Abies magnifica Forest & Woodland Alliance
Red fir forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation1400-2700 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionUSA: CA, NV, OR (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Abies magnifica, Abies procera or Abies ×shastensis is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Calocedrus decurrens, Picea breweriana, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus monticola and Tsuga mertensiana.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 60 m; canopy is intermittent to continuous. Shrub layer is sparse to continuous. Herbaceous layer is sparse or abundant.

Membership Rules

  • Abies magnifica > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy and present in reproduction layers. Stands may include several other tree conifers; A. concolor, Pinus lambertiana, and other montane species are unimportant (< 5% relative cover) (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).
  • Abies magnifica > 60% tree relative cover in the tree canopy (Potter 1998).
  • If Abies concolor is present and co-dominant; see the Abies magnifica-Abies concolor alliance.


Raised stream benches, terraces, slopes, ridges. Parent materials and soils are highly variable and include ultramafics. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Abies magnifica as a FAC plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Red fir series
NVCS (2009) Abies magnifica forest alliance, Abies x shastensis forest alliance
Calveg Mixed conifer-Fir, Red fir, Subalpine conifers
Holland Red fir forest
Munz Red fir forest
WHR Red fir
CDFW CA Code 88.200.00

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 Vancouverian Subalpine Forest
Group Vancouverian mesic montane coniferous forest and woodland