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Overview

Brief Summary

Cupressaceae -- Cypress family

    Robert F. Powers and William W. Oliver

    Incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens) is the only species from  the small genus Libocedrus that is native to the United States.  Increasingly, it is placed in a segregate genus Calocedrus. Incense-cedar  grows with several conifer species on a variety of soils, generally on  western slopes where summer conditions are dry. It is long-lived and grows  slowly. Most of the top-grade lumber is used for the manufacture of  pencils and exterior siding.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

General: Cypress family Cupressaceae. Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens is a medium sized tree eighty to one hundred twenty feet high (Preston 1989). The leaves are small, scale-like, oblong-ovate, in whorls of four, decurrent, and closely adnate on the branchlets and aromatic when crushed. The flowers are monecious, appearing in January on the ends of short lateral branchlets of the previous year. The fruit is reddish-brown or yellowish-brown that ripens in the early autumn and remains on the tree until spring. The bark is bright cinnamon-red, broken into irregularly ridges, and covered with closely appressed plate-like scales (Sargent 1961).

Distribution: Calocedrus decurrens is native to the mountains from western Oregon in higher Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada to southern California and western Nevada. For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

California incense cedar, California white cedar, bastard cedar, California calocedar, post cedar, white cedar, red cedar

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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More info for the term: tree

Incense-cedar is a native tree in montane forests from Oregon south through California to northern Baja California, Mexico and east to western Nevada [58,64,96,97,103,208]. In Oregon, it extends from the southeastern slopes of Mt Hood east into central Oregon and south along the Cascade Range [7]. Its California distribution includes the Siskiyou, Klamath, North Coast, Cascade, Sierra Nevada, South Coast, Transverse, and Peninsular ranges and the Modoc Plateau [205]. The US Geological Survey provides a distributional map of incense-cedar.
  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 58. Farjon, Aljos. 1998. World checklist and bibliography of conifers. 2nd ed. Kew, England: The Royal Botanic Gardens. 309 p. [61059]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 103. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 64. Flora of North America Association. 2008. Flora of North America: The flora, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: http://www.fna.org/FNA. [36990]
  • 205. The Jepson Herbarium. 2008. Jepson Flora Project: Jepson online interchange for California floristics, [Online]. In: Berkeley, CA: University of California, The University and Jepson Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange.html [2008, June 19]. [70435]
  • 208. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2008. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/. [34262]

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Incense-cedar is a distinctive component of the Sierra Nevada  mixed-conifer forest, where it grows as scattered individuals or in small  groups (5). Its range spans about 15° of latitude and a variety of  climates from the southern slope of Mount Hood in Oregon, southward  through the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Warner Mountains, Cascade and Coast  Ranges, and Sierra Nevada to the dry Hanson Laguna and Sierra de San Pedro  Martir Ranges in Baja California (7). Incense-cedar grows from the coastal  fog belt eastward to the desert fringes. It can be found in the Washoe  Mountains of west-central Nevada (12).

     
- The native range of incense-cedar.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Thuja decurrens (Torr.) Voss:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Libocedrus decurrens Torr.:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Calif., Nev., Oreg.; Mexico in Baja California.
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Global Range: Distributed from Mount Hood, Oregon, through the mountains of California and western Nevada into Baja California (Record and Hess 1943).

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Adaptation

Incense cedar prefers moist, well-drained, fertile soil. It grows best in full sun or light shade. This species is not tolerant of smoggy or wind-swept conditions (Dirr 1990). It shows good adaptability to different soil types (Ibid.). This tree is often found in mixed coniferous stands with sugar pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, western white pine, white fir, and Douglas fir (Preston 1989).

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: tree

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [51,96,97]).

Incense-cedar is an evergreen tree that grows 66 to 187 feet (20-57 m) tall and up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter [48,51,64,70,73,96,97]. In presettlement giant sequoia forests, incense-cedar trees reportedly reached 225 feet (69 m) tall and 12 feet (4 m) in diameter [32,70]. At high elevations and on dry, exposed sites, trees are small and scrubby [174]. Young trees have dense, symmetrical, pyramid-shaped crowns with branches that reach to the ground. Old trees have swollen bases, rapidly tapering trunks, and open, irregular crowns. Very old trees often have dead tops. Trees grow slowly and can live over 500 years [7,48,70,73,174].

Incense-cedar bark is thick, fibrous, furrowed, and ridged [48,51,64,96,97]. The bark is usually 2 to 3 inches (5.0-7.6 cm) thick but may be as thick as 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) on old trees. The bark exfoliates into fibrous shreds [46]. Leaves are scale-like, 3 to 14 mm long, and form flat sprays [48,51,64,96,97]. Male cones are terminal on twigs and reach a length of 4 to 7 mm. Female cones develop on the ends of the previous year's growth and reach 0.6 to 1.5 inches (1.4-4 cm) at maturity [48,51,64,96,97,174]. They contain 4 or fewer seeds. Seeds are 8 to 12 mm long and have 2 wings of unequal length [51,64,96,97,174].

Incense-cedar has a well developed root system [174] consisting of widespreading lateral roots and several downward-growing roots. Both lateral roots and taproots branch "profusely". Because new roots commonly branch off at a 45° angle from the parent root, the root system occupies a broad lateral area with depth. Some branches from horizontal lateral roots also grow upward to within 1.2 inches (3 cm) of the soil surface [194].

  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 32. Bonnicksen, Thomas M. 2000. The trapper's forests. In: Bonnicksen, Thomas M. America's ancient forests: From the Ice Age to the age of discovery. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 344-419. [46253]
  • 46. Chang, Ying-Pe. 1954. Bark structure of North American conifers. Technical Bulletin No. 1095. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 86 p. [43074]
  • 51. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L. 1972. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 1. New York: Hafner Publishing Company, Inc. 270 p. [717]
  • 70. Franklin, Jerry F. 1979. Vegetation of the Douglas-fir region. In: Heilman, Paul E.; Anderson, Harry W.; Baumgartner, David M., eds. Forest soils of the Douglas-fir region. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, Cooperative Extension Service: 93-112. [8207]
  • 73. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 194. Stein, William I. 1978. Naturally developed seedling roots of five western conifers. In: van Eerden, E.; Kinghorn, J. M., eds. Proceedings of the root form of planted trees symposium; Joint Report No. 8; Victoria, BC; 1978 May 16-19. Victoria, BC: British Columbia Ministry of Forests; Canadian Forest Service: 28-35. [67445]
  • 48. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]. 1964. Knowing your trees. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 349 p. [22497]
  • 64. Flora of North America Association. 2008. Flora of North America: The flora, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: http://www.fna.org/FNA. [36990]

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Physical Description

Tree, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Tree with bark rough or scaly, Tree with bark shaggy or peeling, Young shoots in flat sprays, Buds not resinous, Leaves scale-like, Leaves opposite, Leaves whorled, Non-needle-like leaf margins entire, Leaf apex acute, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves not blue-green, Scale leaves without raised glands, Scale leaf glands not ruptured, Scale leaves overlapping, Twigs glabrous, Twigs not viscid, Twigs without peg-like projections or large fascicles after needles fall, Berry-like cones orange, Woody seed cones < 5 cm long, Bracts of seed cone included, Seeds tan, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds unequally winged, Seed wings narrower than body.
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Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Trees to 57 m; trunk to 3.6 m diam. Bark cinnamon brown, fibrous, furrowed and ridged. Branchlet segments mostly 2 or more times longer than wide, broadening distally. Leaves 3--14 mm, including long-decurrent base, rounded abaxially, apex acute (often abruptly), usually mucronate. Pollen cones red-brown to light brown. Seed cones oblong-ovate when closed, red-brown to golden brown, proximal scales often reflexed at cone maturity, median scales then widely spreading to recurved, distal scales erect. Seeds 4 or fewer in cone, 14--25 mm (including wings), light brown. 2 n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Libocedrus decurrens Torrey, Smithsonian Contr. Knowl. 5(1) [6(2)]: 7, plate 3. 1853
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In mixed conifer forest with Pinus jeffreyi, P. ponderosa, P. lambertiana, P. monticola, Abies concolor, A. grandis, A. magnifica, and Pseudotsuga menziesii, locally with Sequoiadendron giganteum, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Tsuga heterophylla or Thuja plicata, and in drier southern sites with Pinus coulteri and Pseudotsuga macrocarpa. The undergrowth of these mixed conifer forests varies mostly with altitude and edaphic conditions and is diverse, especially on ultramafic rocks, with Arctostaphylos patula, A. viscida, Ceanothus cordulatus, C. integerrimus, C. parvifolius, Castanopsis sempervirens, Gaultheria shallon and many other shrubby species. In most conifer forest associations C. decurrens is a relatively minor component, where it often occupies open canopy stands on hot, dry sites. In the Sierra Nevada Mixed Conifer Forest it may play a much greater role in the canopy locally. Other forest types include also Quercus spp., Castanopsis chrysophylla, Lithocarpus densiflorus and Arbutus menziesii, together with conifers. The altitudinal range of C. decurrens is from 50 m to 2010 m a.s.l. in the north and between 910 m and 2,960 m a.s.l. in the south of its range. This species is rather tolerant to soil types, with a huge range of pH values, but the soil usually well drained; it is only rare on limestone. It tolerates hot, dry summers well, but is equally insensitive to frost and snow cover.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: mesic, serpentine soils, xeric

Incense-cedar grows on a wide variety of sites ranging from shaded stream courses to exposed slopes [99]. It grows well on hot, dry sites and commonly occupies an upper canopy position on southwest-facing slopes [174]. It is common on xeric sites in the mixed-conifer zone of southern Oregon and California [34,62,68,73,174,182] and is found on exposed serpentine ridges in the Santa Lucia Range, California [81].

Incense-cedar also occurs on cool, moist sites [73,103,110,172,182], although it often is subdominant to other species on such sites [174]. It occurs in riparian woodlands [133] and is classified as a facultative riparian conifer in the eastern Sierra Nevada (Taylor and Davilla 1985, cited in [89]). In the Santa Lucia Range, incense-cedar is concentrated in deep canyons and shady ravines [81,82]. In the McKenzie River Valley, Oregon, incense-cedar is found on alluvial landforms where the water table remains close to the surface year-round [92]. At the southern extent of mixed-conifer forest in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in northern Baja California, incense-cedar occurs almost exclusively on mesic sites including riparian habitats [16,146,150].

Elevation: Incense-cedar occurs between 165 and 6,600 feet (50-2,010 m) in the northern portion of its range and between 3,000 and 9,700 (910-2,960 m) feet at its southern limit. In the Sierra Nevada, incense-cedar grows best between 2,000 and 6,900 feet (610-2,100 m) [174].

Elevational ranges of incense-cedar
Location Elevation
California 980-8,200 feet [96,121,161]
Nevada 5,000-7,000 feet [103]
Baja California, Mexico 3,600-7,900 feet [146,150]

Soils: Incense-cedar grows in many soil types originating from a wide variety of parent rocks including rhyolite, pumice, andesite, diorite, sandstone, shale, basalt, peridotite, serpentinite, granite, and limestone [174]. Incense-cedar is an indicator of serpentine soils in portions of the Klamath Mountains and California's Coast Ranges [80,80,115]. Its ability to extract soil phosphorus and calcium and exclude surplus magnesium allows incense-cedar to grow on soils derived from peridotite or serpentinite [174]. Texture of soils supporting incense-cedar varies from coarse sand to fine clay [174,193]. The best incense-cedar stands are generally found on deep, well-drained, sandy loam and clay loam soils [174]. Incense-cedar grows in pH ranges from strongly acid to nearly neutral [174], although it has a slight affinity toward basic soil conditions [9].

Moisture: Incense-cedar is very drought tolerant [7,206]. It closes its stomata to control water loss on dry sites [95]. Summer precipitation is usually less than 1 inch (25 mm)/month. Incense-cedar can grow on sites that receive as little as 15 inches (380 mm) of annual precipitation [174], but annual precipitation (including snow) varies from 20 to 80 inches (510-2,030 mm) across its range [174,193]. Incense-cedar is intolerant of flooding [228].

Temperature: Incense-cedar is tolerant of heat [62] and somewhat resistant to frost injury [67]. Annual temperature extremes across the range of incense-cedar are -30 °F to 118 °F (-34 °C to 48 °C) [174].

  • 161. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 99. Horton, Jerome S. 1949. Trees and shrubs for erosion control of southern California mountains. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station; California Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. 72 p. [10689]
  • 9. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 16. Barbour, Michael G. 1988. Californian upland forests and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 131-164. [13880]
  • 34. Bonnicksen, Thomas M.; Stone, Edward C. 1982. Reconstruction of a presettlement giant sequoia-mixed conifer forest community using the aggregation approach. Ecology. 63(4): 1134-1148. [7859]
  • 62. Fites-Kaufmann, Josephine. 1997. Historic landscape pattern and process: fire, vegetation, and environment interactions in the northern Sierra Nevada. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. 175 p. Dissertation. [65695]
  • 67. Fowells, H. A.; Stark, N. B. 1965. Natural regeneration in relation to environment in the mixed conifer forest type of California. Res. Pap. PSW-24. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 14 p. [15642]
  • 68. Franklin, J. F.; Hall, F.; Laudenslayer, W.; Maser, C.; Nunan, J.; Poppino, J.; Ralph, C. J.; Spies, T. 1986. Interim definitions for old-growth Douglas-fir and mixed-conifer forests in the Pacific Northwest and California. Res. Note PNW-447. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Old-Growth Definition Task Group. 7 p. [7870]
  • 73. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961]
  • 80. Grace, James B.; Safford, Hugh D.; Harrison, Susan. 2007. Large-scale causes of variation in the serpentine vegetation of California. Plant Soil. 293(1-2): 121-132. [66813]
  • 81. Griffin, James R. 1975. Plants of the highest Santa Lucia and Diablo Range peaks, California. Res. Pap. PSW-110. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 50 p. [22108]
  • 82. Griffin, James R. 1978. The Marble-Cone fire ten months later. Fremontia. 6: 8-14. [19081]
  • 89. Harris, Richard R. 1989. Riparian communities of the Sierra Nevada and their environmental relationships. In: Abell, Dana L., technical coordinator. Proceedings of the California riparian systems conference: Protection, management, and restoration for the 1990's; 1988 September 22-24; Davis, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-110. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 393-398. [13768]
  • 92. Hawk, G. M.; Zobel, D. B. 1974. Forest succession on alluvial landforms of the McKenzie River Valley, Oregon. Northwest Science. 48(4): 245-265. [9686]
  • 95. Helms, John A.; Rutter, Mark R. 1979. Tree physiology as a basis for better silviculture. California Agriculture. 33(5): 12-13. [67444]
  • 110. Keeley, Jon E. 2006. South Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 350-390. [65557]
  • 115. Kruckeberg, Arthur R. 1984. California serpentines: Flora, vegetation, geology, soils, and management problems. University of California Publications in Botany. Volume 78. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 180 p. [12482]
  • 121. Lanner, Ronald M. 1999. Conifers of California. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 274 p. [30288]
  • 133. McBride, Joe R. 1994. SRM 203: Riparian woodland. In: Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 13-14. [66662]
  • 146. Minnich, Richard A. 1987. The distribution of forest trees in northern Baja California, Mexico. Madrono. 34(2): 98-127. [6985]
  • 150. Minnich, Richard A.; Everett, Richard G. 2001. Conifer tree distributions in southern California. Madrono. 48(3): 177-197. [40736]
  • 172. Pase, Charles P. 1982. Sierran montane conifer forest. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 49-51. [8884]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 182. Roy, D. Graham; Vankat, John L. 1999. Reversal of human-induced vegetation changes in Sequoia National Park, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 29(4): 399-412. [36282]
  • 193. Stead, S.; Post, R. L. 1989. Plants for the Lake Tahoe Basin: Incense cedar. Fact Sheet 89-56. Incline Village, NV: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Western Area Cooperative Extension; Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 2 p. [23662]
  • 206. Topik, Christopher; Hemstrom, Miles A., comps. 1982. Guide to common forest-zone plants: Willamette, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests. R6-Ecol 101-1982. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 95 p. [3234]
  • 228. Walters, M. Alice; Teskey, Robert O.; Hinckley, Thomas M. 1980. Impact of water level changes on woody riparian and wetland communities. Volume 7: Mediterranean Region, Western Arid and Semi-Arid Region. FWS/OBS-78/93. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program. 84 p. [52899]
  • 103. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, cover, serpentine soils, shrub, tree

Incense-cedar is an important component of mixed-conifer forests in southern
Oregon, California, and northern Baja California
[10,16,71,73,96,103,145,191,207]. Incense-cedar is also common in white fir (Abies concolor) forests at
the upper margin of the mixed-conifer zone in southwestern Oregon [10,73] and
northern California [182] and giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
groves in the Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer zone of California [5,14,33]. In
Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests it may account for half of the stems in a
stand [174]. For information on tree, shrub, and herbaceous
species associated with incense-cedar in mixed-conifer forests, see these
sources: [10,15,16,71,172].

