of the firm as well as wildlife habitat; livestock grazing lands; and forest diversity, protection, production, etc.

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

127.  Ponderosa pine plantation with improper site preparation- This 17-year old plantation contrasted sharply with the 18-year old plantation shown in the preceding photograph. Both plantations are on the same forest property and a similar forest site. Belated site preparation allowed establishment of weeds and brush on the land seen here that resulted in severe competition for the planted ponderosa pines. This included volunteer lodgepole pines that had naturally reseeded into the partly exposed mineral soil of the clearcut forest. The worst result arising from failure to achieve rapid restocking from standpoint of long-term productivity of the land and sound investment in the forest property was accelerated soil erosion (an example is visible as bare ground at far right behind four small lodgepole pines) which reduced production potential of the site. Just as seedbed preparation is the key to successful reseeding of range and pasture site preparation is the key to successful forest regeneration.

Site preparation- “hand or mechanical manipulation of a site, designed to enhance the success of regeneration; treatments can include burning, bedding, herbicide spraying, chopping, disking, and anything else which modifies soil, litter, or vegetation to create microhabitat conditions favorable for establishment and subsequent rapid growth of the planted or seeded forest species” (Helms, 1998).  

        University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

128.  Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- Exterior of a grand fir-Douglas-fir form of Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest. This is an example of the species-rich mixed conifer climax found in the region encompassing northern Idaho, western Montana, eastern Washington and Oregon, southern Saskatchewan, and extreme eastern British Columbia. It is one of  several variants of the regional forest  known by lumbermen as the “Idaho Mix”. The diverse species composition of the forest shown here was roughly 40% grand fir, 30% Douglas-fir, and 30% distributed variously among western larch, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, western white pine, Englemann spruce, and subalpine fir and, for a last dash of variety, a trace of western hemlock (Harold Osborn, forester and superintendent of Flat Creek Experimental Forest, personal communication). This is the grand fir-Douglas-fir-dominated forest that Kuchler (1964, 1966) interpreted as the potential natural vegetation at a landscape or subregional scale. It was designated and described as the Abies grandis zone by Franklin and Dryness (1973, ps. 193-198). As shown in photographs below, the herbaceous understory has been greatly modified by European man who introduced many agronomic grasses that naturalized and frequently formed an herbaceous layer drastically different from (but just as “permanent” as) the pre-Columbian vegetation.

The woody component (primarily a conifer upperstorey with a minor shrub, or second woody, layer) was largely unaltered by human action. The stand was not altered or modified by tending or intermediate treatments. It should be compared (and contrasted) with the conterminous stand shown in the immediately succeeding slide. The brown (mostly dead) needles were caused by the Douglas-fir tussock moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata) which grazes selectively on Douglas-fir and grand fir. It was explained above that this was one reason why foresters opted to convert some grand fir-Douglas-fir (the climax) forest to less susceptible, and often faster growing, seral species (seral compared to the potential climax on these sites) like ponderosa pine, western white pine, and western larch. The herbaceous layer (including naturalized domestic species) was shown and described at length below.

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), which is misleading, K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest), which is exactly what it was. SAF 213 (Grand Fir). University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

Another example of the grand fir forest cover type (SAF 213) was shown and discussed above in this Section (Northern Rocky Mountains and Interior Pacific Northwest Region).

 

129. Grand fir-Douglas-fir-dominated Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- Exterion view of a grand fir-Douglas-fir climax form of the general (regional) mixed conifer forest found throughout much of the Northern Rocky Mountains and Interior Pacific Northwest. This stand was subjected to some tending  (= intermediate cutting), specifically at least one thinning. This more open understory and wider spacing of trees (lower tree density and less crown cover) may more closely represent composition, structure (architecture), and physiogonomy of climax old-growth stands, at least those subjected to pre-Smokey Bear fire regimes. It would follow that untended stands might be more typical of old-growth forest that had been “missed” by natural fires for a number of years. This stand was contiguous with the one shown in the preceding  slide. Species composition of this forest vegetation was approximately 40% grand fir, 30% Douglas-fir, and with remaining 30% distributed among ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, western larch, western white pine, Englemann spruce and subalpine fir, plus a  “lost” western hemlock or two (Harold Osborn, forest superintendent, Flat Creek Experimental Forest, personal communication) . The herbaceous understory of this specific forest community was shown and described beginning three slides after this one.

