of Oregon > Hardwood Forests
has many species of broadleaved trees (hardwoods), but generally they occur
as individuals and
in small stands, rather than in expansive forests as they do in
the eastern United States. As a result, hardwood forests in Oregon are not uniform,
but vary by location, environment and stand history.
||Oak-dominated woodlands are
the principal hardwood type in Oregon and once spread across the Willamette,
Umpqua, and Rogue River valleys. Oregon white oak is the principal species
in the north and is joined by California black oak and canyon live oak
farther south. Other common species include Pacific madrone and bigleaf
maple. Historically these occurred as open woodlands, but with decades
of fire suppression, many stands have been invaded by more shade-tolerant
conifers like Douglas-fir and incense-cedar. When this happens, the conifers
commonly outgrow and shade-out the oaks.
Many of these woodlands have been lost
to agriculture and urban development.
and valley bottoms (riparian systems) throughout Oregon are commonly dominated by hardwoods,
but the species vary dramatically by location.
Oregon ash, red alder,
bigleaf maple, and black cottonwood are common throughout much of
Oregon. Along the southern coast, Oregon-myrtle and golden chinkapin
East of the Cascades, birches, willows,
and cottonwoods are common. Oregon ash commonly dominates bottomlands
where water stands during
the winter, while cottonwoods prefer gravelly stream banks where
water drain more effectively. Oregonís riparian forests are getting more
attention as their vital contributions to water quality and fish
habitat are better understood.
In the cold, dry
climate east of the Cascades, picturesque groves of white-barked quaking
aspen grow, often in wet meadows. Aspen is a species that produces
new trees via root suckers; consequently, each stand may be composed
of only a few clones. Wherever it grows, aspen is prized for its brilliant
Climate: The climates
in which hardwood forests occur vary dramatically, from the wet, mild weather
Oregon to the warmer, drier weather of southwestern Oregon to the highly
variable seasonality of
eastern Oregon. Different species of hardwoods are adapted to different
Management: Oregon hardwood management
is small in scale, but growing
in potential. Red alder is actively managed for wood production and
remains an important replacement species in Douglas-fir stands with significant
disease. Oregon white oak, Pacific madrone, bigleaf maple, and Oregon
ash all have attractive wood and find limited use as flooring and other
Although not a native forest, hybrid poplar plantations are being
planted in several parts of the state to help meet the demand for short-fiber
are also managed for a variety of end uses including veneer and furniture
Been to an oak
woodland or riparian area recently?
Take a virtual tour.
hemlock/Sitka spruce forests urban
mixed conifer forests coast
redwood forests hardwood
pine forests subalpine
larch forests western