Incense-cedar is a minor
component of the other forest types in which it is found [174]. It occurs with Shasta red fir (Abies
magnifica var. shastensis) [11,73] and California red fir
(A. magnifica) [15,73]. It grows
in Douglas-fir-western hemlock (Pseudotsuga menziesii-Tsuga heterophylla)
forests [71,73,160] and in grand fir (A. grandis) forests in southern
Oregon [73]. It is a minor component of mixed-evergreen forests in southwestern
Oregon and California [16,38,71,73,84,96,97,163] and of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
forests in north coastal California [71,234].

Incense-cedar occurs with bigcone Douglas-fir (P. macrocarpa)
in southern California [140] and with Jeffrey pine (Pinus
jeffreyi) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) throughout much of
its range [15,87,182]. Incense-cedar and Jeffrey pine are common associates on serpentine soils [10,53,73,101]. On the east side of the Oregon Cascade Range,
incense-cedar occurs in dry ponderosa pine forests [200].
On the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, it grows with ponderosa
pine, Jeffrey pine, sugar pine (P. lambertiana), and white fir
[25,45,103,120]. Incense-cedar grows with Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) [7,73,195] and California black oak (Q. kelloggii) in southern Oregon and
California [7,134]. It is a minor associate in canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis) forests [128] and
may also extend into the chaparral zone in California [26,31,185].

Incense-cedar is rarely found in pure stands [114,174].
Vegetation types describing plant communities where incense-cedar is a dominant species are listed below.
Oregon:


  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar association

  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar-Jeffrey pine association [10]

  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar/pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos nevadensis) association [73]

  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar/Piper's Oregon-grape (Berberis piperiana) association [10]

  • incense-cedar/common whipplea (Whipplea modesta) community type

  • incense-cedar/little prince's pine (Chimaphila menziesii) community type [142]

  • Jeffrey pine-incense-cedar-Douglas-fir association

  • Jeffrey pine-incense-cedar/huckleberry oak (Q. vaccinifolia) association

  • Jeffrey pine-incense-cedar/whiteleaf manzanita (A. viscida) association

  • western hemlock-incense-cedar-salal (Gaultheria shallon) association [10]

  • white fir-incense-cedar/dwarf Oregon-grape (B. nervosa) association [8]

  • white fir-incense-cedar/western starflower (Trientalis latifolia) association [10]

  • white fir-ponderosa pine-incense-cedar/serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) forest type [98]
California:

  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar/purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) association

  • Douglas-fir-incense-cedar-California black oak/purple needlegrass association

  • white alder (Alnus rhombifolia)-Douglas-fir-incense-cedar/Himalayan
    blackberry (Rubus discolor) association [198]
California and Oregon:

  • Society of American Foresters Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer cover type [203]

  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 5. Anderson, R. Scott. 1994. Paleohistory of a giant sequoia grove: the record from Log Meadow, Sequoia National Park. In: Aune, Philip S., technical coordinator. Proceedings of the symposium on giant sequoias: their place in the ecosystem and society; 1992 June 23-25; Visalia, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-151. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 49-55. [24749]
  • 8. Atzet, Thomas; McCrimmon, Lisa A. 1990. Preliminary plant associations of the southern Oregon Cascade Mountain province. Grants Pass, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest. 330 p. [12977]
  • 11. Atzet, Tom; Wheeler, David; Riegel, Gregg; Smith, Brad; Franklin, Jerry. 1984. The mountain hemlock and Shasta red fir series of the Siskiyou Region of southwest Oregon. FIR Report. 6(1): 4-7. [9486]
  • 14. Bancroft, Larry. 1979. Fire management plan: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. San Francisco, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Western Region. 190 p. [11887]
  • 15. Barbour, M.; Kelley, E.; Maloney, P.; Rizzo, D.; Royce, E.; Fites-Kaufmann, J. 2002. Present and past old-growth forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Sierra Nevada, US. Journal of Vegetation Science. 13(4): 461-472. [45869]
  • 16. Barbour, Michael G. 1988. Californian upland forests and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 131-164. [13880]
  • 25. Billings, W. D. 1951. Vegetational zonation in the Great Basin of western North America. Union of International Science: Biological Series B. 9: 101-122. [443]
  • 26. Biswell, H. H. 1958. The use of fire in California chaparral for game habitat improvement. In: Proceedings: Society of American Foresters meeting; 1957 November 10-13; Syracuse, NY. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 151-155. [12149]
  • 31. Bolsinger, Charles L. 1989. Shrubs of California's chaparral, timberland, and woodland: area, ownership, and stand characteristics. Res. Bull. PNW-RB-160. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Experiment Station. 50 p. [7426]
  • 33. Bonnicksen, Thomas M.; Stone, Edward C. 1981. The giant sequoia-mixed conifer forest community characterized through pattern analysis as a mosaic of aggregations. Forest Ecology and Management. 3: 307-328. [8781]
  • 38. Brown, David E. 1982. Californian evergreen forest and woodland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 66-69. [8887]
  • 53. Davis, Frank W.; Borchert, Mark I. 2006. Central Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 321-349. [65548]
  • 71. Franklin, Jerry F. 1988. Pacific Northwest forests. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 103-130. [13879]
  • 73. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961]
  • 84. Gudmunds, Karl N.; Barbour, Michael G. 1987. Mixed evergreen forest stands in the northern Sierra Nevada. In: Plumb, Timothy R.; Pillsbury, Norman H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on multiple-use management of California's hardwood resources; 1986 November 12-14; San Luis Obispo, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-100. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 32-37. [5358]
  • 87. Hallin, William E. 1957. Silvical characteristics of Jeffrey pine. Tech. Pap. No. 17. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station. 11 p. [17969]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 98. Hopkins, William E. 1979. Plant associations of the Fremont National Forest. R6-ECOL-79-004. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 106 p. [7340]
  • 101. Jenkinson, James L. 1990. Pinus jeffreyi Grev. & Balf. Jeffrey pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 359-369. [13272]
  • 114. Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 252 p. [9980]
  • 120. Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p. [1401]
  • 128. Mallory, James I. 1980. Canyon live oak. In: Eyre, F. H., ed. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 125-126. [7608]
  • 134. McDonald, Philip M. 1980. California black oak. In: Eyre, F. H., ed. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 122. [50057]
  • 140. McDonald, Philip M.; Littrell, Edward E. 1976. The bigcone Douglas-fir--canyon live oak community in southern California. Madrono. 23(6): 310-320. [10662]
  • 142. Means, Joseph Earl. 1980. Dry coniferous forests in the western Oregon Cascades. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 264 p. Dissertation. [5767]
  • 145. Minnich, Richard A. 1976. Vegetation of the San Bernardino Mountains. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: Plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 99-124. [4232]
  • 160. Morrison, Peter H.; Swanson, Frederick J. 1990. Fire history and pattern in a Cascade Range landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-254. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 77 p. [13074]
  • 163. Myatt, Rodney G. 1980. Canyon live oak vegetation in the Sierra Nevada. In: Plumb, Timothy R., technical coordinator. Proceedings of the symposium on the ecology, management and utilization of California oaks; 1979 June 26-28; Claremont, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-44. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 86-91. [7019]
  • 172. Pase, Charles P. 1982. Sierran montane conifer forest. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 49-51. [8884]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 182. Roy, D. Graham; Vankat, John L. 1999. Reversal of human-induced vegetation changes in Sequoia National Park, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 29(4): 399-412. [36282]
  • 185. Rundel, Philip W.; Parsons, David J.; Gordon, Donald T. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 559-599. [4235]
  • 191. Skinner, Carl N.; Taylor, Alan H.; Agee, James K. 2006. Klamath Mountains bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 170-194. [65539]
  • 195. Stein, William I. 1980. Oregon white oak. In: Eyre, F. H., ed. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 110-111. [9857]
  • 198. Stuart, John D.; Worley, Tom; Buell, Ann C. 1996. Plant associations of Castle Crags State Park, Shasta County, California. Madrono. 43(2): 273-291. [64661]
  • 200. Swedberg, Kenneth Charles. 1961. The coniferous ecotone of the east slope of the northern Oregon Cascades. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State College. 118 p. Dissertation. [40934]
  • 203. Tappeiner, John C. 1980. Sierra Nevada mixed conifer. In: Eyre, F. H., ed. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 118-119. [50054]
  • 207. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1964. Mixed conifer forest (Abies-Pinus-Pseudotsuga). In: Kuchler, A. W. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society: 4. [66989]
  • 234. Zinke, Paul J. 1977. The redwood forest and associated north coast forests. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 679-698. [7212]
  • 45. Chang, Chi-ru. 1996. Ecosystem responses to fire and variations in FIRE REGIMES. In: Status of the Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress. Volume 2: Assessments and scientific basis for management options. Wildland Resources Center Report No. 37. Davis, CA: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources: 1071-1099. [28976]
  • 103. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 10. Atzet, Thomas; White, Diane E.; McCrimmon, Lisa A.; Martinez, Patricia A.; Fong, Paula Reid; Randall, Vince D., tech. coords. 1996. Field guide to the forested plant associations of southwestern Oregon. Tech. Pap. R6-NR-ECOL-TP-17-96. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. Available online: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/rogue-siskiyou/publications/plant-associations.shtml [2008, September 12]. [49881]

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Soils and Topography

Incense-cedar grows on many kinds of soils developed from a wide variety  of parent rocks-rhyolite, pumice, andesite, diorite, sandstone, shale,  basalt, peridotite, serpentinite, limestone, and granitic or metamorphic:  equivalents. It is particularly adept at extracting soil phosphorus (21)  and calcium (35), and excluding surplus magnesium.

    Soils supporting incense-cedar vary greatly. Reaction ranges from nearly  neutral to strongly acid. Textures vary from coarse sands to very fine  clays. The best stands generally are found on deep, well-drained, sandy  loam soils developed on granitic rocks and sandstone; deep clay loams  developed on basalt and rhyolite; and occasionally on deep,  coarse-textured, well-drained soils developed from pumice.

    In California, incense-cedar grows best on deep, slightly to moderately  acid Ultic Haploxeralfs, such as the Holland series weathered from  granitic rock, and the Cohasset series derived from andesite and basalt.  Incense-cedar also grows on infertile soils derived from peridotite or  serpentinite throughout the Sierra Nevada and tends to be restricted to  these soils in western portions of the north Coast Ranges and Klamath  Mountains (7). Although it is a good competitor on these soils because of  its apparent ability to extract calcium and exclude magnesium, its growth  is considerably less than on more fertile sites. Apparently the high  calcium-extracting ability of incense-cedar may interfere with magnesium  and micronutrient uptake on limestone. Incense-cedars are rare on  limestone soils, and the trees that do grow there contain high  concentrations of calcium and low concentrations of manganese and zinc  (35).

    Incense-cedar grows at elevations between 50 and 2010 m (165 and 6,600  ft) in its northern extreme (30), and between 910 and 2960 m (3,000 to  9,700 ft) in its southern limits. In the Sierra Nevada, the tree grows  best at elevations between 610 and 2100 m (2,000 to 6,900 ft). Once  established, incense-cedar is a good competitor on hot, dry sites and  commonly shares an upper canopy position on southwestern slopes. On  cooler, moister aspects, it is usually subdominant to other species.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

Incense-cedar's natural range is characterized by dry summers, usually  with less than 25 mm (1 in) precipitation per month; annual temperature  extremes are -34° to 48° C (-30° to 118° F). Annual  precipitation, part of which is snow, varies from 510 to 2030 mm (20 to 80  in). Precipitation may be as low as 380 mm (15 in) a year for  incense-cedar found on the east side of the Cascades and in the Warner  Mountains in Oregon and California (22).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Montane forests; 300--2800m.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Dispersal

Establishment

Propagation for Seed: Sow seeds in the early spring in a greenhouse. Seeds require a stratification period for about eight weeks at 32-40ºF for good germination. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, place them into individual pots to grow in a light shaded area in a greenhouse or cold frame for the first winter. Plant them out in the late spring or early summer.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Associated Forest Cover

Rarely found in pure stands, incense-cedar grows in several forest cover  types where it occupies a subdominant crown position. Except in Sierra  Nevada Mixed Conifer (Society of American Foresters Type 243) (5) where  its stocking may account for half of the stems in a stand (20,26),  incense-cedar is a minor component of the cover types in which it is  found. These cover types include Pacific Douglas-Fir (Type 229), Pacific  Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-Fir (Type 244), California Black Oak (Type 246),  Jeffrey Pine (Type 247), and Pacific Ponderosa Pine (Type 245). Southern  and drier portions of the types Oregon White Oak (Type 233) and  Douglas-Fir-Tanoak-Pacific Madrone (Type 234) as well as inland extensions  of Port-Orford-Cedar (Type 231) also contain incense-cedar.

    In the northern part of its range, incense-cedar often is found with  coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), ponderosa  pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa), sugar pine (P.  lambertiana), western white pine (P. monticola), Jeffrey pine  (P. jeffreyi), California white fir (Abies concolor var.  lowiana), grand fir. (A. grandis), western hemlock (Tsuga  heterophylla), western redcedar (Thuja plicata), Port-Orford-cedar  (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), Oregon white oak Quercus  garryana), California black oak (Q. kelloggii), tanoak (Lithocarpus  densiflorus), giant chinkapin (Castanopsis chrysophylla), and  Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii). In the central part, it grows  with coast Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Jeffrey pine, Sierra  lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. murrayana), California  white fir, California red fir (Abies magnifica), giant sequoia  (Sequoiadendron giganteum), California black oak, tanoak, giant  chinkapin, and Pacific madrone. In the southern part, common associates  are Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Coulter pine (Pinus  coulteri), bigcone Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), and  California black oak. Tree associates on ultramafic soils include Jeffrey  pine, western white pine, sugar pine, knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata),  and coast Douglas-fir.

