Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Vancouverian Flooded & Swamp Forest Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Vancouverian Flooded & Swamp Forest
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: This macrogroup consists of woodlands and forests of wetland and riparian areas. It includes lowland and montane riparian forests, forested mineral-soil swamps, and treed fens and bogs. In lowland riparian forests, broadleaf dominant species are Acer macrophyllum, Alnus rubra, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa, Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra, and/or Fraxinus latifolia (in southern part of range), and conifer-dominated types have Abies grandis, Picea sitchensis, or Thuja plicata. Montane riparian areas are more often conifer-dominated by such species as Abies amabilis, Abies concolor, Abies magnifica, Pinus contorta var. murrayana, Populus tremuloides, and/or Tsuga mertensiana. Shrubs include Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata, Oplopanax horridus, Salix spp., Spiraea douglasii, and Vaccinium uliginosum. Along the Gulf of Alaska, glacial-fed rivers (uncommon on the islands) have frequent flooding, shifting channels, and significant sediment deposition, and Picea sitchensis is the dominant tree. Treed swamps are more common in southeastern Alaska, less so farther south. Swamps are small in size and indicative of poorly drained, mostly mineral soil areas often in a mosaic of moving and stagnant water and are dominated by any one or a number of conifer (Callitropsis nootkatensis, Picea sitchensis, Pinus contorta, Tsuga heterophylla, Tsuga mertensiana) and hardwood species (Alnus rubra, Betula papyrifera, Fraxinus latifolia) that are capable of growing on saturated or seasonally flooded soils. Treed peatlands (fens and bogs) are common in southeastern Alaska and central British Columbia, less so farther south, and occur on poorly drained peat soils with little to no influence of groundwater. These can be dominated by any one of a number of conifer species (Callitropsis nootkatensis, Picea sitchensis, Pinus contorta var. contorta, Tsuga heterophylla, Tsuga mertensiana) that are capable of growing on saturated or seasonally flooded soils. Overstory is often less than 50% cover, but shrub understory can have high cover. Common shrubs include Elliottia pyroliflora, Gaultheria shallon (southern portion of the Alaska distribution only), Ledum groenlandicum, and Vaccinium ovalifolium.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Dominance by Alnus rubra, Callitropsis nootkatensis, Fraxinus latifolia, Picea sitchensis, Pinus contorta var. contorta, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa, Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra, Tsuga heterophylla, Thuja plicata, or Tsuga mertensiana, and herbaceous indicators of the saturated or floodplain soil conditions such as Carex deweyana, Lysichiton americanus, Rubus spectabilis, Trichophorum cespitosum, and/or Sphagnum species.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: No Data Available
Similar NVC Types:
M034 Rocky Mountain-Great Basin Montane Riparian & Swamp Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: Closed- to open-canopy forests of tall or stunted (but at least 5 m in height) cold-deciduous trees, evergreen trees, or a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, often with deciduous or evergreen shrub undergrowth and/or an herbaceous undergrowth layer.
Floristics: Riparian and swamp trees occurring throughout most of the range are Alnus rubra, Betula papyrifera, Callitropsis nootkatensis (= Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), Fraxinus latifolia, Picea sitchensis, Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa, Thuja plicata, and Tsuga heterophylla. Additional trees in southern areas include Acer macrophyllum, Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra, and Abies grandis. Populus balsamifera is much less common on the islands of southeastern Alaska and off British Columbia due to a lack of larger floodplains. Dominant species of higher montane riparian areas include Abies amabilis, Abies concolor, Abies magnifica, Picea engelmannii, Pinus contorta var. murrayana, Tsuga mertensiana, and, more rarely, Populus tremuloides. Key understory diagnostics include Cornus sericea, Maianthemum dilatatum, Oplopanax horridus, and Rubus spectabilis. Swamp tree species may include Alnus rubra, Betula papyrifera, Callitropsis nootkatensis, Fraxinus latifolia, Picea sitchensis, Pinus contorta var. contorta, Thuja plicata, Tsuga heterophylla, and/or Tsuga mertensiana. Shrub species include Cornus sericea, Elliottia pyroliflora, Gaultheria shallon (southern portion of the Alaska distribution only), Ledum groenlandicum (= Rhododendron groenlandicum), Oplopanax horridus, Rubus spectabilis, Spiraea douglasii, Vaccinium ovalifolium, and/or Vaccinium uliginosum. Tree species dominant on peatlands (fens and bogs) are mostly Pinus contorta var. contorta or Callitropsis nootkatensis but can include some Tsuga heterophylla, Tsuga mertensiana, or Thuja plicata. Ledum groenlandicum is generally the dominant shrub understory species; other shrubs include Vaccinium uliginosum, Juniperus communis, Myrica gale, or Gaultheria shallon. Low-shrub species include Empetrum nigrum, Kalmia microphylla, and Rubus chamaemorus. Herbaceous species include sedges such as Eriophorum angustifolium, Trichophorum cespitosum, Carex livida, or herbs such as Sanguisorba officinalis, Triantha glutinosa, or Drosera rotundifolia. Dominant bryophytes include Sphagnum spp. and Racomitrium lanuginosum.
Dynamics: This macrogroup includes highly disturbed broad shifting alluvial glacial run-off river beds and banks, snowmelt or rainfall driven hydrology rivers that have seasonal rise in soil water tables and overbank flooding to very stable wetlands with groundwater or precipitation that causes no change to surface soils. All sites depend on high moisture content of soils during the growing season. Succession can be large scale post-flood regeneration of many tree seedlings or small single tree-fall microsite gap dynamics.
Environmental Description: All of the communities within this macrogroup occur within a cool temperate climate and are wetlands or riparian areas with permanently saturated soils or seasonal water table fluctuations. They occur at low and high elevations throughout the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest, as far inward as tributaries to the Columbia River in Idaho and the Sierra Nevada of California, ranging from sea level to as high as 3300 m (10,000 feet). Soils range from thin, to poorly developed and coarse to deep peat. Riparian settings may have frequent flooding, shifting channels, and significant sediment deposition. Swamps and bogs are mostly small-patch size, but can be extensive in size as well, occurring in glacial depressions or river valleys and are poorly-drained with slow-moving groundwater, and on deep organic or gleysolic soils. Other riparian settings are narrow streambanks lining rocky channels with steep gradients. This environmental information was compiled from several sources: for Alaska (DeMeo et al. 1992, Viereck et al. 1992, Martin et al. 1995, Shephard 1995, DeVelice et al. 1999, Boggs 2002, Boggs et al. 2008b), for Washington (Chappell 1999, Chappell et al. 2001), for Oregon and Washington (Franklin and Dyrness 1973), and for British Columbia (Banner et al. 1993, Green and Klinka 1994, MacKenzie and Moran 2004).
Geographic Range: This macrogroup occurs at low and high elevations throughout the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest from southern Oregon north through British Columbia, Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii to along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, including central and southeastern Alaska. It occurs as far inward as the eastern slope of the Cascades and along tributaries of the Columbia River in Idaho, and in the Sierra Nevada of California.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces: AK, BC, CA, ID, OR, WA
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Sierran Steppe - Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Confident or certain
Willamette Valley Section
Confident or certain
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Concept Author(s): G. Kittel, in Faber-Langendoen et al. (2014)
Author of Description: G. Kittel and D. Meidinger
Acknowledgements: With contributions from T. Boucher, C. Chappell, M.S. Reid, and D. Faber-Langendoen.
Version Date: 29Mar2017
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