FRES designation was misleading and not appropriate. K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir). University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

130. Interior of an unthinned climax grand fir-Douglas-fir-dominated mixed conifer forest- This is an “inside look” at a potion or parcel of the specific forest seen from the “outside” in the last two slides. The first of these was of a portion (a photographic sample quadrant so to speak) that had not been tended, at least not in recent years. The second portion (photographic plot) of the forest had received some thinning treatment(s) with the effects from such tending apparent. The photograph shown here was taken at the edge of the tended parcel showing the understory of an untended parcel of the forest. Regeneration of grand fir and Douglas-fir was high and exceeded that of other species, but some seedlings of the seral conifers were also present, especially for western larch which could be explained by presence of several large specimens serving as seed trees (eg. tree in right foreground with the atypically, for western larch, gray bark). The largest tree (left foreground) and the tree behind and to right of the largest one were grand fir. The tree at far right margin was Douglas-fir. FRES designation was not appropriate, K-13 (Grand fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir).

Abies grandis/Pachistima myrsinites habitat type. This is an example of the one habitat type in this   region that is dominated by grand fir according to Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968, ps. 26- 29). P. myrsinites, known variously as Oregon boxwood, falsebox, and mountain lover, is the key to this association. Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968, p. 26) specified: “In the Pachistima union that characterizes the undergrowth, no species is regularly dominant …” Rather it is the presence, even if not as a dominant, of mountain lover that designates this climax plant community. Mountain lover was the most common understory shrub in both the untended and tended portions of the climax forest vegetation shown in this sequence of slides. Viewers can distinguish mountain lover in this slide by it’s opposite, oblong leaves that appear somewhat shiny and by its  reddish flowers present in the specimen at the base and to the right of the trunk of the big grand fir (at least that was the case when the original slide was projected and before loading as a j-peg on the compact disk). Oregon boxwood can also be seen (in bloom) in the next slide following this one in front of the western larch (the smaller trunk on the right; rightmost of the two large foreground trees). Two other diagnostic species specified for this habitat type by Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968, ps. 26-27) that can be seen in the current slide were Columbia brome (Bromus vulgaris) which was “always present” in this area and Douglas-fir, “the most common seral tree”. Columbia brome can be seen standing directly in front and to the immediate left of the trunk of the western larch (again, the bole on the right in the two large foreground trees).

Dirty Underwear: The Abies grandis series of forest habitat type classification was studied and described at length for northern Idaho by Cooper et al. (1991, ps.59-72). They referred to the Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968) grand fir-mountain lover habitat type and concluded that it did not exist.  Rather Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968) had, according to Cooper et al. (1991, p. 59), a “limited data set … that underrepresented environmental diversity” that “…resulted in lumping of distinct environments where data were inadequate to assess the variablity represented”. Cooper et al. (1991, p. 59) had far more sample stands and presented three habitat types in the Abies grandis series, none of which was the one identified and described by Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968). The roblem is that the forest vegetation shown in this and the next photographs was more closely, far more closely, described by the Daubenmire’s grand fir-mountain lover habitat type than by any of the eight habitat types, and their 14 phases (some habitat types had no phases), of Cooper et al. (1991).

Air it out folks!

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

131. Interior view of Grand fir-Douglas-fir climax form of the Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- This is a “closer-in” view of the same scene of forest vegetation shown in the preceding slide. The photograph was taken at the edge of a thinned portion of the forest so as to take in the unthinned portion of the forest immediately behind the treated parcel. Two large trees in center foreground are those shown in the preceding photograph: larger tree on left was grand fir and trunk on right was western larch. The understorey dominant was the shrub called mountain lover or Oregon boxwood. This was the defining species of the forest habitat type shown here, in both thinned and unthinned portions. A specimen of mountain lover in bloom stands directly in front of the previously indicatd western larch. Other coniferous species of the upper canopy or forest crown layer included Douglas-fir (eg. the tree just to the left of and behind the western larch), Englemann spruce, ponderosa pine, western white pine, lodgepole pine, and subalpine fir. Growing with mountain lover (and to about the same height) was Columbia bromegrass which, as discussed for the preceding slide, was the other indicator species for this published habitat type represented in this sequence of slides. Most of the seedlings and young trees of intermediate height (saplings) were grand fir followed by Douglas-fir, but there were also young trees (including seedlings at edge of thinned portion) of western larch and Englemann spruce, those of the latter being indicative of this habitat type (Daubenmire and Daubenmire, 1968, p. 27).