    Common brush species growing with incense-cedar are greenleaf manzanita  (Arctostaphylos patula), mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus  cordulatus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus), snowbrush (C.  velutinus), littleleaf ceanothus (C. parvifolius), bearclover  (Chamaebatia foliolosa), bush chinkapin (Castanopsis  sempervirens), salal (Gaultheria shallon), and coast  rhododendron (Rhododendron californicum) (22). On ultramafic  soils, sclerophyllous shrubs predominate and include barberry (Berberis  pumila), silk-tassel (Garrya buxifolia), tanoak, huckleberry  oak Quercus vaccinifolia), coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica),  western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), and red huckleberry  (Vaccinium parvifolium) (32).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Overmature incense-cedars are more defective  than their associates. The amount of cull increases with age of the trees  and varies among stands (22). Average cull percents based upon gross  volume are 4 to 6 percent for immature dominants, 21 percent for mature  dominants, and 68 to 77 percent for overmature dominants.

    The single most destructive agent affecting incense-cedar is the pocket  dry rot (Tyromyces amarus). Pocket dry rot is most common in trees  growing on good sites. In parts of the Sierra Nevada, 75 to 100 percent of  the mature trees are infected. Trees on marginal sites near  incense-cedar's eastern limit usually are infected less (2).

    The spores of pocket dry rot must be deposited on an open wound to  infect trees because the mycelium cannot penetrate through the bark into  the heartwood (14). The most prevalent port of entry is through fire scars  (84 percent). Knots (10 percent) are next in frequency And injuries  resulting from lightning and frost (6 percent) are least (22). Pocket dry  rot seems relatively resistant to heartwood extractives that are toxic to  other heart-rotting fungi and may actually detoxify them (34). This  unusual ability may explain the apparent anomaly of highly defective  heartwood in live, overmature trees and high durability of heartwood in  sawn products.

    In management of young-growth incense-cedar, the age at which dry rot  begins to cause losses is of primary significance. Suppressed trees are  subject to severe dry rot infection after they reach 165 years, but  dominant trees generally are safe until 210 years old (22). Because the  rotation age of young-growth stands is considerably less than these  critical ages, pocket dry rot should not cause severe cull in managed  stands. Two other fungi that occasionally rot the heartwood of living  incense-cedar are Phellinus pini and Phaeolus schweinitzii  (10).

    Root disease kills more incense-cedar trees than any other pathogen  (24). Of the three facultative, parasitic fungi found attacking  incense-cedar roots, Armillaria sp., Heterobasidion annosumand Phellinus weiri, probably the most destructive is Heterobasidion  annosum. More than 100 H. annosum infection centers have been  confirmed on developed sites in Yosemite Valley, CA (25). Property damage  caused by falling root-diseased trees has been substantial and has led to  the development of a risk-rating system. On the basis of crown  characteristics, the system predicts the potential for early failure of  root-diseased incense-cedar (25).

    The only foliage disease of any consequence is the rust caused by Gymnosporangium  libocedri (10), which infects incense-cedar of all ages, causing  witches' brooms, but only infrequently kills smaller branches. Although  extensive infections of leaf rust retard growth, no deaths have been  attributed directly to the disease. Infections in the main stem may result  in burls that cause defect in lumber (2).

    Ozone, the major plant-damaging constituent of photochemical oxidant air  pollution, injures the foliage of many coniferous species. Incense-cedar  is insensitive to injury from ozone. It appears to have sufficient numbers  of tolerant individuals so that it may be planted with reasonable success  in the ozone-affected forests common in the southern portion of this  species' natural range (15).

    Incense-cedar mistletoe (Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. libocedrigrows on incense-cedar throughout the range of the tree. This true  mistletoe causes elongated swellings on the branches and occasionally on  the trunk. Severe infections suppress growth but rarely kill large trees  (2).

    Many species of insects are found on incense-cedar, but relatively few  cause serious losses. A cone sawfly (Augomonoctenus libocedrii) sometimes  infests cones, resulting in damage resembling that of cone-feeding  caterpillars (6). The juniper scale (Carulaspis juniperi) is a  European species now distributed throughout the range of incense-cedar  (6). It attacks twigs, leaves, branches, and cones, causing the foliage to  turn yellow. Sometimes branches and entire trees are killed. Six species  of cedar bark beetles (Phloeosinus spp.) can be found  working under bark of trunks, tops, and limbs of weakened, dying, or  felled trees or of broken branches (6). Although damage usually is  inconsequential, beetles occasionally become sufficiently numerous and  aggressive to attack and kill apparently healthy trees. Several wood  borers have been found in incense-cedar, but none poses a threat to the  life of the tree (6). The flatheaded cedar borer (Chrysobothris nixamines the bark and outer wood of limbs, trunks, and roots of weakened,  dying, and dead trees, principally in the coast region. The amethyst cedar  borer (Semanotus amethystinus) is similar to Chrysobothris  nixa but confines its work to the inner bark and a scoring of the  outer sapwood of boles and large limbs throughout the range of  incense-cedar. The western cedar borer (Trachykele blondeli), like  Chrysobothris nixa, can cause serious degrade and cull in trees  cut for products requiring sound wood. Its larvae mine the sapwood and  heartwood of living trees. Trachykele opulenta is similar to T.  blondeli but less destructive. The incense-cedar wasp (Syntexis  libocedrii) bores in the sapwood of fire-scorched trees in California.

    Fire has played a significant role in the health and relative abundance  of incense-cedar in mixed-conifer stands. Sapling incense-cedars are more  readily killed by fire than most of their associates; the thick bark of  mature incense-cedar offers considerable protection from fire. Intense  fires indirectly result in more damage to mature trees, however, by  exposing trunks to infection by pocket dry rot. As a result of fire  control by land management agencies beginning about 1900, and partial  cutting practices, the proportion of incense-cedar in the understory has  increased. Incense-cedar is favored because it is a prolific seeder and  because the shade-tolerant seedlings and saplings can persist for long  periods in the understory.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: basal area, density, fire exclusion, fire severity, fire suppression, fuel, fuel moisture, prescribed fire, restoration, series, severity, wildfire

Prescribed fire can be used to restore and maintain historic composition and structure in mixed-conifer forests [27,40,78,209,215]. The objectives of prescribed fire in this forest type include reducing the understory density of fire-sensitive, shade-tolerant incense-cedar and white fir [233]. In a mixed-conifer forest in Yosemite National Park, for example, prescribed fire objectives include 50% reduction in total fuel load and mortality of 40% of pole size (1.0-5.9 inches (2.5-15 cm) DBH) incense-cedar and white fir [122].

Numerous case studies illustrate the effectiveness of prescribed fire in reducing understory incense-cedar density. For example, incense-cedar showed greatest mortality among conifers following 4 fire treatments in 1983 and 1984 in mixed-conifer forests of the southern Cascade Range and the northern Sierra Nevada, with mortalities near 100% on some plots. Incense-cedar was "all but eliminated" from the understory by all fire treatments. After a late-spring, moderate-severity treatment, incense-cedar density decreased from 19,967 stems/ha to 67 stems/ha [109]. For further information on this study, see the Research Project Summary describing Kauffman and others's [104,105,107,108,109] research. Mortality following a fall 2002 prescribed fire in the same study area was greatest for incense-cedar in the smallest size class [113].

Postfire percent mortality for incense-cedar in 3 DBH classes [113]
2.5-25 cm DBH 25-51 cm DBH 51-76 cm DBH
27.11 2.11 6.67

Near the Plumas National Forest, California, prescribed fire in a mixed-conifer-California black oak forest with an incense-cedar component successfully reduced fuel loads. When a wildfire burned through the site previously burned under prescription, fire severity and fire suppression costs were less compared to adjacent land where fire had been excluded [155]. For further information on this study, see the Research Paper by Moghaddas [155]. A 1990 fall prescribed fire in the Tharp Creek Watershed of Sequoia National Park, California, produced 16.4% and 17.8% average annual incense-cedar mortality on 2 white fir-mixed conifer sites monitored for 5 years after fire. Mortality was concentrated in the subcanopy [162]. For more information, see the Research Paper by Mutch and Parsons [162].

Prescribed fires in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park demonstrated the effectiveness of spring and late fall underburns in controlling young incense-cedars. Incense-cedar showed significant reductions in both sapling (P<0.02) and seedling densities (P<0.01) after burning [130]. For further information on this study, see the Research Project Summary of Martin and Lathrop's [123,130,131] study. Prescribed burns in mixed-conifer forest in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks reduced the density of small (1-3.5 inches (2.5-9 cm)) incense-cedar by 56% [182].

Typically, prescribed fires in the mixed-conifer zone are conducted in late fall. With relatively low temperatures and high humidity, these late-season fires are generally lower severity than midseason fires and therefore may not kill a sufficient percentage of understory trees to meet restoration objectives. In a series of prescribed fires in Yosemite National Park, total understory incense-cedar basal area was significantly affected by fuel type and fuel moisture. On incense-cedar fuel plots, only plots at the 10% fuel moisture content were sufficiently dry to kill incense-cedars 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m) in height [221]. For further information on this study, see the Research Project Summary of Van Wagtendonk's [213,214,221] study.

A combination of thinning and prescribed burning may more effectively move stands with dense incense-cedar understories toward historic conditions than thinning or prescribed burning alone [166]. Application of 2 or 3 burns may also help to incrementally reduce fuel loadings in such stands [40,109]. Understory thinning may be necessary to allow successful application of prescribed fire in dense stands with high fuel loads [19,29,40,59,60,63,156]. On the Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest in northeastern California, prescribed burning was conducted in October 1959 to kill dense incense-cedar seedlings and saplings beneath a mature stand of ponderosa pine [78]. Due to abundant fuels on the site, the fire was more severe than expected and reached the canopy in some areas. Although the main objective of the fire was met (the incense-cedar understory was reduced from 1,031 to 16 live trees), Gordon [78] recommended against future burning under such extreme fuel conditions.

Even with a combination of fire and thinning treatments, restoring historic composition and structure to mixed-conifer forests after nearly 100 years of fire exclusion may be difficult. Although fire and thinning treatments kill incense-cedar seedlings and saplings, posttreatment seed rain and seedling establishment are often high. Fall prescribed fire and thinning treatments in an unmanaged, old-growth mixed-conifer forest at the Teakettle Experiment Forest, California, resulted in greater incense-cedar sapling reduction in burned vs. unburned treatments (P=0.030) and in thinned vs. unthinned treatments (P=0.036). Incense-cedar seedlings were also significantly reduced in both burned (P=0.0052) and thinned (P=0.0021) sites. Posttreatment seed rain and seedling establishment, however, were up to an order of magnitude higher for incense-cedar and white fir than for pines (Pinus spp.). Under these conditions, stand structure and composition returns to pretreatment conditions within a few years [233]. Regular prescribed fires may be necessary to maintain low density of understory incense-cedars [130]. Incense-cedar seedling establishment is reduced by overstory thinning of large, seed-producing incense-cedar trees. For managers attempting to accelerate old-growth development, however, removal of large incense-cedars may not be a desirable option [233].

For more information on prescribed fire techniques and prescribed fire effects in mixed-conifer forests, see these sources: [27,30,217,218,220].
  • 19. Barry, W. James; Harrison, R. Wayne. 2002. Prescribed burning in the California state park system. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; Morales, Maria; Morales, Tony, eds. Fire in California ecosystems: integrating ecology, prevention and management: Proceedings of the symposium; 1997 November 17-20; San Diego, CA. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1. Davis, CA: Association for Fire Ecology: 203-212. [46206]
  • 27. Biswell, H. H. 1963. Research in wildland fire ecology in California. In: Proceedings, 2nd annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1963 March 14-15; Tallahassee, FL. No. 2. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 63-97. [13474]
  • 29. Biswell, H. H.; Gibbens, R. P.; Buchanan, Hayle. 1968. Fuel conditions and fire hazard reduction costs in a giant sequoia forest. National Parks Magazine. August: 17-19. [8785]
  • 40. Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. 2000. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 257 p. [36581]
  • 59. Fiedler, Carl E.; Arno, Stephen F.; Harrington, Michael G. 1996. Flexible silvicultural and prescribed burning approaches for improving health of ponderosa pine forests. In: Covington, Wallace; Wagner, Pamela K., technical coordinators. Conference on adaptive ecosystem restoration and management: restoration of Cordilleran conifer landscapes of North America: Proceedings; 1996 June 6-8; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-278. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 69-74. [26926]
  • 60. Fiedler, Carl E.; Arno, Stephen F.; Harrington, Michael G. 1998. Reintroducing fire in ponderosa pine-fir forests after a century of fire exclusion. In: Pruden, Teresa L.; Brennan, Leonard A., eds. Fire in ecosystem management: shifting the paradigm from suppression to prescription: Proceedings of the 20th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1996 May 7-10; Boise, ID. No. 20. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 245-249. [35639]
  • 63. Fitzgerald, Stephen A. 2005. Fire ecology of ponderosa pine and the rebuilding of fire-resilient ponderosa pine ecosystems. In: Ritchie, Martin W.; Maguire, Douglas A.; Youngblood, Andrew, technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on ponderosa pine: issues, trends, and management; 2004 October 18-21; Klamath Falls, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-198. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 197-225. [65972]
  • 78. Gordon, Donald T. 1967. Prescribed burning in the interior ponderosa pine type of northeastern California: A preliminary study. Res. Pap. PSW-45. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 20 p. [15784]
  • 104. Kauffman, J. B.; Martin, R. E. 1989. Fire behavior, fuel consumption, and forest-floor changes following prescribed understory fires in Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 19: 455-462. [7645]
  • 105. Kauffman, J. B.; Martin, R. E. 1990. Sprouting shrub response to different seasons and fuel consumption levels of prescribed fire in Sierra Nevada mixed conifer ecosystems. Forest Science. 36(3): 748-764. [13063]
  • 107. Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, R. E. 1985. A preliminary investigation on the feasibility of preharvest prescribed burning for shrub control. In: Proceedings, 6th annual forestry vegetation management conference; 1984 November 1-2; Redding, CA. Redding, CA: Forest Vegetation Management Conference: 89-114. [7526]
  • 108. Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, Robert E. 1985. Shrub and hardwood response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture. In: Donoghue, Linda R.; Martin, Robert E., eds. Weather--the drive train connecting the solar engine to forest ecosystems: Proceedings, 8th conference on fire and forest meteorology; 1985 April 29-May 2; Detroit, MI. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 279-286. [9796]
  • 109. Kauffman, John Boone. 1986. The ecological response of the shrub component to prescribed burning in mixed conifer ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 235 p. Dissertation. [19559]
  • 113. Kobziar, Leda; Moghaddas, Jason; Stephens, Scott L. 2006. Tree mortality patterns following prescribed fires in a mixed conifer forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 36: 3222-3238. [67125]
  • 122. Lansing, Caroline. 2002. Fire effects monitoring results in Yosemite National Park's white fir-mixed conifer forest: fuel load and tree density changes. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; Morales, Maria; Morales, Tony, eds. Fire in California ecosystems: integrating ecology, prevention and management: Proceedings of the symposium; 1997 November 17-20; San Diego, CA. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1. Davis, CA: Association for Fire Ecology: 364-371. [46238]
  • 123. Lathrop, Earl W.; Martin, Bradford D. 1982. Response of understory vegetation to prescribed burning in yellow pine forests of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. Aliso. 10(2): 329-343. [15943]
  • 130. Martin, Bradford D. 1981. Vegetation responses to prescribed burning in a mixed-conifer woodland, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. Loma Linda, CA: Loma Linda University. 112 p. Thesis. [64684]
  • 131. Martin, Bradford D. 1982. Vegetation responses to prescribed burning in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. In: Conrad, C. Eugene; Oechel, Walter C., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on dynamics and management of Mediterranean-type ecosystems; 1981 June 22-26; San Diego, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-58. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 617. [6088]
  • 155. Moghaddas, Jason J. 2006. A fuel treatment reduces potential fire severity and increases suppression efficiency in a Sierran mixed conifer forest. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. Fuels management--how to measure success: conference proceedings; 2006 March 28-30; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 441-449. [65172]
  • 156. Moghaddas, Jason J.; Craggs, Larry. 2007. A fuel treatment reduces fire severity and increases suppression efficiency in a mixed conifer forest. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16: 673-678. [70113]
  • 162. Mutch, Linda S.; Parsons, David J. 1998. Mixed conifer forest mortality and establishment before and after prescribed fire in Sequoia National Park, California. Forest Science. 44(3): 341-355. [29033]
  • 166. North, Malcolm; Innes, Jim; Zald, Harold. 2007. Comparison of thinning and prescribed fire restoration treatments to Sierran mixed-conifer historic conditions. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37: 331-342. [67994]
  • 182. Roy, D. Graham; Vankat, John L. 1999. Reversal of human-induced vegetation changes in Sequoia National Park, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 29(4): 399-412. [36282]
  • 209. Vale, Thomas R. 1975. Ecology and environmental issues of the Sierra Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum), now restricted to California. Environmental Conservation. 2(3): 179-188. [8776]
  • 213. van Wagtendonk, Jan W. 1974. Refined burning prescriptions for Yosemite National Park. National Park Service Occasional Paper Number 2. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 21 p. [50524]
  • 214. van Wagtendonk, Jan W. 1977. Fire management in the Yosemite mixed-conifer ecosystem. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management in Mediterranean ecosystems; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 459-463. [4895]
  • 215. van Wagtendonk, Jan W. 1983. Prescribed fire effects on forest understory mortality. In: 7th conference--Fire and forest meteorology: Proceedings; 1983 April 25-28; Fort Collins, CO. Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society: 136-138. [30327]
  • 217. van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Benedict, James M.; Sydoriak, Walter M. 1998. Fuel bed characteristics of Sierra Nevada conifers. Western Journal of Applied Forestry. 13(3): 73-84. [28859]
  • 218. van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Botti, Stephen J. 1984. Modeling behavior of prescribed fires in Yosemite National Park. Journal of Forestry. 82(8): 479-484. [50511]
  • 220. van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Sydoriak, Charisse A. 1987. Fuel accumulation rates after prescribed fires in Yosemite National Park. In: Proceedings, 9th conference on fire and forest meteorology; 1987 April 21-24; San Diego, CA. Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society: 101-105. [50518]
  • 221. van Wagtendonk, Jan Willem. 1972. Fire and fuel relationships in mixed conifer ecosystems of Yosemite National Park. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 163 p. Dissertation. [40173]
  • 233. Zald, Harold S. J.; Gray, Andrew N.; North, Malcolm; Kern, Ruth A. 2008. Initial tree regeneration responses to fire and thinning treatments in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 256(1-2): 168-179. [70485]
  • 30. Biswell, Harold H. [n.d.]. The Sierra Nevada: range of light: The forests - a closely woven vesture. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]. 19 p. On file with: Fire Sciences Laboratory, Intermountain Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Missoula, MT. [19073]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: basal area, density, fire exclusion, low-severity fire, stand-replacement fire

