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F033 Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland Formation

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland occurs in dry, cool-temperate climates, at mid-latitudes (35° to 50°N), typically in the interior of continents.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland Formation
Colloquial Name: Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland
Hierarchy Level: Formation
Type Concept: Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland occurs in dry, cool-temperate climates. Vegetation is dominated by microphyllous-leaved xeromorphic shrubs and grasses. Structure consists of typically low shrubs or graminoids and varies from open grassland and shrub-steppe to shrubland. Vegetation is not as limited by substrates as by drought and fires.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Vegetation is dominated by microphyllous-leaved xeromorphic shrubs. Structure consists of typically low shrubs or graminoids and varies from open grassland and shrub-steppe to shrubland.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: The gradation in growth forms between 2.B Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland Subclass (S18) and 3.B Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland Subclass (S11) makes delimiting the concept a challenge. For example, in North America, microphyllous sagebrush shrubs may be common in parts of the western Great Plains, comparable to sagebrush types in the Great Basin.

Also montane cool semi-desert, in which the temperatures are more strongly hot/cold, may resemble cryomorphic vegetation. For example, the Salar de Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4086 square miles), near the crest of the Andes, at 3656 m (11,995 feet) elevation, and contains both xeromorphic and cryomorphic characteristics (C. Josse pers. comm. 2011).
Similar NVC Types:
F012 Temperate Grassland & Shrubland, note: "3.B.1 ~Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland Formation (F033)$$ typically has small-leaved, xerophytic shrubs (e.g., sage) and more open bare ground, sometimes with biological crust."
F022 Tropical High Montane Scrub & Grassland, note: "3.B.1 ~Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland Formation (F033)$$ at high altitudes in the tropics, may be cool or rather hot/cold deserts that share some characteristics of cryomorphic vegetation of the tropical high montane grasslands (F022) because of the freezing temperatures."
Physiognomy and Structure: The vegetation is dominated by microphyllous-leaved xeromorphic shrubs and grasses. Structure consists of typically low shrubs or graminoids and varies from open grassland and shrub-steppe to shrubland. Vegetation not as much limited by substrates as by drought and fires (Whittaker 1975).
Floristics:
Dynamics: No Data Available
Environmental Description: Climate: This type occurs in dry, cool-temperate climates, typically in the interior of continents (Quinn 2009).
Geographic Range: This formation occupies extensive landscapes of the Great Basin of the western United States, central Asia and Iran, in South America (Patagonia and the Andes) and parts of Australia (Whittaker 1975).
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces:
Omernik Ecoregions:
Plot Analysis Summary:
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
Greasons:
Name:Database Code:Classification Code:
Class 3 Desert & Semi-Desert C03 3
Subclass 3.B Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland S11 3.B
Formation 3.B.1 Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland F033 3.B.1
Division 3.B.1.Ne Western North American Cool Semi-Desert Scrub & Grassland D040 3.B.1.Ne
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: = Cold Deserts (Quinn 2009)
= Cool-temperate semi-desert scrub: biome-type 18 (Whittaker 1975)
Concept Author(s): Hierarchy Revisions Working Group, Federal Geographic Data Committee (Faber-Langendoen et al. 2014)
Author of Description: D. Faber-Langendoen
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 17Oct2014
References:
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, C. Josse, A. Weakley, D. Tart, G. Navarro, B. Hoagland, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, G. Fults, and E. Helmer. 2015c. Classification and description of world formation types. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-000. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO.
  • Josse, Carmen. Personal communication. Senior Ecologist, Latin America. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • Quinn, J. A. 2009. Desert biomes. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.
  • Whittaker, R. H. 1975. Communities and ecosystems. Second edition. Macmillan Publishing Co., New York. 387 pp.