The average overall tree species composition of this forest was roughly 40% grand fir, 30% Douglas-fir and 30% among remaining conifers just listed (Harold Osborn, forester and experimental forest superintendent, personal communication). Species composition of herbaceous layer was discussed below with photographs of the understory.

FRES designation was not appropriate. K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir). Habitat type was Abies grandis/Pachistima myrsinites (Daubenmire and Daubenmire, 1968, ps. 26-29). University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

132.  Interior of grand fir-Douglas-fir climax forest- This is another “inside view” of the unthinned portion of the grand fir-Douglas-fir form of Idaho mixed conifer forest. It is a good example of the edaphic or topographic climax vegetation within the regional (climatic) climax western hemlock-western red cedar forest. It is the climax forest type for this site in absence of such disturbances as wild fire or major insect outbreaks. From the standpoint of forest grazing grounds (forest range), the “center of attention” from perspective of this publication, this untended parcel of climax forest served as the “control plot” for purposes of comparison with the forest range on the contiguous thinned (tended) parcel tht was shown and described in the next four slides. Species composition of the forest crown layer appeared similar between tended and untended parcels being roughly 70% grand fir and Douglas-fir, the latter primarily persisting in the forest canopy as a late seral relict along with the 30% comprised of western larch, western white pine, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, and Englemann spruce. Most of the younger trees, which formed a middle layer (an undercanopy or lower crown cover) between mature trees and a shrub-herb layer, were the regeneration of the tolerant grand fir. In other words grand fir is the climax conifer of this forest cover type and habitat type, the other coniferous species being relicts from earlier seral stages. In this densest interior of the unthinned forest (the control plot) an herbaceous component in the understory was mostly absent except for infrequent plants of Columbia brome and stunted Kentucky bluegrass. Mountain lover was present in both control and thinned portions but was more common and robust in the latter. The important fact for the rangeman, stockman, and wildlifer is that “thar ain’t much for feed” in the untended forest.

Kuchler Unit 13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir). Grand fir-mountain lover habitat type.

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

133.  Interior of grand fir-Douglas-fir climax forest- This edaphic or topographic climax form or type of the Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest was subjected to the category of silvicultural practice known generally as tending or intermediate cutting and specifically as thinning (see again discussion at top of this subsection under the Silvicultural Systems subheading). The intermediate treatment of thinning was defined by the Society of American Foresters over the years as:

“cutting in an immature stand to increase it’s rate of growth, to foster quality growth, to improve composition, to promote sanitation, to aid in litter decomposition, to obtain greater total yield, and so recover and use material that would be lost otherwise” (Munns, 1950); “a felling made in an immature crop or stand in order primarily to accelerate diameter increment but also, by suitable selection, to improve the average form of the trees that remain without …permanently breaking the canopy” (Ford-Robertson, 1971);  “a cultural treatment made to reduce stand dentsity of trees primarily to improve growth, ennhance forest health, or recover potential mortality” (Helms, 1998).

For the non-forester who has missed the finner points of Forestry lingo all this comes down to one major point: some trees are cut leaving more resources (light, space, soil water or mineral nutrients, whatever) available for plants other than trees (or at least smaller trees). In turn, this may mean a greater yield of understory browse or herbage or improved diets of animals eating such plant material. In the range managers lingo this means improved forest range, or maybe the difference between at least some versus no range.      

This photograph was taken at the point used as the landing during the thinning and, probably, othercutting operations conducted farther “back in the woods” (behind the management area). The bare strip along left margin was the skid road or skid trail used to skid (ie. haul) logs, pulp, or other wood products from point of felling or harvest to the landing (collection point for loading logs on trucks for transport to the mill yard). To skid is to convey logs by a skidder which is a self-propelled machine (a form of a tractor to us farm boys) that either drags logs by use of chains or choker cables or hauls logs in a front-end contraption like a loader bucket or grapple jaws. Technically, skidding differs from yarding, the latter usually referring to delivery of logs or other wood products by cable, balloon, or helicopter logging. Both skidding and yarding are forwarding operations: to forward is the deliver logs, pulp, etc. from stump to landing or yard (Helms, 1998).

