Bigleaf maple forest and woodland
USDA Ecological Section Map
- Primary Life FormTree
- Elevation0-1400 m
- State RarityS3
- Global RarityG4
- DistributionCAN: BC. USA: CA, OR, WA (NatureServe)
- Endemic to CaliforniaNo
- Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
- Date Added2009/09/01
- Acer macrophyllum > 25% relative cover in the tree canopy (NatureServe 2007).
- Acer macrophyllum > 5% absolute cover in the tree canopy (Jimerson et al. 1996) and usually > 30% relative cover.
Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings
|MCV (1995)||Douglas fir series|
|NVCS (2009)||Acer macrophyllum forest alliance, Acer macrophyllum seasonally flooded forest alliance, Pseudotsuga menziesii-Acer macrophyllum forest alliance|
|Calveg||Pacific Douglas-fir, Coastal mixed hardwood, Interior mixed hardwood, Bigleaf maple, Montane mixed hardwood|
|Holland||North Coast riparian forests, Central Coast riparian forest, Douglas-fir forest, Coast range mixed coniferous forest|
|Munz||Douglas fir forest, North Coast coniferous forest|
|WHR||Douglas fir, Montane hardwood-conifer|
|CDFW CA Code||61.450.00|
National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy
|Formation Class||Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)|
|Formation Subclass||Temperate Forest|
|Formation||Cool Temperate Forest|
|Division||Western North America Cool Temperate Forest|
|Macro Group||Californian-Vancouverian Montane and Foothill Forest|
|Group||Upland Vancouverian mixed woodland and forest|
This alliance occurs in habitats with different moisture regimes from moist stream terraces to dry talus, but it attains its best development on deep alluvial soils. The best developed stands are scattered along alluvial river terraces, in adjacent side drainages, and at springs along slopes. The species is extremely flood tolerant; it is the only hardwood encountered commonly in low elevation in Pacific Northwest coniferous forests in both steep upland slopes and riparian habitats. At the southern portion of its range, in southern and central California, it is usually riparian (Minore and Zasada 1990, Uchytil 1989a).
We are including three different environmental settings in this alliance at this time. Stands surrounded by coastal forests in northwestern or central California contain a scattering of tall conifers, such as Picea sitchensis or Sequoia sempervirens (Sawyer 2006). Stands in the mountains typically contain Pseudotsuga menziesii as a co-dominant. Other California authors (Chambers 2003, Fites 1993, Jimerson et al. 1996) have placed their mixed associations in the Pseudotsuga menziesii or other conifer alliances; however, we place them in the Acer macrophyllum alliance, because this riparian species is a primary indicator and co-dominant in these associations. Stands on talus and other upland settings are local within a mosaic of the local alliances. Further survey throughout the range of A. macrophyllum will better distinguish its role in the state’s vegetation.
Life History Traits of the Principal Species
|Life forms||Tree; winter deciduous|
|Mode of dispersal||Animal; gravity; wind|
|Mode of sprouting||Underground structures (root crown)|
|Survivability after fire/disturbance||Fire-hardy; high sprouter|
|Reproductive range||10-100+ years|
|Fire return interval||Medium to long|
|Size/extent||Medium to up to stand size|
|Complexity||Moderate to high|
|Intensity||Low to high|
|Severity||Moderate to high|
|Regional knowledge||Klamath Mountains|
The range of Acer macrophyllum includes Central California Coast Ranges (M262A), Great Valley (262A), Northern California Interior Coast Ranges (M261C), Southern California Coast (261B), Southern California Mountains and Valleys (M262B), and Southern Cascades (M261D).
- Central California Coast (261Af). Stands observed in the San Lorenzo River drainage in Santa Cruz Co. are small.
- Klamath Mountains (M261Aa, Ac-d, Af, Ai, Aq-s, Au). Mixed stands with Pseudotsuga menziesii occur in southern (Chambers 2003) and western (Jimerson et al. 1996) subsections.
- Northern California Coast (263Aa-b, Ad-g, Aj, Al-m). Stands exist along alluvial river terraces and adjacent side drainages mainly cleared in the past for agriculture. Stands in Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek, and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Parks need study.
- Northern California Coast Ranges (M261Ba-b). Stands occur in the western portion of the Yolla Bolly Mountains. Stands observed in drainages in the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma Co. are small.
- Sierra Nevada (M261Ee-g, Em). Mixed stands with Pseudotsuga menziesii exist in Yosemite National Park (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b), and generally in the northern (Fites 1993) and southern subsections (Potter 2005). Stands lacking P. menziesii are mapped (NPS-YOSE 2007) on talus cones at the base of north-facing cliffs in Yosemite Valley.
- Sierra Nevada Foothills (M261Fa-b). Stands lacking P. menziesii occupy steep canyon bottoms and shady cliff bases throughout the section, and stands can mix with other hardwoods and P. menziesii (Klein et al. 2007).
- Southern Cascades (M261Dl). Stands occur in the mesic western portion of the section.
- Acer macrophyllum , , 
- Acer macrophyllum - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Adenocaulon bicolor 
- Acer macrophyllum - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Corylus cornuta , 
- Acer macrophyllum - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Dryopteris arguta 
- Acer macrophyllum - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Philadelphus lewisii 
- Acer macrophyllum - Pseudotsuga menziesii / Polystichum munitum 
-  Chambers, J.J. 2003
-  Fites, J. 1993
-  Jimerson, T.M.;McGee, E.A.;Jones, D.W.;Svilich, R.J.;Hotalen, E.;DeNitto, G.;Laurent, T.;Tenpas, J.D.;Smith, M.E.;Hefner-McClelland, K.;Mattison, J. 1996
-  Klein, A.;Crawford, J.;Evens, J.;Keeler-Wolf, T.;Hickson, D. 2007
-  Klein, A.;Keeler-Wolf, T.;Evens, J. 2015
-  AECOM, 2013
- Agee, J.K. 1988
- Barbour, M.G. 1988
- Dyrness, C.T. 1973
- Fonda, R.W. 1974
- Franklin, J.F. 1988
- Franklin, J.F.;Dyrness, C.T. 1973
- Fried, J.S.;Tappeiner, J.C.;Hibbs, D.E. 1988
- Halpern, C.B. 1989
- Minore, D.;Zasada, J.C. 1990
- NPS-SEKI, 2009
- Sawyer, J.O. 2006
- Skinner, C.N.;Taylor, AH.;Agee., J.K. 2006
- Uchytil, R.J. 1989a