Pinus monticola Forest & Woodland Alliance
Western white pine forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation200-2300 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionCAN: BC. USA: CA, ID, MT, OR, WA (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Pinus monticola is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Abies magnifica, Abies ×shastensis, Pinus attenuata, Pinus balfouriana, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus jeffreyi, Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Tsuga mertensiana.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 70 m; canopy is open to intermittent. Shrub layer is sparse to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is sparse or abundant.

Membership Rules

  • Pinus monticola > 30% relative cover in the tree layer (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).


Raised stream benches and terraces, all slopes, but most extensive above subalpine lake margins, on plateaus, and on upper elevation slopes and ridgetops. Soils are granitic, ultramafic, or volcanic derived. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Pinus monticola as a FACU plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Western white pine series
NVCS (2009) Pinus monticola forest alliance, Pinus monticola woodland alliance
Calveg Western white pine
Holland Ultramafic white pine forest
Munz Subalpine forest
WHR Subalpine conifer
CDFW CA Code 87.170.00

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