Beginners take note: rural people (farmers, ranchmen, stockmen, dairymen, lumbermen, lumberjacks or loggers, cowboys or buckaroos or vaqueros or cowhands, fishermen, etc.) universally use verbs and nouns interchangeably. The tool that is used is taken as the name of the action or operation done with that tool; the name of the occupation is the name for the work done in that occupation. Examples: one plows with a plow; disks with a disk, dozes with a bulldozer, mows with a mower, brands with a branding iron, drills wheat with a drill, plants corn with a corn planter, skids with a skidder, and ropes with a rope; likewise, cowboys cowboy, loggers log, millhands mill lumber. Exceptions: one does not “ax” with an ax or “knife” with a knife, and certainly— Hollywood take note —one does not “lasso” with a lasso or lass rope or lariat (Anglicized versions of Spanish la reata, “the rope”, reata being Spanish for “rope”).

Likewise trees are felled or fallen; they are not “sawed or chopped down”. When they are sawed or sawn it is in the mill into lumber. When felled trees are cut into lenths for transport they are bucked or bucked up. To buck is to saw felled trees into shorter lengths; the logger who does this is the bucker. The logger who falls or fells (synonyms) trees is the faller or feller (Helms, 1998). Hence the logger is often the feller-bucker or these operations may be performed by two “specialists’.

       “Streets abandoned by traffic become grass-grown like rural lanes, and are obliterated.”

                                                                                  — John James Ingalls, 1872

Once the skid trail and landing were abandoned (for the time being) vegetation— especially grasses — “…silently resumes the throne from which it has been expelled, but which it abdicates” (Ingalls, 1872). Cutting of trees was a literal “windfall” for the understory species that were released and revegetated the soil formerly shaded by tree crowns. Most of the grasses (and grass biomass) were domesticated pasture and hay species introduced by white man from Eurasia These were conspicuous as they were in full bloom at time of photograph. Readily viewed agronomic Eurasian species in the foreground included timothy, Kentucky bluegrass (the “delicate” appearing, broadly branched banicles), redtop, and orchardgrass. Native grasses included Columbia bromegrass, blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus), pinegrass, and small amounts of Idaho fescue. Elk sedge was also present. Tree species composition was, as noted above, rougly 40% grand fir, 30% Douglas-fir, and 30% variously in Englemann spruce, subalpine fir, western white pine, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, and western larch. Shrubs were sparse in the understory with mountain lover or falsebox the most widely distributed. Common snowberry and ocean spray were shrub associates of mountain lover.

FRES designation was not appropriate, K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir). Habitat type was not appropriate because the understory had been so modified by human action that the climax shrubs had been replaced by agronomic grasses. Columbia brome was an important indicator plant as explained in discussion of the preceding slide. This conversion of much of the herbaceous understorey  (layer) to tame pasture grasses gave an Agroforestry “flavor” to this management area. This phenomenon actually demonstrated a scientific and historic fact sometimes overlooked when some Agroforestry enthusiasts assume that they invented something new. Forestry and Range Management, both the bodies of knowledge and the professions, had practiced much of what is currently termed Agroforestry for decades (perhaps centuries if one considers Old World Forestry as in Germany for instance). As illustrated by the vegetation in this slide, management of forest ranges has involved some practices now labeled as Agroforestry ever since post-Columbian Agricultural Man introduced new species that naturalized and became a part of forest grazing lands.

 

134.   Thinned climax grand fir-Douglas-fir type or form of the Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest- This is another photogaraph of the thinned portion of the climax forest shown as a series of 10 slides (including those of understory grass species). It was taken from the location of the former landing used in the tending treatment. This slide (and the immediately preceding one) should be compared to the unthinned (“control”) portion of this forest (go back two slides). This comparison provided students with a stark contrast in composition and development of the understorey.

The forester as a “man for the board foot” cares mostly (and justifiably) that the tree crop will grow faster and produce a higher yield (quality and quantity) of stumpage. Stumpage is standing timber as viewed by the potential cutter and/or the value of timber as it stands in terms of an amount per unit area (Helms, 1998) or, more generally, the value of timber as it stands uncut in the woods and, most generally, the standing timber itself (Munns, 1950). By the way students, timber is a loose term applied to forest stands or their products (Munns, 1950) or forest crops and stands containing timber, or more specifically, wood other than fuelwood that is potentially usable for lumber (ie. roundwood which is a length of cut tree trunk having a round cross-section) (Helms, 1998).  Learn the lingo.

