Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Interior Warm & Cool Desert Riparian Forest Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Interior Warm & Cool Desert Riparian Forest
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: This macrogroup is of riparian, floodplain, seep and oases dominated by trees. Dominant include Vachellia farnesiana, Acer negundo, Celtis laevigata, Celtis ehrenbergiana, Cordia boissieri, Diospyros texana, Ebenopsis ebano, Ehretia anacua, Fraxinus velutina, Haematoxylum brasiletto, Juglans major, Leucaena pulverulenta, Parkinsonia aculeata, Platanus racemosa, Platanus wrightii, Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni, Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera, Populus fremontii, Prosopis glandulosa, Quercus lobata, Sabal mexicana, Salix amygdaloides, Salix gooddingii, Salix laevigata, Sapindus saponaria, Sideroxylon celastrinum, Tecoma stans, Ulmus crassifolia, and Washingtonia filifera. It occurs from sea level to 2300 m (7500 feet) along foothill and mountain canyons and valleys where riparian corridors follow stream courses and spring-fed depressions along canyon waterways and tectonic faultlines. Most of the dominant woody species found in this macrogroup are phreatophytes and require the presence of a seasonally shallow water table. This macrogroup occurs from Central Valley of California south and east through the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts to the Rio Grande River, north into valleys of the lower Colorado Plateau, the San Luis Valley of Colorado and east into the western Great Plains and the Tamaulipan region of southern Texas. The Tamaulipan area is floristically variable with some components better classified with subtropical vegetation and others with temperate vegetation, so it is a transitional zone and is included within this macrogroup because of shared habitat, dynamics, physiognomic structure and tree genera.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Diagnostic tree species trees include Cordia boissieri, Diospyros texana, Ebenopsis ebano, Ehretia anacua, Juglans major, Leucaena pulverulenta, Parkinsonia aculeata, Platanus racemosa, Platanus wrightii, Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni, Populus fremontii, Sabal mexicana, Salix laevigata, Ulmus crassifolia, and Washingtonia filifera.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Currently within the NVC there are no subtropical groups, so for the present time this warm-climate riparian macrogroup appears to be the best placement of Tamaulipan Riparian Scrub Forest Group (G549). G549 is related to Warm Desert Lowland Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland Macrogroup (M076) (J. Evens pers. comm. 2014). In addition, the Tamaulipan area is floristically variable with some components better classified with subtropical vegetation and others with temperate vegetation, so it is a transitional zone. These groups share common habitat, dynamics, physiognomy, and tree genera and all three include endemic palm species. This macrogroup was expanded to include the cool desert range of Populus fremontii in Nevada and Utah as well as part of the range of Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera that occurs within the interior west and western edge of the Great Plains, skirting around the southern Rocky Mountains, but not into the Great Plains proper.
Similar NVC Types:
M031 Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest, note: is most closely related to G171.
M076 Warm Desert Lowland Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland, note: "is a shrub and herb wetland, whereas this type is tree-dominated."
M034 Rocky Mountain-Great Basin Montane Riparian & Swamp Forest, note:
M298 Interior West Ruderal Flooded & Swamp Forest & Woodland, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: Open to closed forests of tall and scrubby-height cold-deciduous and broad-leaved evergreen trees, often occurring in multiple layers.
Floristics: The vegetation is primarily treed with varying height and canopy closure. Dominant tree species include Vachellia farnesiana (= Acacia farnesiana), Acer macrophyllum, Acer negundo, Alnus rhombifolia, Alnus rubra, Celtis laevigata var. reticulata, Celtis ehrenbergiana (= Celtis pallida), Cephalanthus occidentalis, Cordia boissieri, Diospyros texana, Ebenopsis ebano, Ehretia anacua, Fraxinus velutina, Haematoxylum brasiletto, Juglans major, Leucaena pulverulenta, Parkinsonia aculeata, Platanus racemosa, Platanus wrightii, Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni, Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera, Populus fremontii, Prosopis glandulosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Quercus agrifolia, Quercus lobata, Sabal mexicana, Salix gooddingii, Salix laevigata, Salix nigra, Sapindus saponaria, Taxodium mucronatum, Tecoma stans, Ulmus crassifolia, and Washingtonia filifera. Floristic information was compiled from Brown (1982a), Barbour and Major (1988), MacMahon (1988), Szaro (1989), Dick-Peddie (1993), Holland and Keil (1995), Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1995), Muldavin et al. (2000a), Barbour et al. (2007), and Sawyer et al. (2009).
Dynamics: Vegetation is dependent upon at least temporary annual rise in the water table with annual or periodic flooding and associated sediment scour for growth and reproduction (especially for cottonwood and willow species). Permanent subsurface water is required to maintain many of the dominant phreatophytic species and the palm species (Washingtonia filifera and Sabal mexicana). Palm groves were once common in the lower Rio Grande Valley 130 km (80 miles) from the Gulf of Mexico, but have since largely been converted to agriculture (Clover 1937, Everitt et al. 1996a, Tremblay et al. 2005).
Environmental Description: This macrogroup consists of riparian corridors along perennial, intermittent and temporarily flooded streams, and arroyos (ramaderos). Stands may occur on isolated springs as well as within-channel spring-fed depressions. Soils are typically coarse alluvial to loam, silt loam or clay loam and are usually somewhat deeper than soils of the surrounding landscape; and some stands occur on serpentine soils. Elevation ranges from sea level up to 2300 m (7500 feet). Environmental information was compiled from several sources: Brown (1982a), Barbour and Major (1988), Barbour et al. (2007), MacMahon (1988), Szaro (1989), Dick-Peddie (1993), Holland and Keil (1995), Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1995), Muldavin et al. (2000a), and Sawyer et al. (2009).
Geographic Range: This macrogroup occurs from Oregon's southern Coast Ranges, California's Central Valley, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada east into the Sonoran, Mojave, western Great Plains and Tamaulipan regions of Texas and Mexico.
Nations: MX, US
States/Provinces: AZ, CA, CO, MXBC, MXBS, MXCH, MXCO, MXNU, MXSO, MXTM, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Sierran Steppe - Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Confident or certain
Southern Cascades Section
Confident or certain
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Synonomy: < California Riparian Deciduous Forests and Woodland - 223.3 (Brown et al. 1998)
< Sonoran Riparian Oasis Forest - 224.4 (Brown et al. 1998)
< Southwestern Riparian Deciduous Forests and Woodland - 223.2 (Brown et al. 1998)
< Tamaulipan Interior Swamp and Riparian Forest - 224.3 (Brown et al. 1998)
Concept Author(s): Faber-Langendoen et al. (2014)
Author of Description: G. Kittel, P. Comer, T. Keeler-Wolf, J. Teague
Version Date: 11May2015
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