Incense-cedar reproduces after fire by seed blown into fire-created canopy gaps by wind. Seeds disperse from surviving parent trees and from off-site sources [50,110,197]. Two years after the October 2003 Cedar Fire in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California, thousands of incense-cedar seedlings were observed in a stand with surviving, adult incense-cedars [69]. Severe, stand-replacement fire, however, may kill most seed-bearing incense-cedars. The establishment rate of incense-cedar seedlings within fire-killed stands decreases with distance to the nearest seed source [77]. The stand-replacing portion of the Cedar Fire burned nearly 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of mixed-conifer forest. In a study of postfire regeneration 4 years later, incense-cedar seedlings were absent from all but 1 of 8 plots. The only plot with incense-cedar seedlings had surviving trees nearby [77]. Incense-cedar seedlings that establish after fire are generally suppressed in the early seral stages by shade-intolerant, fast-growing species such as ponderosa pine and sugar pine. Incense-cedar is shade tolerant, however, and can persist in the understory for many years [45].

Incense-cedar increases in the absence of fire [6,14,100,187]. Historically, frequent, low-severity fire thinned sapling and pole-sized incense-cedars in the understory of mixed-conifer forests [77]. Fire exclusion since the early 1900s has allowed continuous recruitment of incense-cedar and white fir, resulting in dense understory thickets of these shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive species in many mixed-conifer forests [16,19,69,77,109,223]. A study of 68 field quadrats in southern California mixed-conifer forest 60 years after the 1929 to 1934 California Vegetation Type Map Survey showed a 74% increase in stem density, due primarily to a 10-fold increase in incense-cedar and white fir <13 inches (33 cm) DBH [149,151]. In Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, density of pole-sized conifers has increased by 250% since the late 1920s, while old-growth trees have decreased by 40%. Incense-cedar has increased by nearly a factor of 4, largely due to the ingrowth of small trees [77]. In a Sierran mixed-conifer forest, white fir and incense-cedar were 2 to 4 times as important in the sapling layer as in the overstory [17].

Importance values (relative basal area + relative density + relative frequency) of incense-cedar and white fir in 3 size classes in Placer County Big Trees Grove, California [17]
  <3 cm DBH
(saplings)
30-40 cm DBH >40 cm DBH
(overstory trees)
incense-cedar 62 35 27
white fir 132 123 36

Although incense-cedar establishes readily in the absence of fire, it only persists in a stand if fire is absent until young trees are large enough to survive low-severity fire [100].

  • 6. Arno, Stephen F.; Fiedler, Carl E. 2005. Chapter 10: Giant sequoia/mixed conifer. In: Arno, Stephen F.; Fiedler, Carl E., eds. Mimicking nature's fire: Restoring fire-prone forests in the West. Washington, DC: Island Press: 121-130. [69062]
  • 14. Bancroft, Larry. 1979. Fire management plan: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. San Francisco, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Western Region. 190 p. [11887]
  • 16. Barbour, Michael G. 1988. Californian upland forests and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 131-164. [13880]
  • 17. Barbour, Michael G.; Burk, Jack H.; Pitts, Wanna D. 1980. Major vegetation types of North America. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Burk, Jack H.; Pitts, Wanna D. Terrestrial plant ecology. Menlo Park, CA: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc: 486-583. [45729]
  • 19. Barry, W. James; Harrison, R. Wayne. 2002. Prescribed burning in the California state park system. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; Morales, Maria; Morales, Tony, eds. Fire in California ecosystems: integrating ecology, prevention and management: Proceedings of the symposium; 1997 November 17-20; San Diego, CA. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1. Davis, CA: Association for Fire Ecology: 203-212. [46206]
  • 50. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 69. Franklin, Janet; Spears-Lebrun, Linnea A.; Deutschman, Douglas H.; Marsden, Kim. 2006. Impact of a high-intensity fire on mixed evergreen and mixed conifer forests in the Peninsular Ranges of southern California, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 235(1-3): 18-29. [65016]
  • 77. Goforth, Brett R.; Minnich, Richard A. 2008. Densification, stand-replacement wildfire, and extirpation of mixed conifer forest in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, southern California. Forest Ecology and Management. 256(1-2): 36-45. [70486]
  • 100. Husari, Susan. 1980. Fire ecology of the vegetative habitat types in the Lassen fire management planning area (Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park). In: Swanson, John R.; Johnson, Robert C.; Merrifield, Dave; Dennestan, Alan. Fire management plan: Lassen fire management planning area: Lassen Volcanic National Park-Caribou Wilderness Unit: Implementation plan. Mineral, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Lassen Volcanic National Park; Susanville, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Lassen National Forest: Appendix 3: 1-23. [21408]
  • 109. Kauffman, John Boone. 1986. The ecological response of the shrub component to prescribed burning in mixed conifer ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 235 p. Dissertation. [19559]
  • 110. Keeley, Jon E. 2006. South Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 350-390. [65557]
  • 149. Minnich, Richard A.; Barbour, Michael G.; Burk, Jack H.; Fernau, Robert F. 1995. Sixty years of change in Californian conifer forests of the San Bernardino Mountains. Conservation Biology. 9(4): 902-914. [26898]
  • 151. Minnich, Richard A.; Franco-Vizcaino, Ernesto. 1997. Mediterranean vegetation of northern Baja California. Fremontia. 25(3): 3-12. [40196]
  • 187. Sherman, Robert J.; Warren, R. Keith. 1988. Factors in Pinus ponderosa and Calocedrus decurrens mortality in Yosemite Valley, USA. Vegetatio. 77: 79-85. [9740]
  • 197. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]
  • 223. Vankat, John Lyman. 1970. Vegetation change in Sequoia National Park, California. Davis, CA: University of California. 197 p. Dissertation. [43459]
  • 45. Chang, Chi-ru. 1996. Ecosystem responses to fire and variations in FIRE REGIMES. In: Status of the Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress. Volume 2: Assessments and scientific basis for management options. Wildland Resources Center Report No. 37. Davis, CA: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources: 1071-1099. [28976]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

More info for the term: tree

The probability of incense-cedar mortality increases with increasing char height and decreases with increasing DBH [178]. Even mature incense-cedars, however, are susceptible to fire damage. The outer bark on incense-cedar is dry, stringy, and deeply furrowed. The thick bark ridges protect the inner bark and cambium from heat injury, but the cambium under the crevices between ridges is easily damaged. As a result, many mature trees in locations subject to past fires have long, narrow fire scars. The susceptibility of incense-cedar to cambial injury from fire makes it a valuable species for tree ring-based fire history studies [226]. According to a 1961 guide for marking fire-damaged timber [225], incense-cedars are likely to survive late-season fires if cambium injury is none to moderate (<25% of cambium killed, little damage above "stump height") and crown mortality is less than 45% to 55%.
  • 178. Regelbrugge, Jon C.; Conard, Susan G. 1993. Modeling tree mortality following wildfire in Pinus ponderosa forests in the central Sierra Nevada of California. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 3(3): 139-148. [22044]
  • 225. Wagener, Willis W. 1961. Guidelines for estimating the survival of fire-damaged trees in California. Misc. Pap. 60. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 11 p. [4611]
  • 226. Wagener, Willis W. 1961. Past fire incidence in Sierra Nevada forests. Journal of Forestry. 59(10): 739-747. [6841]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: severity

Young incense-cedar trees are usually killed by fire due to thin bark and flammable crowns [14,35,69,100,132,219]. They often have branches that reach to the ground [48] and are therefore likely to torch [3]. Mature incense-cedars have thick bark and are more fire resistant than young trees [40,100,132,199,211,219]. Mature trees may survive or be killed by fire, depending on the severity of the fire [110,219].

Incense-cedars growing on moist, protected sites are likely to survive fire. Incense-cedars surviving the 1991 Warner Creek Fire on the Willamette National Forest, Oregon, for example, were located on a low slope near a riparian area [175]. Following the August 1977 Marble Cone Fire in Monterey County, California, the only remaining incense-cedar stands were located in deep, moist canyons where the fire was not severe [82].

  • 219. van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann. 2006. Sierra Nevada bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 264-294. [65544]
  • 3. Agee, James K.; Wakimoto, Ronald H.; Biswell, Harold H. 1978. Fire and fuel dynamics of Sierra Nevada conifers. Forest Ecology and Management. 1: 255-265. [8782]
  • 14. Bancroft, Larry. 1979. Fire management plan: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. San Francisco, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Western Region. 190 p. [11887]
  • 35. Botti, Stephen. 1979. Natural, conditional, and prescribed fire management plan. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Yosemite National Park. 51 p. [20901]
  • 40. Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. 2000. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 257 p. [36581]
  • 69. Franklin, Janet; Spears-Lebrun, Linnea A.; Deutschman, Douglas H.; Marsden, Kim. 2006. Impact of a high-intensity fire on mixed evergreen and mixed conifer forests in the Peninsular Ranges of southern California, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 235(1-3): 18-29. [65016]
  • 82. Griffin, James R. 1978. The Marble-Cone fire ten months later. Fremontia. 6: 8-14. [19081]
  • 100. Husari, Susan. 1980. Fire ecology of the vegetative habitat types in the Lassen fire management planning area (Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park). In: Swanson, John R.; Johnson, Robert C.; Merrifield, Dave; Dennestan, Alan. Fire management plan: Lassen fire management planning area: Lassen Volcanic National Park-Caribou Wilderness Unit: Implementation plan. Mineral, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Lassen Volcanic National Park; Susanville, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Lassen National Forest: Appendix 3: 1-23. [21408]
  • 110. Keeley, Jon E. 2006. South Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 350-390. [65557]
  • 132. Martin, Robert E.; Dell, John D. 1978. Planning for prescribed burning in the Inland Northwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-76. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 67 p. [18621]
  • 175. Rapp, Valerie. 2003. New findings about old-growth forests. PNW Science Update. Issue No. 4. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 11 p. [45465]
  • 199. Swanson, John; Johnson, Robert C.; Merrifield, Dave; Dennestan, Alan. 1982. Fire management plan: Lassen fire management planning area: Lassen Volcanic National Park-Caribou Wilderness Unit: Implementation plan. Mineral, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Lassen Volcanic National Park; Susanville, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Lassen National Forest. 66 p. [21407]
  • 211. van Mantgem, Phillip; Schwartz, Mark. 2003. Bark heat resistance of small trees in California mixed conifer forests: testing some model assumptions. Forest Ecology and Management. 178: 341-352. [44714]
  • 48. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]. 1964. Knowing your trees. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 349 p. [22497]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: adventitious, crown residual colonizer, initial off-site colonizer, root crown, secondary colonizer, tree

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [197]:
Tree without adventitious buds and without a sprouting root crown
Crown residual colonizer (on site, initial community)
Initial off-site colonizer (off site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)
  • 197. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: duff, fire exclusion, fire regime, fire severity, fire-return interval, fresh, fuel, fuel moisture, ladder fuels, litter, low-severity fire, mesic, natural, prescribed fire, sclerophyllous, severity, shrubs, tree, xeric

Fire adaptations: Mature incense-cedar trees have thick bark that helps protect the tree from low-severity surface fires [7,14,110,132,179,190]. Postfire regeneration is by seeds dispersed in the first postfire year or later by parent trees that survive the fire [110] and by seeds from off-site sources [4,65,197].

FIRE REGIMES: Historic ignition sources in mixed-conifer forests included both lightning and Native Americans [170,171,229,230]. The historic fire regime in mixed-conifer forests was characterized by frequent, low- to moderate-severity surface fires [41,109,112,148,202,230]. Large, severe fires were infrequent in presettlement mixed-conifer forests of Oregon and California [111], although crown fires affecting small areas were probably common (review by [230]). There is some evidence of historic high-severity fires in mixed-conifer forests in the southern Cascade Range and Klamath Mountains [22,24,164,204]. Across the mixed-conifer zone, fire severity varied with slope, aspect, and topographic position [22].

Historic fire-return intervals in mixed-conifer forests ranged from approximately 3 to 30 years [43,74,109,112,127,165,188,202,219,229]. In giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada, Swetnam and others [201] reported mean historic fire-return intervals of 5 to 10 years and a maximum fire-return interval of 20 years. Throughout the mixed-conifer zone, mean fire-return intervals varied with site: mesic and/or sheltered sites burned less often than xeric and/or exposed sites [62,231]. Frequent, low-severity fires killed small trees, including incense-cedar, prevented accumulation of surface fuels, and maintained an open, park-like forest structure [27,40,45,147].

