Lodgepole Pine Forest
see also- Habitats
35-60 inches of precipitation
Chipmunks, Squirrels, Marmots, Wolverine, our buddy the
badger, Pika, Bobcats and many other transit species
millefolium lanulosa, Arctostaphylos
patula, Juniperus communis saxatilis, Monardella
heterodoxus, Pinus flexilis,
Pine (Pinus Murrayana), Pinus
Soil and climate notes:
Shallow rocky soils usually on granite. Soil pH ranges from 6
to 8, usually around neutral. This is a community like Los Angeles,
most everyone wants to move from it, few want to move to it. This
community is under siege by Bromus species though. When Bromus (small
weedy foxtail type grasses) invades the site is much more fire prone.
Lightning strikes that would burn 100 sq. ft. run and burn a 1000 or
In California this plant community exists at a
subalpine level on shallow soils where the wetter spots are meadows. In
the areas that are a little drier the Lodgepole Pine (Pinus
murrayana or P. contorta ssp. murrayana) thrives along with
Wild Currant or Gooseberry (Ribes
species) and other shrubs, and in even drier spots plants like Bridges'
Penstemon (Penstemon bridgesii or P. rostriflorus), Western
Pennyroyal (Monardella odoratissima) and Sulfur
Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) survive.
Elevations are commonly from about 6000 feet to
12000 feet. There is not much snow cover, as in lower elevations, so
the temperatures can fall very low. The trees often grow in very dense
stands of small-trunked trees, or as scattered individuals that are
much more 'Christmas -tree' like.
Areas where Lodgepole Pines have been left alone are
hard-to-walk- through forest thickets of trees.
Some of the areas of the Lodgepole Pine Forest plant
community have almost no understory (where the trees were very dense),
and when they were clear cut, there isn't much there years later. (Hey,
in this photo they missed a few trees!)
The Lodgepole Pine Forest plant community has
been clearcut in many areas, leaving a few trees here and there, and
allowing other species of trees like Jeffrey Pine (Pinus
jeffreyi), Western White Pine (Pinus monticola), Firs (Abies
spp.) and sometimes Mountain Hemlock
(Tsuga mertensiana), to gain a foot hold. In this
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula) is providing cover for
the pines, to start a new forest.
You want to recreate the forest edge in your yard, which is where most
of the plant diversity occurs, not the dense inner part. Many of the
plants from the Lodgepole Pine Forest plant community grow well at
lower elevations, but if you have summer heat, they'll need shade where
the temperatures are cooler. They all need good drainage and most do
not like wet feet. The plants that grow in wetter spots, like Sierran
Penstemon (Penstemon heterodoxus) and Mountain
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium or A. lanulosa), love 'English
A yellow-bellied marmot might watch you as you
hike in this plant community. He looks like a fat squirrel crossed with
a rabbit. Late in summer he gets fat, chunky and too lazy to run away
from a fat, chunky photographer.
list of California native plants that grow in the Lodgepole Forest