Abies lasiocarpa Forest & Woodland Alliance
Subalpine fir forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation1700-2200 m
  • State RarityS2
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionCAN: AB. USA: CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Abies lasiocarpa is dominant in the tree canopy with Abies Ă—shastensis, Picea breweriana, Picea engelmannii, Pinus albicaulis, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus monticola, Taxus brevifolia and Tsuga mertensiana.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 20 m; canopy is intermittent to continuous. Shrub layer is sparse to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is sparse or abundant.

Membership Rules

  • Abies lasiocarpa > 50% cover in the tree canopy (De Jager 1991).


Wet meadows, lake and streamsides, open, glaciated slopes and ridges. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Abies lasiocarpa as a FACU plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Subalpine fir series
NVCS (2009) Abies lasiocarpa seasonally flooded forest alliance
Calveg Klamath mixed conifer
Holland Salmon-Scott enriched coniferous forest
Munz Subalpine forest
WHR Klamath mixed conifer
CDFW CA Code 88.400.00

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 Rocky Mountain Subalpine and High Montane Conifer Forest
Group Rocky Mountain mesic subalpine forest and woodland