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

Subalpine Forests


Subalpine forest and meadow.

Ecology: Subalpine forests are a combination of several forest types, all occurring above 4500 feet in the Cascades, Siskiyou, and Wallowa mountains. These forests vary widely depending on stand age, fire history, and local conditions. Common trees include Pacific silver fir, California red fir, noble fir, white fir, subalpine fir, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, Alaska-cedar, incense-cedar, lodgepole pine, western white pine, Engelmann spruce, and quaking aspen. Many species of huckleberries occur in the understories.

Climate: These forests occur in cold climates with heavy winter snow packs and short growing seasons. At their upper limit, they form open park-like forests and merge with alpine meadows.

Management: Most of these forests occur in remote areas on public land; commercial timber management is limited and recreational values are high. Decades of fire suppression have left many stands overcrowded, diseased, and stressed. Many fire ecologists believe these forests should be thinned or treated by prescribed burning to reduce fire hazard and to control insects and disease.

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