The historic fire regime in mixed-conifer forests favored ponderosa pine and other fire-adapted species over fire-susceptible species such as incense-cedar and white fir [35]. As a result of 19th century logging practices [121,196] and fire exclusion since the early 20th century, however, shade-tolerant incense-cedar and white fir have increased in mixed-conifer forests, often forming dense thickets in the understory [2,3,6,16,27,39,40,60,121,222]. In the absence of fire, incense-cedar and white fir have also proliferated in the understory of giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada [209].

Contemporary fires in mixed-conifer forests are less frequent, larger, and more severe than in the past [41,62,171,189,230]. The buildup of needle litter, duff, dead wood, and understory trees provide ladder fuels and result in high-severity, stand-replacement wildfires [6,27,29,40,69,109,110,122,151,209]. Because small fires are often suppressed, very large fires are more likely to occur during severe fire weather, such as Santa Ana Winds and heat waves [144]. The 1996 Ackerson Fire in Yosemite National Park, California, burned 19,000 acres (7,700 ha) of mixed-conifer forest where dense thickets of incense-cedar and white fir had developed in the understory and created conditions conducive to severe fire [122]. In October 2003, wildfires burned approximately 740,000 acres (300,000 ha) across southern California, including approximately 25,000 acres (10,000 ha) of mixed-conifer forest [77].

Many mixed-conifer forests in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in northern Baja California still experience an unmanaged fire regime. The fire regime there is characterized by moderate- to high-severity surface fires that create open, park-like stands of mature trees. Fires may be as large as 12,000 acres (5,000 ha) with relatively long (~50-year) fire-return intervals. The long fire-return interval in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir is attributed to slow fuel buildup resulting from relatively low photosynthesis rates in evergreen sclerophyllous shrubs and trees and high live fuel moisture in sprouting shrubs [144,151,152].

Incense-cedar grows in a variety of other plant communities, all of which are subject to periodic or frequent fire. For more information, please refer to FEIS reviews of dominant species and the Fire Regime Table below, which provides fire regime information on vegetation communities in which incense-cedar may occur.

Fire regime information on vegetation communities in which incense-cedar may occur. For each community, fire regime characteristics are taken from the LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models [119]. These vegetation models were developed by local experts using available literature, local data, and/or expert opinion as documented in the PDF file linked from each Potential Natural Vegetation Group listed below. Cells are blank where information is not available in the Rapid Assessment Vegetation Model.
Pacific Northwest California Great Basin    
Pacific Northwest
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northwest Woodland
Oregon white oak-ponderosa pine Replacement 16% 125 100 300
Mixed 2% 900 50  
Surface or low 81% 25 5 30
Pine savannah (ultramafic) Replacement 7% 200 100 300
Surface or low 93% 15 10 20
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Oregon white oak Replacement 3% 275    
Mixed 19% 50    
Surface or low 78% 12.5    
Northwest Forested
Douglas-fir (Willamette Valley foothills) Replacement 18% 150 100 400
Mixed 29% 90 40 150
Surface or low 53% 50 20 80
Oregon coastal tanoak Replacement 10% 250    
Mixed 90% 28 15 40
Ponderosa pine (xeric) Replacement 37% 130    
Mixed 48% 100    
Surface or low 16% 300    
Dry ponderosa pine (mesic) Replacement 5% 125    
Mixed 13% 50    
Surface or low 82% 8    
Douglas-fir-western hemlock (dry mesic) Replacement 25% 300 250 500
Mixed 75% 100 50 150
Douglas-fir-western hemlock (wet mesic) Replacement 71% 400    
Mixed 29% >1,000    
Mixed conifer (southwestern Oregon) Replacement 4% 400    
Mixed 29% 50    
Surface or low 67% 22    
California mixed evergreen (northern California) Replacement 6% 150 100 200
Mixed 29% 33 15 50
Surface or low 64% 15 5 30
Mixed conifer (eastside dry) Replacement 14% 115 70 200
Mixed 21% 75 70 175
Surface or low 64% 25 20 25
Mixed conifer (eastside mesic) Replacement 35% 200    
Mixed 47% 150    
Surface or low 18% 400    
Red fir Replacement 20% 400 150 400
Mixed 80% 100 80 130
California
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
California Shrubland
Montane chaparral Replacement 34% 95    
Mixed 66% 50    
California Woodland
California oak woodlands Replacement 8% 120    
Mixed 2% 500    
Surface or low 91% 10    
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
California Forested
California mixed evergreen Replacement 10% 140 65 700
Mixed 58% 25 10 33
Surface or low 32% 45 7  
Coast redwood Replacement 2% ≥1,000    
Surface or low 98% 20    
Mixed conifer (North Slopes) Replacement 5% 250    
Mixed 7% 200    
Surface or low 88% 15 10 40
Mixed conifer (South Slopes) Replacement 4% 200    
Mixed 16% 50    
Surface or low 80% 10    
Jeffrey pine Replacement 9% 250    
Mixed 17% 130    
Surface or low 74% 30    
Mixed evergreen-bigcone Douglas-fir (southern coastal) Replacement 29% 250    
Mixed 71% 100    
Interior white fir (northeastern California) Replacement 47% 145    
Mixed 32% 210    
Surface or low 21% 325    
Red fir-white fir Replacement 13% 200 125 500
Mixed 36% 70    
Surface or low 51% 50 15 50
Red fir-western white pine Replacement 16% 250    
Mixed 65% 60 25 80
Surface or low 19% 200    
Great Basin
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Basin Shrubland
Montane chaparral Replacement 37% 93    
Mixed 63% 54    
Great Basin Woodland
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Great Basin Forested
Interior ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 161   800
Mixed 10% 80 50 80
Surface or low 86% 9 8 10
*Fire Severities
Replacement: Any fire that causes greater than 75% top removal of a vegetation-fuel type, resulting in general replacement of existing vegetation; may or may not cause a lethal effect on the plants.
Mixed: Any fire burning more than 5% of an area that does not qualify as a replacement, surface, or low-severity fire; includes mosaic and other fires that are intermediate in effects.
Surface or low: Any fire that causes less than 25% upper layer replacement and/or removal in a vegetation-fuel class but burns 5% or more of the area [88,118].

Fuels: Fire exclusion has resulted in an increase in understory live fuels in many mixed-conifer forests where incense-cedar seedlings and saplings often form a dense under- and midstory [2,3,3,27,39,109,121]. Due to thin bark, flammable crowns [14,35,69,100,132,219], and branches that often reach to the ground [48], young incense-cedar trees are likely to torch and act as ladder fuels [3]. Incense-cedar seedlings have particularly flammable bark and foliage and are usually totally consumed by fire [7].

In a prescribed fire study in mixed-conifer forest in Yosemite National Park, 1 of the 4 fuel types studied was dominated by incense-cedar seedlings and saplings [213,221]. Prior to burning, mean fuel loads in this fuel type were [213]:

Prefire fine and heavy fuels (g/m²). Data are means [213].

Layer Incense-cedar fuel type
surface fuels* 18.0
fresh litter 292.0
weathered litter 431.5
duff 2,830.9
total fine fuel 3,572.4
heavy fuel (>2.5 cm diameter) 1,261.3
*excluding litter

Energy released by the fire in the incense-cedar fuel type was 402.1 kcal/m². Energy release was significantly higher in the incense-cedar fuel type than in types where understory trees were less dense, except where Sierra mountain misery (Chamaebatia foliolosa) dominated the understory; in that type, incense-cedar seedlings were also abundant [221]. For further information on this study, see the Research Project Summary of Van Wagtendonk's [213,214,221] study. This and other studies have demonstrated that prescribed fires can cause some reduction in understory incense-cedar fuels [109,113,130,162,182,221].

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  • 119. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2007. Rapid assessment reference condition models, [Online]. In: LANDFIRE. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab; U.S. Geological Survey; The Nature Conservancy (Producers). Available: http://www.landfire.gov/models_EW.php [2008, April 18] [66533]
  • 48. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]. 1964. Knowing your trees. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 349 p. [22497]

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Successional Status

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More info for the terms: fire exclusion, low-severity fire, succession, tree

Incense-cedar is shade tolerant [13,59,69,73,167]. Seedlings establish readily in shade, and trees persist in the shaded understory for long periods [14,86,169,179]. In a second-growth mixed-conifer forest in Tulare County, California, growth rings indicated that most of the incense-cedars with a small DBH were nearly as old as the largest individuals [28]. In the northern Oregon Cascade Range, however, incense-cedar is less tolerant of shade than western hemlock, western redcedar (Thuja plicata), and grand fir. It requires occasional disturbance to persist in these stands [7].

In many stands, incense-cedar is an important component of both the understory and the overstory [52,75]. It occupies a "subdominant" crown position in several forest types [174]. Incense-cedar attains canopy tree status by releasing in canopy openings [73,120,216]. Incense-cedar is reported as a late-seral canopy dominant in dry mixed-conifer forests of the western Oregon Cascade Range [57,73], in portions of the white fir zone in southern Oregon [73], and in some mixed-conifer forests [72,184]. Incense-cedar is also a pioneer species in many areas, including high ridges in the Umpqua River drainage and meadow communities in central and southern Oregon [73,86,154,210].

Although recruitment of incense-cedar is not fire-dependent [110], fire does influence its succession. The historic regime of frequent, low-severity fire in mixed-conifer forests favored ponderosa pine and other fire-adapted species over fire-susceptible species such as incense-cedar and white fir [14,35,86,100,219]. After decades of fire exclusion, many mixed-conifer forests in Oregon and California now have dense understories dominated by incense-cedar and other shade-tolerant species [15,16,124,169]. In the long absence of fire or other disturbance, subcanopy incense-cedars eventually grow into the overstory of mixed-conifer forests [72].

  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
  • 57. Dyrness, C. T.; Franklin, J. F.; Moir, W. H. 1974. A preliminary classification of forest communities in the central portion of the western Cascades in Oregon. Bulletin No. 4. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, Ecosystem Analysis Studies, Coniferous Forest Biome. 123 p. [8480]
  • 219. van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann. 2006. Sierra Nevada bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 264-294. [65544]
  • 13. Baker, Frederick S. 1949. A revised tolerance table. Journal of Forestry. 47: 179-181. [20405]
  • 14. Bancroft, Larry. 1979. Fire management plan: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. San Francisco, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Western Region. 190 p. [11887]
  • 15. Barbour, M.; Kelley, E.; Maloney, P.; Rizzo, D.; Royce, E.; Fites-Kaufmann, J. 2002. Present and past old-growth forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Sierra Nevada, US. Journal of Vegetation Science. 13(4): 461-472. [45869]
  • 16. Barbour, Michael G. 1988. Californian upland forests and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 131-164. [13880]
  • 28. Biswell, H. H.; Buchanan, H.; Gibbens, R. P. 1966. Ecology of the vegetation of a second-growth sequoia forest. Ecology. 47(4): 630-634. [55065]
  • 35. Botti, Stephen. 1979. Natural, conditional, and prescribed fire management plan. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Yosemite National Park. 51 p. [20901]
  • 59. Fiedler, Carl E.; Arno, Stephen F.; Harrington, Michael G. 1996. Flexible silvicultural and prescribed burning approaches for improving health of ponderosa pine forests. In: Covington, Wallace; Wagner, Pamela K., technical coordinators. Conference on adaptive ecosystem restoration and management: restoration of Cordilleran conifer landscapes of North America: Proceedings; 1996 June 6-8; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-278. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 69-74. [26926]
  • 69. Franklin, Janet; Spears-Lebrun, Linnea A.; Deutschman, Douglas H.; Marsden, Kim. 2006. Impact of a high-intensity fire on mixed evergreen and mixed conifer forests in the Peninsular Ranges of southern California, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 235(1-3): 18-29. [65016]
  • 72. Franklin, Jerry F.; Cromack, Kermit, Jr.; Denison, William; McKee, Arthur; Maser, Chris; Sedeii, James; Swanson, Fred; Juday, Glen. 1981. Ecological characteristics of old-growth Douglas-fir forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-118. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 48 p. [7551]
  • 73. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961]
  • 75. Gaurin, Alejandro; Taylor, Alan H. 2005. Drought triggered tree mortality in mixed conifer forests in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 218(1-3): 229-244. [68689]
  • 86. Hadley, Keith S. 1999. Forest history and meadow invasion at the Rigdon Meadows archaeological site, western Cascades, Oregon. Physical Geography. 20(2): 116-133. [37346]
  • 100. Husari, Susan. 1980. Fire ecology of the vegetative habitat types in the Lassen fire management planning area (Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park). In: Swanson, John R.; Johnson, Robert C.; Merrifield, Dave; Dennestan, Alan. Fire management plan: Lassen fire management planning area: Lassen Volcanic National Park-Caribou Wilderness Unit: Implementation plan. Mineral, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Lassen Volcanic National Park; Susanville, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Lassen National Forest: Appendix 3: 1-23. [21408]
  • 110. Keeley, Jon E. 2006. South Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 350-390. [65557]
  • 120. Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p. [1401]
  • 124. Lawrence, George; Biswell, Harold. 1972. Effect of forest manipulation on deer habitat in giant sequoia. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 36(2): 595-605. [41671]
  • 154. Mitchell, Rod; Moir, Will. 1976. Vegetation of the Abbott Creek Research Natural Area, Oregon. Northwest Science. 50(1): 42-58. [1664]
  • 167. Oliver, William W.; Dolph, K. Leroy. 1992. Mixed-conifer seedling growth varies in response to overstory release. Forest Ecology and Management. 48: 179-183. [17961]
  • 169. Parsons, David J. 1978. Fire and fuel accumulation in a giant sequoia forest. Journal of Forestry. 76(2): 104-105. [7250]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 179. Riegel, Gregg M.; Miller, Richard F.; Skinner, Carl N.; Smith, Sydney E. 2006. Northeastern Plateaus bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 225-263. [65541]
  • 184. Royce, E. B.; Barbour, M. G. 2001. Mediterranean climate effects. I. Conifer water use across a Sierra Nevada ecotone. American Journal of Botany. 85(5): 911-918. [49391]
  • 210. Vale, Thomas R. 1981. Tree invasion of montane meadows in Oregon. The American Midland Naturalist. 105(1): 61-69. [10515]
  • 216. van Wagtendonk, Jan W. 1985. Fire suppression effects on fuels and succession in short-fire-interval wilderness ecosystems. In: Lotan, James E.; Kilgore, Bruce M.; Fisher, William C.; Mutch, Robert W., tech. coords. Proceedings--symposium and workshop on wilderness fire; 1983 November 15-18; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-182. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 119-126. [7359]
  • 52. Curtis, Alan B. 1986. Camas Swale Research Natural Area. Supplement No. 21. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 p. [Supplement to: Franklin, Jerry F.; Hall, Frederick C.; Dyrness, C. T.; Maser, Chris. 1972. Federal research natural areas in Oregon and Washington: a guidebook for scientists and educators. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest and Range Experiment Station]. [226]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: cover, density, duff, litter, monoecious, selection, tree

Incense-cedar reproduces by seed [51,64,96,97].

Pollination: Incense-cedar is wind pollinated [174].

Breeding system: Incense-cedar is monoecious [48,174,205].

Seed production: Incense-cedar seed production varies by tree, year, and location [174]. Trees can produce up to 186,000 seeds/acre (review by [117]). In a heavy seed production year, incense-cedar may produce up to 405,000 seeds/acre [69]. There are approximately 15,000 to 16,000 seeds/lb [4,7,56].

Trees produce abundant seeds every 3 to 6 years. In some years trees produce no seeds [174], (Habeck 1992a, cited in [69]). On the Challenge Experimental Forest in Yuba County, California, incense-cedar produced 10 seed crops in 24 years. Of these, 1 crop was considered "medium to heavy", and 9 crops were considered "very light to light" [139].