The rangeman, stockman, wildlifer as a “man for the full stomach” cares mostly that enough of the confounded, *#$#%$(* trees were eliminated so that light and other resources became available to grow forage and browse plants for the commodities he trades in. Other human users of the land have concerns more for water yield or water quality, fish habitat, firewood, a campground, or just “room to roam”. Multiple use and multiple users. As rangemen our emphasis is on the range. And the stumps,  “hairing over” of the skid trail, and release of grass are all sources of celebration: more feed.

On average the herbaceous layer of this forest was dominated by Eurasian cool-season perennial grasses introduced by the “paleface” farmer and rancher. However, the understorey was a mosaic of local communities, some of which were mostly, even exclusively, made up of the naturalized Eurasian perennials while other of these small-scale herbaceous communities were populated by such native climax grasses as Columbia brome and blue wildrye. The increaser, pinegrass, was it’s usual ubiquous self and grew wherever it could.

The shrub layer was often intermixed with the herbaceous layer so as to form a single storey. Deeper in the shade shrubs formed a “monopoly” or more of an oligopoly or “trust” of associated species the tallest of which was serviceberry. The shrub that served as the indicator species of this habitat type was mountain lover or Oregon boxwood. Significance of this species was discussed for several of the above photographs (beginning four slides up from this one). Snowberry was also common in the shrub layer.

Species composition of trees was about 40% grand fir, 30% Douglas-fir, and the remaining 30% distributed among western larch, western white pine, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, sugalpine fir, and Englemann spruce (Harold Osborn, forester and experimental forest superintendent, personal communication). Climax and successional status of these species was discussed above. The largest tree in the foreground (on the right) was Douglas-fir. The two foreground trees on the left (one behind and to the side of the other) were grand fir. The tree to left and behind the grand fir was western larch or tamarack. Regeneration was mostly of grand fir, the tolerant climax species for this site.

FRES was not appropriate, K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 213 (Grand Fir). Habitat type designation was not appropriate for those parts of the forest vegetation having the herbaceous layer dominated by domesticated Eurasian grasses. Forest vegetation remaining in approximate climax state was the grand fir-mountain lover habitat type. Inconsistency in habitat type classification among various authorities was discussed under the slide that introduced this habitat type. 

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

135.   Columbia brome (Bromus vulgaris)- This slide of the understory of the thinned climax grand fir-Douglas fir forest “captured” Columbia brome. As discussed above, Daubenmire and Daubenmire (1968) reported this as an “always present” indicator species in the grand fir-mountain lover habitat type shown in some of the slides in this series dealing with thinned vs. unthinned grand fir climax forest. Based on coverage in standard references like the Range Plant Handbook (Forest Service, 1940) and Hitchcoch and Chase (1951) Columbia brome was of little importance as a forage or abundant species. Instead this grasses should teach students the concept and importance of indicator plants.

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 

136. Blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus)- Along with Columbia brome (just shown), blue wildrye was one of the larger and locally dominant native grasses in the thinned portion of the grand fir-Douglas fir climax forest covered in this series of slides. Presence— and increase— of these climax grasses demonstrated the value of tending operations not only from the forester’s overriding concern with stumpage and the range graziers attention to livestock feed but also from the perspective of species diversity, “Opening up” the understory to give herbaceous and shrub species a “fightin’ chance” increased the abundance of some species (and perhaps increased total number of species), at least by “outward appearances” (a qualitative not a quantitative assessment). 

The litter of sticks on the ground surface seen in this and the last slide indicated the value of slash as ground cover to reduce erosion on steep and/or heavily traveled topography. Frequently conscientious and astute foresters lay or scatter out such slash as a form of corduroy road to prevent soil erosion and damage to skid trails or temporary logging roads.

University of Idaho Flat Creek Experimental Forest, Latah County, Idaho. June.

 
137.  Thinned stand of western larch- Western larch is one of the more rapid growing species in the Northern Rocky Mountain mixed conifer forest. Western larch is a seral species on most sites and in most forest cover types although, as discussed elsewhere for the western larch SAFcover type, it persist into the climax such as to be part of the climax forest. It is also the most fire-tolerant conifer, at maturity anyway, in this species-rich regional forest (Baumgartner et al., p. 44). All these aspects— as well as demand for its lumber —make western larch an important commercial forest species in the northern Rockys and Interior Pacific Northwest. As is the case for most forest species, western larch can be managed silviculturally as a single-species stand, a monoculture. Silvicultural management of such monocultures often requires intermediate treatments such as the recent thinning shown here. These intermediate cuttings typically open the understory to invasion by grasses, grasslike plants (eg. sedges), and shrubs that are valuable as forage and browse for livestock and/or wildlife.

