of Oregon > Ponderosa Pine
Ponderosa Pine Forests
pine forests are widely distributed in eastern Oregon, ranging
in elevation from 2500 to 6000 feet. Ponderosa pine occurs in pure
stands or may be mixed with lodgepole pine, grand fir, Douglas-fir,
western larch, western white pine, incense-cedar, white fir, and quaking
aspen. Volcanic pumice soils often support pure stands of ponderosa
pine. Ponderosa pine is also an important component of the mixed-conifer
forests of southwestern Oregon, but does not form pure stands there.
The Willamette Valley of western Oregon also supports a native population
of ponderosa pines.
pine forests are the second driest forests in Oregon; they thrive in
climates with short, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. The range of
these forests is closely tied to soil moisture.
Management: Fire has shaped these forests. Historically, frequent ground fires, both human-caused
and natural, maintained open, park-like conditions.
Fire suppression during the past 100 years has left many stands over-crowded
with more shade-tolerant trees. These forests are now very susceptible
to insects and fire. They can be returned to more natural and
healthy conditions with a combination of thinning and fire. Removing the
entire overstory can lead to extreme soil temperatures and poor regeneration,
it difficult for ponderosa pine to regenerate
naturally. As a result, uneven-aged
forestry is often practiced, typically
with single-tree selection as the harvest technique. Ponderosa pine is
prized for lumber and may other uses; its color and beauty
attracts movie makers and recreationists alike for its photogenic forest
hemlock/Sitka spruce forests urban
mixed conifer forests coast
redwood forests hardwood
pine forests subalpine
larch forests western