Seed dispersal: Incense-cedar seeds are wind dispersed [7]. Because the seeds are light and have a large wing averaging 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length, they fall slowly (5.9 feet (1.8 m)/s in still air) and may be carried great distances by wind [4,65]. In a study of seed dissemination in north-central California, 100% of incense-cedar seeds counted fell within 200 feet (60 m) of the parent tree [137].

Seed banking: No information is available on this topic.

Germination: Incense-cedar seeds germinate well on bare soil and in light litter (review by [117]). Seeds can also germinate on a well-developed duff layer [106]. In a greenhouse experiment, incense-cedar germination was 19% on basalt-derived soil and 18% on sandstone-derived soil [153]. Although germination may be as high as 98% under controlled conditions [174], field germination rates usually vary between 20% and 40% (review by [117]). Incense-cedar germination is "improved" with cold stratification at 37 to 41 °F (3-5 °C) for 8 weeks [193]. The optimum germination temperature for incense-cedar is 68 °F (20 °C) (Barton 1930, cited in [20]).

Seedling establishment/growth: Incense-cedar seedlings can establish in shade and in heavy litter or brush cover [7,14,86,106,179]. Seedlings can also establish on mineral soil [7]. In a study of conifer regeneration after logging on the Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest, California, incense-cedar germinated best in half shade on bare soil but survived best in half shade on "medium" litter [192].

Incense-cedar seedling density after logging is variable. On the Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest, incense-cedar seedling density was 1,080 to 2,190 stems/acre 11 to 12 years after clearcutting [192]. Incense-cedar seedlings were uncommon, however, following clearcutting in Yuba County, California. The seedlings present were concentrated near the shaded edge of the clearcut [138]. On the Challenge Experimental Forest, incense-cedar seedlings were abundant 9 years after shelterwood cutting and absent after clearcutting [183].

Number of incense-cedar seedlings by cutting method 9 years after treatment [183]
Treatment Number of seedlings
Single-tree selection 44
Group selection 16
Shelterwood 470
Seedtree 67
Clearcut 0

Seedling growth is slow [12,192]. Low sunlight and heavy deer browsing are some of the factors that inhibit seedling growth [174]. Incense-cedar often reaches only 3 to 6 inches (8-15 cm) in height after 3 to 5 years. On the Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest, the average height of incense-cedar seedlings 12 years after logging was 8 inches (20 cm) [192]. On very dry sites or in dense shade, saplings may only reach 3 feet (0.9 m) in 30 years [7]. The rate of shoot elongation in incense-cedar varies in relation to moisture availability. In a greenhouse experiment, incense-cedar growth rate accelerated after watering and slowed with increasing water stress [90]. Given sufficient water, seedling growth is faster in forest openings than in shade [7].

Incense-cedar seedlings have well-developed root systems [73]. In the first growing season, roots may extend to a depth of 12 inches (30 cm) [65]. Root growth of incense-cedar seedlings after 2 years was greatest in deep, loamy sand at low elevation [194]. Lateral root length was calculated as the average length of the 4 longest lateral roots.

Average root lengths of incense-cedar grown on 3 soil types in the South Umpqua River drainage, Oregon [194].
Soil texture Soil depth (cm) Elevation (m) Taproot length (cm) Lateral root length (cm) Average top:root ratio
Loamy sand 180 210 126.5 130.3 0.45
Loam 100 1,010 79.3 43.2 0.36
Clay loam 160 850 90.3 33.0 0.25

Incense-cedar seedlings are susceptible to mortality from a variety of causes. The average survival rate of first-year incense-cedar seedlings on the Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest was 10.3%. Cutworms and drought were the greatest causes of seedling mortality [67].

Causes of mortality and percent of first-year incense-cedar seedlings killed over 8 years [67]
Frost Rodents Insect (cutworms) Fungi Heat Drought Misc.
2.4 4.8 52.0 3.1 0.0 19.8 6.2

Vegetative regeneration: Incense-cedar does not reproduce vegetatively [40,110].

  • 7. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
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  • 4. Anderson, Arthur B.; Zavarin, Eugene. 1965. The influence of extractives on tree properties. III. Incense cedar (Libocedrus decurrens Torrey). Journal of the Institute of Wood Science. 15: 3-24. [67456]
  • 12. Baker, Frederick S. 1945. Effects of shade on coniferous seedlings grown in nutrient solutions. Journal of Forestry. 43: 428-435. [9935]
  • 14. Bancroft, Larry. 1979. Fire management plan: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. San Francisco, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Western Region. 190 p. [11887]
  • 20. Baskin, Carol C.; Baskin, Jerry M. 2001. Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 666 p. [60775]
  • 40. Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. 2000. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 257 p. [36581]
  • 51. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L. 1972. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 1. New York: Hafner Publishing Company, Inc. 270 p. [717]
  • 65. Fowells, H. A., compiler. 1965. Silvics of forest trees of the United States. Agric. Handb. 271. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 762 p. [12442]
  • 67. Fowells, H. A.; Stark, N. B. 1965. Natural regeneration in relation to environment in the mixed conifer forest type of California. Res. Pap. PSW-24. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 14 p. [15642]
  • 69. Franklin, Janet; Spears-Lebrun, Linnea A.; Deutschman, Douglas H.; Marsden, Kim. 2006. Impact of a high-intensity fire on mixed evergreen and mixed conifer forests in the Peninsular Ranges of southern California, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 235(1-3): 18-29. [65016]
  • 73. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961]
  • 86. Hadley, Keith S. 1999. Forest history and meadow invasion at the Rigdon Meadows archaeological site, western Cascades, Oregon. Physical Geography. 20(2): 116-133. [37346]
  • 90. Harry, David E. 1987. Shoot elongation and growth plasticity in incense-cedar. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 17: 484-489. [23340]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 106. Kauffman, J. Boone. 1990. Ecological relationships of vegetation and fire in Pacific Northwest forests. In: Walstad, J.; Radosevich, S. R.; Sandberg, D. V., eds. Natural and prescribed fire in Pacific Northwest forests. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press: 39-52. [22930]
  • 110. Keeley, Jon E. 2006. South Coast bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 350-390. [65557]
  • 117. Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Sierra Nevada mixed conifers. In: Burns, Russell M., technical compiler. Silvicultural systems for the major forest types of the United States. Agric. Handb. No. 44. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 44-47. [12758]
  • 137. McDonald, Philip M. 1980. Seed dissemination in small clearcuttings in north-central California. Res. Pap. PSW-150. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 5 p. [7913]
  • 138. McDonald, Philip M. 1983. Clearcutting and natural regeneration...management implications for the northern Sierra Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-70. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 11 p. [15953]
  • 139. McDonald, Philip M. 1992. Estimating seed crops of conifer and hardwood species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 22: 832-838. [19130]
  • 153. Minore, Don. 1984. Germination and growth of Douglas-fir and incense-cedar seedlings on two southwestern Oregon soils. Tree Planters' Notes. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 3-6. [67440]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 179. Riegel, Gregg M.; Miller, Richard F.; Skinner, Carl N.; Smith, Sydney E. 2006. Northeastern Plateaus bioregion. In: Sugihara, Neil G.; van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Shaffer, Kevin E.; Fites-Kaufman, Joann; Thode, Andrea E., eds. Fire in California's ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 225-263. [65541]
  • 183. Roy, Douglass F. 1979. Shelterwood cuttings in California and Oregon. In: The shelterwood regeneration method: Proceedings of the national silviculture workshop; 1979 September 17-21; Charleston, SC. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Division of Timber Management: 143-165. [11665]
  • 192. Stark, N. 1965. Natural regeneration of Sierra Nevada mixed conifers after logging. Journal of Forestry. 63(6): 456-457, 460-461. [67447]
  • 193. Stead, S.; Post, R. L. 1989. Plants for the Lake Tahoe Basin: Incense cedar. Fact Sheet 89-56. Incline Village, NV: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Western Area Cooperative Extension; Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 2 p. [23662]
  • 194. Stein, William I. 1978. Naturally developed seedling roots of five western conifers. In: van Eerden, E.; Kinghorn, J. M., eds. Proceedings of the root form of planted trees symposium; Joint Report No. 8; Victoria, BC; 1978 May 16-19. Victoria, BC: British Columbia Ministry of Forests; Canadian Forest Service: 28-35. [67445]
  • 48. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]. 1964. Knowing your trees. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 349 p. [22497]
  • 56. Dumroese, R. K.; Landis, T. D.; Wenny, D. L. 1998. Appendices. In: Raising forest tree seedlings at home: simple methods for growing conifers of the Pacific Northwest from seeds. Contribution No. 860, [Online]. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Idaho Forest, Wildlife, and Range Experiment Station (Producer). Available: http://www.uidaho.edu/seedlings/howtogrow/manual-menu.htm [2004, June 17]. [48212]
  • 64. Flora of North America Association. 2008. Flora of North America: The flora, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: http://www.fna.org/FNA. [36990]
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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the term: phanerophyte

RAUNKIAER [176] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte
  • 176. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Reaction to Competition

Incense-cedar has been rated as more  shade tolerant (22) than the associated pines and Douglas-fir (16), and  perhaps less tolerant than white fir and grand fir. In the seedling stage,  incense-cedar can endure dense shade, especially in cool, moist  environments (17). But for full development from sapling stage through  maturity, it requires more light (22).

    Incense-cedar shows good response to release. Much of the extremely slow  growth of young reproduction results from suppression or browsing. When  released, seedlings grow rapidly in height. But because height growth  usually is slower than that of associated species of comparable age,  incense-cedar usually is a secondary species in the final stand (22).  Although shaded out, lower branches are slow to shed, even in dense  stands. Many dead branches must be removed, therefore, if clear lumber is  to be produced in rotations of 80 to 120 years.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Rooting Habit

From seedling stage through maturity,  incense-cedar has a more spreading and extensive rooting habit than many  of its associates. This extensive, well-developed root system allows it to  survive droughty sites and resist windthrow. Root branching of seedlings  in an artificially controlled environment was inversely proportional to  growth rate (33). Rapidly growing roots produced few laterals, but when  growth of these roots temporarily ceased, laterals were produced in   profusion. When growth resumed, laterals again were widely spaced,  resulting in a node-internode pattern.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Incense-cedar has a long growing season that ranges from 91 to 146 days [66,174]. The growing period for incense-cedar at the California Forest and Range Experiment Station in the Sierra Nevada was longer and ended later for incense-cedar than for any of 5 other conifer species studied [66]. Like other members of the cypress family, incense-cedar does not form overwintering buds. Its shoot tips stop growing in the fall and resume growth in the spring [66,90,120]. Seasonal radial growth starts in the spring before height growth [174]. At the California Forest and Range Experiment Station, the 8-year average start date of height growth was 24 May, and the 7-year average start date of radial growth was 15 April [66]. Male cones open and shed pollen in late winter and early spring [7,48,120,174]. Female cones develop in 1 year, maturing by late summer or early fall [48,96,120,174,193]. Seed dispersal begins in late August at low elevations and in October at high elevations and continues into the winter months [65]. On the Challenge Experimental Forest, dissemination of incense-cedar seeds began on 15 September [139].
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  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 65. Fowells, H. A., compiler. 1965. Silvics of forest trees of the United States. Agric. Handb. 271. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 762 p. [12442]
  • 66. Fowells, H. A. 1941. The period of seasonal growth of ponderosa pine and associated species. Journal of Forestry. 39: 601-608. [12690]
  • 90. Harry, David E. 1987. Shoot elongation and growth plasticity in incense-cedar. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 17: 484-489. [23340]
  • 120. Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p. [1401]
  • 139. McDonald, Philip M. 1992. Estimating seed crops of conifer and hardwood species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 22: 832-838. [19130]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 193. Stead, S.; Post, R. L. 1989. Plants for the Lake Tahoe Basin: Incense cedar. Fact Sheet 89-56. Incline Village, NV: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Western Area Cooperative Extension; Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 2 p. [23662]
  • 48. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]. 1964. Knowing your trees. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 349 p. [22497]

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Life Cycle

Persistence: EVERGREEN

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Incense-cedar does not reproduce  vegetatively in nature, but can be stimulated to do so in the greenhouse  (18).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

Germination may be doubled by stratifying  seeds at 3° to 5° C (37° to 41° F) for 30- to 60-day  periods, although results are not always consistent. Germination under  controlled conditions may be as much as 98 percent but usually averages 20  to 40 percent (28). These values are similar to those found under  field conditions (22). Germination is epigeal (28). in  nature, incense-cedar germinates on a wide range of surface conditions.  Although survival is best under partial shade (22), incense-cedar  seedlings survive over a broader array of site conditions than do most  conifers (22,26).

    Initial rates of root growth are slow to moderate in incense-cedar  compared with other species. In the first season, primary roots may extend  to a depth of 30 cm (12 in), compared with as much as twice that length  for ponderosa pine and sugar pine (22). Incense-cedar, therefore, is  particularly susceptible to drought on exposed sites during the first  year. Root systems develop rapidly, however, and by the end of the second  year, lateral and tap root lengths compare well with ponderosa pine (29).  In an artificially controlled study (33), seedling roots showed a peak of  growth in the spring, with rates averaging 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) per  day. Growth slowed in midsummer, but increased again in fall, averaging 1  to 3 mm (0.04 to 0.12 in) per day between October and December. Activity  cycles varied for individual roots. Not all roots were active at any one  time.

    Incense-cedar lacks the distinct spring flush typical of many temperate  conifers. Successive years' growth is not easily seen along the stem.  Instead, elongation of several leaf internodes near the shoot tip in fall  is arrested over winter and is not completed until the following spring.  Hence, shoot growth is a more or less continuous process characterized by  changes in tempo that are influenced primarily by current environment (9).

    On the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada, CA, at  an elevation of 1600 m (5,250 ft), seasonal height growth of incense-cedar  started an average of 11 days later than ponderosa pine, was similar to  sugar pine, but averaged 31 days earlier than white fir (22). At Challenge  Experimental Forest, 1° 30' of latitude farther north in the Sierra  Nevada and 810 m (2,660 ft) lower in elevation, sugar pine and ponderosa  pine began height growth 3 to 5 weeks sooner than incense-cedar, and white  fir began a week later (21). On the Stanislaus National Forest, the height  growth period for incense-cedar lasts an average of 91 days, a period  greater than for any other native species. At Challenge Experimental  Forest it lasted 112 days but stopped sooner than the height growth period  for ponderosa or sugar pine.

    Seasonal radial growth starts before height growth. On the Stanislaus  National Forest, growth begins about April 15, some 2 weeks later than at  Challenge. At both locations, however, incense-cedar begins radial growth  at about the same time as ponderosa and sugar pine, but 2 weeks earlier  than white fir. At both locations, the period of diameter growth for  incense-cedar is second only to that for ponderosa pine, lasting 136 days  at Stanislaus and 146 days at Challenge (21,22).

    Naturally regenerated incense-cedar grows slowly because of low sunlight  or heavy browsing, often taking 3 to 5 years to reach a height of 8 to 15  cm (3 to 6 in). Although increased sunlight favors height growth, poor  initial root development of naturally regenerated incense-cedar and  preferential browsing by deer may mask its ability to respond to increased  light, compared with other species (table 2).

