Forest Habitat

Forest Habitat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The types of wildlife vary within the forest sub-habitats; each has a prominent tree species which is mainly determined by climate and elevation. Forest habitat characteristics include dense groupings of trees called thickets, large trees, dead trees, sunny openings and multiple layers of vegetation, all supporting daily wildlife activities.

Tree thickets provide shelter and hiding cover for animals such as the mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk during winter, or during spring fawning and calving. The sharp-shinned hawk may seek a thicket to nest in, as cover and access to small birds, its main prey. The large branches of mature trees can provide a firm base for raptor nests like those of the red-tailed hawk. Large, mature trees produce cones which are important to seed-eating animals such as the red-crossbill and Douglas squirrel. Dead trees are invaluable foraging, cover, courtship, nesting and roosting sites for many animals. The hairy woodpecker excavates cavities in snags for nesting and forages on insects that are abundant in dying and dead trees. Openings allow more sunlight and moisture to reach the ground, often producing lush forage used by Rocky Mountain elk. Tree and shrub perches along the edge are observation points for species of flycatcher to swoop upon flying insects that are conspicuous in such openings. Hollow logs make an ideal pantry for the golden-mantled ground squirrel to store seeds and fungi for a later meal. As a log decays with the help of insects, the black bear may search the rotten hulk for ants, termites, and an occasional rodent.

Mountain Hemlock/Subalpine Fir

This forest, typically at 5,000-7,500' elevation, may form the tree line in alpine habitat. Here, weather shapes the trees with shearing wind and crushing snow. Plants and their animal associates are constrained by a thin topsoil and short growing season. The dominant trees are conifers - mountain hemlock and subalpine fir. Where the tree canopy is dense, the ground is almost barren of shrubs, forbs, or grasses. A more open tree canopy allows grouse huckleberry, lupine, and woodrush to appear. Blue grouse, gray jay, Clark's nutcracker, snowshoe hare, American marten, and California wolverine are typical animal occupants.

View Sites with Forest - Mountain Hemlock/Subalpine Fir Habitat

  • 2 - Big Marsh
  • 8 - Crater Creek
  • 17 - Hosmer Lake
  • 21 - Newberry Crater
  • 36 - Sparks Lake

Lodgepole Pine

Locate a frosty basin 4,200-8,100' in elevation - one that is too cold, too hot, too dry, or too wet for any other conifer - and you'll find this forest. Lodgepole pine, the sole tree species, regenerates and develops in patches of similar-sized trees from cataclysmic wildfire, windstorm, or insect epidemic. Antelope bitterbrush, bearberry, common yarrow, lupine, western needlegrass - or common snowberry or Douglas spirea in soggy areas - may grow on the forest floor. Animal inhabitants include the great gray owl, black-backed woodpecker, and northern goshawk.

View Sites with Forest - Mountain Hemlock/Subalpine Fir Habitat

  •   2 - Big Marsh
  •   4 - Brown's Mtn Crossing
  •   7 - Crane Prairie Reservoir
  • 10 - Davis Lake
  • 12 - Fall River
  • 17 - Hosmer Lake
  • 19 - Lava Lands
  • 21 - Newberry Crater
  • 31 - Sand Springs
  • 36 - Sparks Lake
  • 37 - Sunriver Nature Center
  • 45 - Wickiup Reservoir

Mixed Conifer

This forest occurs on north aspects or other cool sites at 3,000-7,000' elevation. A mixture of coniferous trees - white fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western larch, or lodgepole pine - is characteristic. While open-canopied forests can grow shrubs such as chinquapin, ceanothus, snowberry, and vine maple, very few understory plants will tolerate dense forest shade. Accipiters - northern goshawk, Cooper's hawk, and sharp-shinned hawk - nest in secluded tree thickets. These hawks can agilely chase small bird and mammal prey through the dense foliage. The pileated woodpecker may thrive where abundant large snags for nesting and foraging supplement a stand of mature trees.

View Sites with Forest - Mixed Conifer Habitat

  •   2 - Big Marsh
  •   4 - Brown's Mtn Crossing
  •   6 - Cold Springs
  •   7 - Crane Prairie Reservoir
  • 10 - Davis Lake
  • 14 - Green Ridge
  • 20 - Metolius River
  • 33 - Shevlin Park
  • 38 - Suttle Lake
  • 43 - Walton Lake

Ponderosa Pine

In this forest, ponderosa pine - the sole tree species - dominates south aspects and other warm, dry locations at 3,000-6,100' elevation. Manzanita, antelope bitterbrush, or ceanothus are common shrubs, with Idaho fescue or Ross' sedge adding a conspicuous ground cover. This type of forest is tolerant of drought and low-intensity fire. Animals you might encounter include the northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, and Steller's jay. At lower elevations, ponderosa pine forest can be important winter range for mule deer or Rocky Mountain elk.

View Sites with Forest - Ponderosa Pint Habitat

  •   1 - Aspen Flat
  •   3 - Big Summit Prairie
  •   5 - Cabin Lake
  •   6 - Cold Springs
  •   7 - Crane Prairie Reservoir
  • 10 - Davis Lake
  • 11 - Drake Park
  • 14 - Green Ridge
  • 18 - Indian Ford
  • 19 - Lava Lands
  • 20 - Metolius River
  • 24 - ODF&W Office
  • 27 - Pioneer Park
  • 32 - Sawyer Park
  • 33 - Shevlin Park
  • 34 - Sister Ranger Station
  • 39 - The High Desert Museum
  • 43 - Walton Lak
  • 45 - Wickiup Reservoir

Western Juniper

Picture the only Central Oregon conifer tree species that can survive a bare eight inches of precipitation and you'll understand why the western juniper woodland appears diminutive rather than statuesque, and airy rather than dense. Ordinarily found at 3,000-4,300' elevation, it could alternately be called a treed shrubland. Big sagebrush or antelope bitterbrush are customary shrubs, while Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass contribute a conspicuous ground cover. Depending on the season, ferruginous hawk, mountain bluebird, Townsend's solitaire, western fence lizard, sagebrush lizard, bushy-tailed woodrat, and coyote are animal occupants.

View Sites with Woodland - Western Juniper Habitat

  •   5 - Cabin Lake
  •   9 - Crooked River
  • 15 - Haystack Reservoir
  • 16 - Highway 20 East
  • 22 - Oatman Flat
  • 23 - Ochoco Reservoir
  • 26 - Pelton
  • 28 - Prineville Reservoir
  • 29 - Rimrock Springs
  • 30 - Round Butte
  • 32 - Sawyer Park
  • 33 - Shevlin Park
  • 35 - Smith Rock S.P.
  • 40 - The O'Neil Hwy.
  • 41 - Tumalo Reservoir
  • 42 - Tumalo S.P.
  • 44 - Warm Springs




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/learning/nature-science/?cid=stelprdb5270645