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:: Home > Watersheds > Forest Zones of Oregon > Western Juniper Forests
range map, subalpine forests

Western Larch Forests

Ecology: Western larch, one of the world’s few deciduous conifers, is noted for its brilliant golden autumn colors. Rather than forming extensive forests, stands of western larch commonly develop within Douglas-fir, grand fir, and ponderosa pine forests following fire or major disturbance from wind, soil movement, or logging. Without periodic disturbance, larch stands will eventually be taken over by Douglas-fir on drier sites or grand fir on milder sites. Lodgepole pine, western hemlock, western white pine, and Engelmann spruce also occur in this forest type.

Climate: Western larch prefers cool, moist sites and depends on frequent disturbance.

Management: Because of its intolerance to shade, western larch is managed with even-aged techniques such as clearcutting, shelterwood, and seed tree cuttings that encourage soil disturbance and improve chances for natural regeneration. Controlling competing species and creating mineral seedbeds with fire is essential to maintaining western larch in forest stands. Larch is harvested for high quality lumber that is resistant to decay.

FORESTS HOME Douglas-fir forests western hemlock/Sitka spruce forests urban forests
Siskiyou mixed conifer forests coast redwood forests hardwood forests ponderosa pine forests
lodgepole pine forests subalpine forests western larch forests western juniper forests