    Table 2- Height growth of conifer seedlings relative to  ponderosa pine under several silvicultural systems          Silvicultural system  Ponderosa pine  Incense- 
cedar   Sugar  
pine  White 
fir  Douglas- 
fir            Selection¹                  Single-tree  1.00  1.80  2.00  2.80  1.40        Group  1.00  0.90  1.50  1.50  1.50      Shelterwood¹  1.00  0.70  0.96  1.07  0.78      U.A.C.²  1.00  0.22  0.70  0.25  -      Clearcut                  Natural¹  1.00  0.00  0.89  0.65  0.68        Planted³  1.00  0.71  0.56  0.41  0.55      ¹Nine-year-old  naturally regenerated seedlings, Challenge Experimental Forest, CA.  Group selection openings were 9 to 27 m (30 to 90 ft) in diameter (13). 
²Average of all natural seedlings regenerating in 12 years  after Unit Area Control cuttings, Stanislaus National Forest, CA (26). 
³Six-year-old seedlings from local seed, Challenge  Experimental Forest, CA (21).        Incense-cedar raised from local seed and planted as 1-0 stock in a fresh  clearcut at Challenge Experimental. Forest, however, grew faster than  three other species, and at 6 years from planting was second only to  ponderosa pine in both height and standing biomass (21). Apparently, the  well-developed root systems of planted seedlings provide enough water  uptake to sustain vigor, which helps seedlings resist browsing pressure.

    Established incense-cedar seedlings are remarkably drought tolerant. The  species has been ranked more tolerant than sugar pine or ponderosa pine,  Douglas-fir, or grand fir when grown in pumice, and second only to  ponderosa pine when grown in sand (19). The tolerance was attributed to a  complete occupancy of the soil mass by incense-cedar roots. In a  controlled experiment, artificial dew more than doubled the survival  period of incense-cedar seedlings grown in soils dried to permanent  wilting point (31). Dew helped incense-cedar tolerate drought better than  ponderosa pine and Jeffrey pine, although pines were more tolerant when  dew was withheld. At Challenge Experimental Forest, predawn measurements  of xylem moisture tension in September showed that incense-cedar,  ponderosa pine, and sugar pine were similar to each other and  significantly lower in water stress than Douglas-fir or white-fir (21).

    Although drought may kill many first-year seedlings, particularly on  compacted landings and skid trails, insects usually account for greater  losses. Cutworms destroy many seedlings. Rodents are generally of only  minor importance. During a 5-year period, 53 percent of the 1- to  2-month-old incense-cedar seedlings on Stanislaus National Forest plots  were destroyed by cutworms (Noctuidae larvae) (22). The  seed-to-seedling ratio on four cutover plots varied from 20:1 to 355:1  (22). Seedling tap roots may be damaged by root rot, but recovery can be  rapid and tops may show no sign of attack (27).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

Although incense-cedars are  considered prolific seed producers, medium to heavy seed crops are borne  at intervals usually averaging 3 to 6 years. Sometimes, cone crops are  absent entirely (22). In a southwestern. Oregon study, medium to  abundant crops appeared in only 3 years, and light or no crops were found  in 12 of the 15-year reporting period (28). As many as 961,500  seeds per hectare (389,100/acre) may fall during heavy production years  (22). Geographic variability in cone and seed production is great  (23). Seed dispersal begins in late August at the lowest elevations and in  October at higher levels. Although seedfall may extend into winter months,  seed soundness seems unrelated to time of dispersal (table 1).

    Table 1- Incense-cedar seedfall as measured from traps  on the Stanislaus Natoinal Forest, CA (22)           
Measurement date  Percent of all  
seed trapped  Percent sound  
seed            1937          October 6  11    3      October 27  36  37      November 11  53  60      1940          October 11  32  54      October 29  34  38      November 13  34    8              Incense-cedar seeds average 33,100/kg (15,000/lb) and vary from 14,100  to 63,900/kg (6,400 to 29,000/lb). Averages for collections from the  northern and central part of incense-cedar's range vary from 29,800 to  44,500/kg (13,500 to 20,200/lb) (28). Because they are light in  weight and have a large wing (averaging 2.5 cm (1 in) in length and nearly  one-third that in width), seeds of incense-cedar fall slowly (1.8 m/s, or  5.9 ft/s, in still air) (22), and are carried great distances by  wind.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

Yellow-green, pollen-bearing strobili  are borne terminally on twigs as early as September and reach a length of  about 6 mm (0.25 in) at pollen shed in late winter to early spring.  Incense-cedar is monoecious; both male and female flowers may be borne on  the same twig. Cones, inconspicuous in spring, are pendent and 20 to 40 mm  (0.8 to 1.5 in) long when they mature in late summer. They are composed of  three pairs of opposing leathery scales. Two of the six scales become   greatly enlarged and form a cover around the two scales that bear the  seeds. Each seed has two wings of unequal length. Embryos have two  cotyledons.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

Incense-cedar varies greatly in size in  different parts of its range. In the Coast Ranges and in southern  California, the largest trees generally are from 18 to 24 m (60 to 80 ft)  tall and 90 to 120 cm (36 to 48 in) in d.b.h. In the Sierra Nevada,  incense-cedars frequently grow to heights near 46 m (150 ft) with d.b.h.'s  near 210 cm (84 in). The largest tree measured was 375 cm (148 in) in  d.b.h. (1). A tree 69 m (225 ft) tall was reported from southern Oregon.  At high elevations, especially on dry, exposed sites, trees tend to be  small and scrubby.

    Incense-cedar is long-lived. Large trees often are more than 500 years  old (22). The oldest recorded age is 542 years for a tree only 130 cm (51  in) in d.b.h.

    Growth rates of young mixed conifer stands in the central Sierra Nevada  were investigated recently (3). In stands with basal areas of 23 to 69 m²/ha  (100 to 300 ft²/acre), periodic annual increment of incense-cedar was  0.81 cm (0.32 in) in d.b.h. and 0.3 m (1.0 ft) in height at age 40. By age  90, periodic annual increment had declined to 0.36 cm (0.14 in) for d.b.h.  and 0.2 m (0.6 ft) for height.

    Incense-cedar often grows more slowly than associated conifers and is  therefore a major component of the intermediate and suppressed crown  classes. Seldom does it contribute more than 5 to 10 percent of the stand  volume (22). At Blodgett Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada, for  example, volume growth of incense-cedar was consistently slower than its  associates, regardless of stand density or tree size (4). In stands of  moderate density, incense-cedar grew in volume at an annual rate of 1.6  percent, compounded. The average rate for all species was 2.3 percent. On  poor sites, however, open-grown incense-cedars as large as 60 cm (24 in)  in d.b.h. can exceed all other species, except white fir, in basal area  growth (22). On better sites, incense-cedars generally fall behind and are  forced to endure more and more shade. Increasing shade further slows their  growth to the point of bare existence. On such trees, 16 annual rings per  centimeter (40/in) of diameter are not uncommon (12).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

A few horticultural varieties are recognized. In southern California,  especially in southwestern San Bernardino County, trees with conspicuously  narrower crowns and more spire-like silhouettes than those of the Sierra  Nevada are common. European experience with incense-cedar as an ornamental  suggests that the columnar trees from southern California may be more  sensitive to cold than are the trees from northerly sources (11).

    The genetic structure of incense-cedar was studied in stands that occupy  different elevations and aspects within each of three locations in the  southern Cascades and Sierra Nevada (8). Genetic variation was assessed  using two approaches: measuring characteristics of seedling growth and  estimating allele and genotypic frequencies. Conclusions were similar for  both approaches. Genetic diversity was as great among local stands as  among regions, and no consistent pattern could be related to elevational  or aspect differences. Growth in height and branch length was less for  southern sources. Striking differences among provenances, however, like  those found for Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, and white fir, were not  apparent.

    No hybrids of incense-cedar are known.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Calocedrus decurrens

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Calocedrus decurrens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is too widespread and numerous to be threatened with extinction, despite historical decline and risks to smaller southern subpopulations.
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Information on state-level protected status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Distributed from Mount Hood, Oregon, through the mountains of California and western Nevada into Baja California. It attains its best development at elevations of 5000 to 7000 ft above sea level in the Sierra Nevada Mts. of Central California.

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

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Population

Population
This species is a numerous component in the mixed coniferous forests of the Pacific West of the USA, generally occurring in a broad belt in the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada. In southern California and Baja California the subpopulations become smaller and much more scattered, restricted as they are to the upper altitudes of the highest (and often isolated) mountains.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Historically logging has had a negative impact on the AOO of this species, especially where the natural forest has not come back due to changes in land use since European settlement. It is very difficult to quantify this past decline, while in areas where the forest itself was not removed or drastically altered (plantation) is has since regenerated. In southern California and Baja California isolated subpopulations could be threatened by fires if these are too intense and hot. A theoretical threat there is climate change, if this would mean expansion of desert-like habitat up the mountains, while there is no higher refuge available for the trees of the conifer forests.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is present in many protected areas throughout its range, including several famous national parks where any exploitation is ruled out indefinitely by law.
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Management considerations

More info for the terms: tree, wildfire

Incense-cedar is highly susceptible to pocket dry rot, particularly in the mild,
western portions of incense-cedar's range [42,227]. Pocket dry rot is most prevalent in
trees >150 years old and commonly enters the tree through fire scars and the
wounds caused by broken branches [227]. An estimated 81% of pocket dry rot infections enter through fire scars
[36]. In parts of the Sierra Nevada, 75% to 100% of mature trees are infected (Bega
1978, cited in [174]). In a 1958 Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture publication, Wagener and Bega
[227] estimated that pocket dry rot resulted in
more than 36% cull of the standing volume of incense-cedar in California. Cull
may be as high as 77% for "overmature" trees [174]. During logging operations in the late 1800s in Sierra Nevada
mixed-conifer forests, many incense-cedars were left standing as seed trees due
to pocket dry rot that made their
lumber virtually worthless. These trees self-seeded, resulting in a dense
understory of incense-cedar after pines resumed canopy dominance in cutover
stands. Wildfire exclusion after the turn of the century further favored the
incense-cedars, allowing them to persist in dense understories [121,196].

Incense-cedar is susceptible to a variety of other pathogens including annosus
root disease (Heterobasidion annosum) [55,121,129,180], the trunk rot fungus Oligoporus amarus
[15], incense-cedar rust (Gymnosporangium libocedri) [15,168],
and the western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis) [61].
Incense-cedar mistletoe (Phoradendron libocedri) is common in incense-cedar crowns [76].
Incense-cedar is occasionally infested with mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus
ponderosae), but the beetles rarely produce broods in incense-cedar [94].
Incense-cedar is less susceptible to ozone-induced injury than other western
conifers [143]. In the San Bernardino Mountains, areas of mixed-conifer forest
may eventually shift in dominance to incense-cedar as
ozone-susceptible ponderosa pine declines (McBride 1985, cited in [83]).
Information on the effects of herbicides on incense-cedar is provided in Conard and Emmingham [49].
  • 15. Barbour, M.; Kelley, E.; Maloney, P.; Rizzo, D.; Royce, E.; Fites-Kaufmann, J. 2002. Present and past old-growth forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Sierra Nevada, US. Journal of Vegetation Science. 13(4): 461-472. [45869]
  • 121. Lanner, Ronald M. 1999. Conifers of California. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 274 p. [30288]
  • 174. Powers, Robert F.; Oliver, William W. 1990. Libocedrus decurrens Torr. incense-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 173-180. [13382]
  • 196. Stephens, Scott L. 2000. Mixed conifer and red fir forest structure and uses in 1899 from the central and northern Sierra Nevada, California. Madrono. 47(1): 43-52. [37012]
  • 36. Boyce, J. S. 1921. Fire scars and decay. The Timberman. 22(7): 37. [34387]
  • 42. Cahill, James M.; Pong, W. Y.; Weyermann, D. L. 1987. Pecky rot in incense-cedar: evaluation of five scaling methods. Res. Note PNW-RN-457. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 10 p. [67443]
  • 49. Conard, Susan G.; Emmingham, W. H. 1984. Herbicides for forest brush control in southwestern Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, College of Forestry. 7 p. [10817]
  • 55. DeNitto, Gregg A. 1989. Characteristics of annosus root disease in the Pacific Southwest. In: Otrosina, William J.; Scharpf, Robert F., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on research and management of annosus root disease (Heterobasidion annosum) in western North America; 1989 April 18-21; Monterey, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-116. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 43-47. [11321]
  • 61. Finck, K. E.; Shrimpton, G. M.; Summers, D. W. 1990. Insect pests in reforestation. In: Lavender, D. P.; Parish, R.; Johnson, C. M.; Montgomery, G.; Vyse, A.; Willis, R. A.; Winston, D., eds. Regenerating British Columbia's forests. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press: 279-301. [10721]
  • 76. Geils, B. W.; Wiens, D.; Hawksworth, F. G. 2002. Phoradendron in Mexico and the United States. In: Geils, Brian W.; Cibrian Tovar, Jose; Moody, Benjamin, tech. coords. Mistletoes of North American conifers. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-98. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 19-28. [42523]
  • 83. Grigal, D. F. 1988. Long-range impacts of air pollution on terrestrial resources. In: Agee, James K.; Johnson, Darryll R., eds. Ecosystem management for parks and wilderness. Institute of Forest Resources Contribution No. 65. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press: 118-134. [23381]
  • 94. Heinrichs, Jay. 1983. The lodgepole killer. Journal of Forestry. 81(5): 289-292. [16459]
  • 129. Marosy, Melissa; Parmeter, John R., Jr. 1989. The incidence and impact of Heterobasidion annosum on pine and incense-cedar in California forests. In: Otrosina, William J.; Scharpf, Robert F., tech. coords. Proceedings of the symposium on research and management of annosus root disease (Heterobasidion annosum) in western North America; 1989 April 18-21; Monterey, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-116. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 78-81. [11326]
  • 143. Miller, P. R.; Longbotham, G. J.; Longbotham, C. R. 1983. Sensitivity of selected western conifers to ozone. Plant Disease. 67: 1113-1115. [19641]
  • 168. Parks, Catherine G.; Flanagan, Paul T. 2001. Dwarf mistletoes (Arceuthobium spp.), rust diseases, and stem decays in eastern Oregon and Washington. Northwest Science. 75(Special Issue): 31-37. [67455]
  • 180. Rippy, Raini C.; Stewart, Jane E.; Zambino, Paul J.; Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Tirocke, Joanne M.; Kim, Mee-Sook; Thies, Walter G. 2005. Root diseases in coniferous forests of the Inland West: potential implications of fuels treatments. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-141. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 32 p. [60773]
  • 227. Wagener, Willis W.; Bega, Robert V. 1958. Heart rots of incense-cedar. Forest Pest Leaflet 30. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 7 p. [67457]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Incense cedar has aromatic wood that resists insects and decay. Practically no pests attack the tree, but in the forests where it is native, mature tree trunk are often infested with dry rot of the heartwood (Wyman 1965).

In its younger years, especially when growing strongly in the open, incense cedar forms an almost geometrically perfect pyramid, its lower branches nearly touching the ground, and the whole mass so densely overlapping that it sheds both rain and snow (Lemmon 1952). In old age, after battling the elements for perhaps a thousand years, it is far more irregular and picturesque, often with several summits trying to replace the old one destroyed long before lightening or a great wind (Ibid.).

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: FIBER, Building materials/timber

Comments: Most of the timber is employed locally for building purposes, posts, and poles. Most of the finest grade is used as a substitute for juniper in making lead pencils (Record and Hess 1943).

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Other uses and values

More info for the terms: softwood, tree

Incense-cedar is an important commercial softwood species [42,93]. Although standing trees are highly susceptible to pocket dry rot (Polyporus amarus), products manufactured from incense-cedar wood are extremely durable and decay resistant [42]. Incense-cedar wood is used for many products including lumber, fence posts, railroad ties, venetian blinds, greenhouse benches, siding, decking, cedar chests, and shingles [51,64,103,121]. It is the major source of pencil stock in the United States [64,103]. Incense-cedar is also widely grown as an ornamental tree [64,97,114].

