Picea engelmannii Forest Alliance
Engelmann spruce forest

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation1200-2100 m
  • State RarityS2
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionCAN: AB, BC, YT. USA: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Picea engelmannii is dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Abies ×shastensis, Calocedrus decurrens, Picea breweriana, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus monticola, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Taxus brevifolia and Tsuga mertensiana.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 55 m; canopy is continuous. Shrubs are common or infrequent. Herbaceous layer is sparse or abundant.

Membership Rules

  • Picea engelmannii > 50% cover in the tree canopy (NatureServe 2007).


Stream terraces, seasonally saturated depressions. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Picea engelmannii as a FAC plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Engelmann spruce series
NVCS (2009) Picea engelmannii forest alliance
Calveg Engelmann spruce-Subalpine fir
Holland Salmon-Scott enriched coniferous forest
Munz Red fir forest
WHR Klamath mixed conifer, Subalpine conifer
CDFW CA Code 83.100.00

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