FRES No.25, K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch). Northern Rockies- Northern Idaho Hills and Low Relief Mountains, 15v (McGrath et al., 2001).Benewah County, Idaho. June.

 
138.  Natural regeneration of western larch- Cut-over (also written, cutover) or logged-over land on which natural regneration from the soil seedbank (dormant seed remaining viable) took place. Unfortunately there was not enough seed for full stocking.
Stocking means a general indication of the number of trees in a stand compared to the desired or optimum number for best growth and yield (Munns, 1950); a loose term for the amount or number of anything on a given area in relation to what is considered the optimum, hence in forest management or silviculture stocking is a more or less subjective indication of the number of trees present relative to the number of trees necessary for the desired result such that there is full (= ideal, normal, optimum) stocking, understocking, overstocking, etc. (Ford-Robertson, 1971).
Western larch in the stand shown in the preceding slide was overstocked which necessitated thinning for optimum biological and economic results. The western larch stand shown in this slide was understocked due to low rates of reproduction (perhaps low soil seedbank, seedling diseases, etc.). Poor stocking attributable to forestry practice is mismanagement: it is detrimental to both the forest as an ecosystem and as a firm. However, there was a silver lining to users of this forest range. Poor regeneration and, hence, stocking of western larch (tree density below optimum) allowed greater populations of shrubs and better development of the shrub layer meaning more browse for range animals. This was the proverbial “double whammy” to the tree crop which was both 1) understocked and going to produce low stumpage yield due to less trees per acre and 2) trees were being forced into severe competition with the initially faster growing browse (which is brush, noxious woody plants, to the forester). Most of the tall shrubs were serviceberry, but some were young trees of Rocky Mountain maple which were even more severe competitors than the shrub species. Common snowberry, ninebark, ocean spray, birchleaf spirea were also common.

Other seral coniferous species that were associates of western larch at local scale were ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, western white pine. The herbaceous layer was limited and consisted mostly of horsetail and ferns, especially bracken fern. There was a “spattering” of Kentucky bluegrass, pinegrass, and Idaho fescue. The smaller conifers that formed a second tree layer just rising above the shrub layer (barely visible in background) were Douglas-fir and grand fir which are dominants of the last seral stage and climax, respectively, for this forest site. This forest was about one to two miles from the climax grand fir-Douglas-fir forest with thinned and unthinned portions that was shown and described immediately above the thinned western larch stand shown in the last slide.  

FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem), K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). SAF 212 (Western Larch) as it stands in slide, but without human intervention or catastrophic perturbation this forest will   mover through secondary succession to the edaphic climax SAF 213 (Grand Fir). Latah County, Idaho. June.

 
139.  Ponderosa pine-dominated seral forest undergoing secondary succession- This cutover grand fir-Douglas-fir forest site was a management area contiguous with the western larch-dominated seral forest shown immediately above. In the photograph presented here ponderosa pine was the dominant and western larch the associate species. Both cutover lands also had lodgepole pine and some western white pine in the same age class as the ponderosa pine and western larch. On this site all of these conifers are seral species but they persist as relicts into the climax grand fir-Douglas-fir forest. On most sites in this general area Douglas-fir is also interpreted as seral but persisting as a climax associate to grand fir, the tolerant climax dominant. These latter two species are clearly visible here as younger trees just barely growing above the shrub layer which was dominated by serviceberry and “accompanied by” Rocky Mountain maple, common snowberry, ninebark, ocean spray, and rose (Rosa spp.).

erbaceous understory was same as that of the preceding western larch seral forest: sparse and consisting mostly of the pterophytes horsetail and bracken fern with some Kentucky bluegrass and pine reedgrass.

FRES No. 21 (Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-13 (Grand Fir-Douglas-fir Forest). The FRES unit that corresponded with K-13 was, as given immediately above, FRES No. 25 (Larch Forest Ecosystem). Here ponderosa pine was dominant while larch was the associate species. SAF 237  (Western Ponderosa Pine). SRM 109 (Ponderosa Pine-Shrubland).

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