Incense-cedar was used by the Cahuilla of California to construct conical-shaped bark houses that were used for temporary shelter during acorn gathering times in late fall. In some areas, incense-cedar slabs were used in more permanent house construction [21]. Incense-cedar leaves were used by Native Americans of Mendocino County, California, in the process of leaching acorn meal and in a decoction for relieving stomach upset. Small limbs were sometimes used for bows [47].

  • 51. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L. 1972. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 1. New York: Hafner Publishing Company, Inc. 270 p. [717]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 114. Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 252 p. [9980]
  • 121. Lanner, Ronald M. 1999. Conifers of California. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 274 p. [30288]
  • 21. Bean, Lowell John; Saubel, Katherine Siva. 1972. Telmalpakh: Cahuilla Indian knowledge and usage of plants. Banning, CA: Malki Museum. 225 p. [35898]
  • 42. Cahill, James M.; Pong, W. Y.; Weyermann, D. L. 1987. Pecky rot in incense-cedar: evaluation of five scaling methods. Res. Note PNW-RN-457. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 10 p. [67443]
  • 93. Hayes, G. L. 1959. Forest and forest-land problems of southwestern Oregon. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 54 p. [8595]
  • 103. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 47. Chesnut, V. K. 1902. Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium. [Washington, DC]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Botany. 7(3): 295-408. [54917]
  • 64. Flora of North America Association. 2008. Flora of North America: The flora, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: http://www.fna.org/FNA. [36990]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, density, tree

Mule deer in California and Nevada browse incense-cedar [99,124,125,181]. A variety of insectivorous birds forage on incense-cedar [37,157,158,159]. White-headed woodpeckers, brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches, and golden-crowned kinglets are among the species that exhibit the greatest use of incense-cedar [157,159]. Brown creepers forage for arthropods on the surface of incense-cedar bark more than that of any other tree species in mixed-conifer forests on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. They forage significantly more (P<0.05) on incense-cedar in January and February than in the spring and summer months [1].

Palatability/nutritional value: Incense-cedar seeds contain a pungent resin that makes them unpalatable to rodents [4]. Incense-cedar seeds ranked 7th out of 8 conifer species in order of preference by rodents in the Redwood Mountains giant sequoia grove in California [91]. However, incense-cedar seeds are reportedly a preferred food of dusky-footed woodrats in mixed-conifer forests of Lassen County, California [141].

Cover value: A variety of raptors roost and/or nest in large incense-cedars. The majority of known northern and California spotted owl sites are in mixed-conifer forest [44,79,224]. In the San Bernardino Mountains, California, spotted owl nests were found in 3 incense-cedar trees averaging 46 inches (117 cm) DBH, 131 feet (40 m) tall, and 193 years old. Average nest height was 83 feet (25 m) above ground [85]. Great gray owls are also common in mixed-conifer forest [212,232] and are known to nest in large, broken-topped incense-cedars [23]. In a Klamath County, Oregon, mixed-conifer forest, incense-cedar accounted for 3% of 76 bald eagle roost trees [54].

Small incense-cedar trees create a dense understory that provides cover for small birds, particularly during winter [121,157]. Experimental reduction of incense-cedar density resulted in decreases in the numbers of many bird species; approximately 150 incense-cedar trees <20 cm DBH/ha were required to maintain bird abundance and diversity [157]. Although retention of small incense-cedars is generally contrary to current forest management objectives in mixed-conifer forests, Morrison and others [158] recommend maintaining a high diversity of tree species and size classes throughout the mixed-conifer zone of the Sierra Nevada in order to maintain diverse and abundant bird communities.

  • 85. Gutierrez, R. J.; Verner, Jared; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Noon, Barry R.; Steger, George N.; Call, Douglas R.; LaHaye, William S.; Bingham, Bruce B.; Senser, John S. 1992. Habitat relations of the California spotted owl. In: Verner, Jared; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Noon, Barry R.; Gutierrez, R. J.; Gould, Gordon I., Jr.; Beck, Thomas W., tech. coords. The California spotted owl: a technical assessment of its current status. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-133. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 79-98. [28198]
  • 99. Horton, Jerome S. 1949. Trees and shrubs for erosion control of southern California mountains. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station; California Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. 72 p. [10689]
  • 4. Anderson, Arthur B.; Zavarin, Eugene. 1965. The influence of extractives on tree properties. III. Incense cedar (Libocedrus decurrens Torrey). Journal of the Institute of Wood Science. 15: 3-24. [67456]
  • 121. Lanner, Ronald M. 1999. Conifers of California. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 274 p. [30288]
  • 124. Lawrence, George; Biswell, Harold. 1972. Effect of forest manipulation on deer habitat in giant sequoia. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 36(2): 595-605. [41671]
  • 1. Adams, Elizabeth M.; Morrison, Michael L. 1993. Effects of forest stand structure and composition on red-breasted nuthatches and brown creepers. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 57(3): 616-629. [22133]
  • 23. Beck, Thomas W.; Smith, Randall A. 1987. Nesting chronology of the great gray owl at an artificial nest site in the Sierra Nevada. Journal of Raptor Research. 21(3): 116-118. [64882]
  • 37. Brennan, Leonard A.; Morrison, Michael L.; Dahlsten, Donald L. 2000. Comparative foraging dynamics of chestnut-backed and mountain chickadees in the western Sierra Nevada. Northwestern Naturalist. 81(3): 129-147. [65515]
  • 44. Carey, Andrew B.; Maguire, Christine C.; Biswell, Brian L.; Wilson, Todd M. 1999. Distribution and abundance of Neotoma in western Oregon and Washington. Northwest Science. 73(2): 65-80. [65292]
  • 54. DellaSalla, Dominick A.; Anthony, Robert G.; Spies, Thomas A.; Engel, Kathleen A. 1998. Management of bald eagle communal roosts in fire-adapted mixed-conifer forests. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 62(1): 322-333. [28597]
  • 79. Gould, Gordon I., Jr. 1977. Distribution of the spotted owl in California. Western Birds. 8(4): 131-146. [69017]
  • 91. Harvey, H. Thomas; Shellhammer, Howard S.; Stecker, Ronald E. 1980. Giant sequoia ecology: Fire and reproduction. Scientific Monograph Series No. 12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 182 p. [6587]
  • 125. Leach, Howard R. 1956. Food habits of the Great Basin deer herds of California. California Fish and Game. 38: 243-308. [3502]
  • 141. McEachern, Mary Brooke; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Efferson, Charles M.; Van Vuren, Dirk H. 2006. Evidence for local specialization in a generalist mammalian herbivore, Neotoma fuscipes. Oikos. 113: 440-448. [62617]
  • 157. Morrison, Michael L.; Dahlsten, Donald L.; Tait, Susan M.; Heald, Robert C.; Milne, Kathleen; Rowney, David L. 1989. Bird foraging on incense-cedar and incense-cedar scale during winter in California. Res. Pap. PSW-195. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 10 p. [23365]
  • 158. Morrison, Michael L.; Heald, Robert C.; Dahlsten, Donald L. 1990. Can incense-cedar be managed for birds? Western Journal of Applied Forestry. 5(1): 28-30. [8390]
  • 159. Morrison, Michale L.; With, Kimberly A.; Timossi, Irene C.; Block, Williams M.; Milne, Kathleeen A. 1987. Foraging behavior of bark-foraging birds in the Sierra Nevada. The Condor. 89(1): 201-204. [65468]
  • 181. Robinson, Cyril S. 1937. Plants eaten by California mule deer on the Los Padres National Forest. Journal of Forestry. 35(3): 285-292. [51853]
  • 212. van Riper, Charles, III; van Wagtendonk, Jan. 2006. Home range characteristics of great gray owls in Yosemite National Park, California. Journal of Raptor Research. 40(2): 130-141. [64897]
  • 224. Verner, Jared; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Noon, Barry R; Gutierrez, R. J.; Gould, Gordon I., Jr.; Beck, Thomas W. 1992. Assessment of the current status of the California spotted owl, with recommendations for management. In: Verner, Jared; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Noon, Barry R.; Gutierrez, R. J.; Gould, Gordon I., Jr.; Beck, Thomas W., tech. coords. The California spotted owl: a technical assessment of its current status. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-133. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 3-26. [28195]
  • 232. Winter, Jon. 1986. Status, distribution and ecology of the great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) in California. San Francisco, CA: San Francisco State University. 121 p. Thesis. [64886]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Incense-cedar is used for erosion control along road cuts and along streams between 2,000 and 6,000 feet (600-1,800 m) elevation in southern California [99]. Incense-cedar seedlings planted in the spring were more successful than fall plantings in an area disturbed by landslides and avalanches near Lake Tahoe, California [18]. Information on propagation of incense-cedar is provided in Kruckeberg [114].
  • 99. Horton, Jerome S. 1949. Trees and shrubs for erosion control of southern California mountains. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station; California Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. 72 p. [10689]
  • 114. Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 252 p. [9980]
  • 18. Barry, W. James. 1985. Ecosystem restoration in the California state park system. In: Rieger, John P.; Steele, Bobbie A., eds. Proceedings of the native plant revegetation symposium; 1984 November 15; San Diego, CA. San Diego, CA: California Native Plant Society: 22-33. [3341]

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Special Uses

The outstanding durability and resistance to decay of lumber from  incense-cedar heartwood make it ideal for exterior use where moisture is  present. This wood gives long service with little maintenance in such uses  as mud sills, window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer  construction, greenhouse benches, fencing, poles, and trellises (12).  Incense-cedar also is used extensively for exterior siding because it is  dimensionally stable and holds paint well, in addition to being durable.

    Rich color, sound knots, and aromatic fragrance make the wood popular  for interior paneling and woodwork. At present, pecky cedar (boards sawn  from trees infected with pocket dry rot) is in demand for paneling and  backyard fencing, thereby making a market for poor quality grades that  formerly were not utilized.

    Incense-cedar is ideally suited to the manufacture of pencils because it  is soft, easily whittled, and has straight grain (12). Much of the  top-grade lumber produced goes to this use.

    Incense-cedar is cultivated widely as an ornamental tree both within its  natural range and as an introduced species. The tree grows well in western  and central Europe (11) and in the Eastern United States as far north as  Massachusetts.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Robert F. Powers

Source: Silvics of North America

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Uses

Medicinal: A decoction of the leaves was used to treat stomach troubles (Moerman 1998). Steam from an infusion of incense cedar bark was inhaled in the treatment of colds (Ibid.). The bark was used to make baskets and the twigs were used to make brooms.

Economic: Incense cedar has aromatic wood that resists decay and insects. The wood is used as window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, mudsills, fencing, greenhouse benches, and poles. It is also widely used for interior and exterior siding. The soft and pliable wood makes it one of the few species suitable for making pencils.

Landscaping & Wildlife: Incense cedar is an attractive landscape tree that is excellent for large areas and formal plantings (Dirr 1990). This tree is a splendid park and large home-grounds species in climates suitable for them (Lemmon 1952). It is browsed moderately by mule deer. Small mammals eat the seeds. This species is primarily used by wildlife species for cover.

Agroforestry: Calocedrus decurrens is used in tree strips for windbreaks. It is planted and managed to protect livestock, enhance production, and control soil erosion. Windbreaks can help communities with harsh winter conditions better handle the impact of winter storms and reduce home heating costs during the winter months. Incense cedar is also widely planted in the mountains for erosion control.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Calocedrus decurrens

Calocedrus decurrens (California incense cedar; syn. Libocedrus decurrens Torr.) is a species of conifer native to western North America, with the bulk of the range in the United States, from central western Oregon through most of California and the extreme west of Nevada, and also a short distance into northwest Mexico in northern Baja California. It grows at altitudes of 50–2900 m. It is the most widely known species in the genus, and is often simply called 'incense cedar' without the regional qualifier.[1][2][3]

Description[edit]

C. decurrens is a large tree, typically reaching heights of 40–60 m and a trunk diameter of up to 3 m (maxima, 69 m tall and 4.5 m diameter[4]), and with a broad conic crown of spreading branches. The bark is orange-brown weathering grayish, smooth at first, becoming fissured and exfoliating in long strips on the lower trunk on old trees. The foliage is produced in flattened sprays with scale-like leaves 2–15 mm long; they are arranged in opposite decussate pairs, with the successive pairs closely then distantly spaced, so forming apparent whorls of four; the facial pairs are flat, with the lateral pairs folded over their bases. The leaves are bright green on both sides of the shoots with only inconspicuous stomata.[3] The foliage, when crushed, gives off an aroma somewhat akin to shoe-polish.

The seed cones are 20–35 mm long, pale green to yellow, with four (rarely six) scales arranged in opposite decussate pairs; the outer pair of scales each bears two winged seeds, the inner pair(s) usually being sterile and fused together in a flat plate. The cones turn orange to yellow-brown when mature about 8 months after pollination. The pollen cones are 6–8 mm long.[3]

Ecology[edit]

This tree is the preferred host of a wood wasp, Syntexis libocedrii a living fossil species which lays its eggs in the smoldering wood immediately after a forest fire.[2] The tree is also host to Incense-cedar mistletoe (Phoradendron libocedri), a parasitic plant which can often be found hanging from its branches.[5]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

The wood is the primary material for wooden pencils, because it is soft and tends to sharpen easily without forming splinters.

It is also a popular ornamental tree, valued for its drought tolerance. It is also grown particularly in cool summer climates (notably eastern Great Britain and elsewhere in northern Europe, and in parts of the northern Pacific Northwest of North America) for its very narrow columnar crown. This narrow crown is not restricted to selected cultivars but is an unexplained consequence of the climatic conditions in these areas, and is not shown by trees in the wild; many other species in the Cupressaceae show similar effects to a smaller degree.[6]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]

The Concow tribe calls the plant hö’-tä (Konkow language).[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flora of North America: Calocedrus decurrens
  2. ^ a b U.S. Forest Service Silvics Manual: Libocedrus decurrens
  3. ^ a b c Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4
  4. ^ Gymnosperm Database: Calocedrus decurrens
  5. ^ Jepson Manual Treatment: Phoradendron libocedri
  6. ^ Mitchell, A. F. (1996). Alan Mitchell's Trees of Britain. Collins ISBN 0-00-219972-6
  7. ^ RHS Plant Selector Calocedrus decurrens AGM / RHS Gardening
  8. ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 404. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 

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Notes

Comments

Incense-cedar is an important commercial softwood species. Its wood, exceptionally resistant to decay and highly durable when exposed to weather, is manufactured into many products, including lumber, pencil stock (for which it is the major United States source), fence posts, shakes, and landscape timbers, which are attractive because of punky spots resulting from fungus. The tree is widely grown as a handsome ornamental.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

Libocedrus decurrens Torr. [161]
  • 161. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]

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The scientific name of incense-cedar is Calocedrus decurrens
(Torr.) Florin (Cupressaceae) [51,58,64,96,97,102,103].
  • 96. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 51. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L. 1972. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 1. New York: Hafner Publishing Company, Inc. 270 p. [717]
  • 58. Farjon, Aljos. 1998. World checklist and bibliography of conifers. 2nd ed. Kew, England: The Royal Botanic Gardens. 309 p. [61059]
  • 97. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 103. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 64. Flora of North America Association. 2008. Flora of North America: The flora, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: http://www.fna.org/FNA. [36990]
  • 102. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Common Names

COMMON NAME:

incense-cedar

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