Calocedrus decurrens Forest & Woodland Alliance
Incense cedar forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation500-2100 m
  • State RarityS3.2
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA, NV, OR (USDA Plants)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Calocedrus decurrens is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Alnus rhombifolia, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus coulteri, Pinus jeffreyi, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Quercus chrysolepis and Quercus kelloggii.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 65 m; canopy is open to continuous. Shrubs are infrequent or common. Herbaceous layer is variable.

Membership Rules

  • C. decurrens > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy; there may be abundant Quercus chrysolepis and/or Q. kelloggii in the understory (Klein and Evens 2005, Evens and San 2005).
  • Calocedrus decurrens > 30% relative cover in the tree canopy; Pinus jeffreyi and P. ponderosa are not codominant (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).


Raised stream benches, terraces, around wet meadows, upper slopes, ridges.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Incense-cedar series
NVCS (2009) Calocedrus decurrens forest alliance
Calveg Incense-cedar
Holland Sierran mixed coniferous forest, Sierran white fir forest
Munz Yellow pine forest
WHR Sierran mixed conifer
CDFW CA Code 85.100.00

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 Californian montane conifer forest