Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Arabic (4) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

Pinaceae -- Pine family

    Robert J. Laacke

    Red fir (Abies magnifica) dominates large areas of high country  that are a major source of water, especially in California. For this  reason it has long been an important forest tree. Only recently has red  fir assumed significance as an unusually productive source of wood (17).  Relatively little detailed, coherent silvical information is available,  however.

    North of Mount Lassen in northern California, red fir shows  morphological and perhaps ecological characteristics that have led to its  common designation as Shasta red fir (A. magnifica var. shastensis)  (8,9,22). Here, the varieties are referred to collectively as red fir  and are identified only when differences warrant.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Abies magnifica, known as red fir, California red fir, or Shasta red fir, is a large, evergreen, coniferous tree in the Pinaceae (pine) family native to the Northwestern U.S., in areas with cool to cold moist climates. One of the two largest species of firs in North America, it typically reaches heights of 46–55 meters (150–180 feet), and can be as tall as 70 meters, with usual diameters of 1.25–1.75 meters, but as large as 3 meters.

Red fir dominates large areas of high country that are a major source of water, especially in California. For this reason it has long been an important forest tree. Only recently has red fir assumed significance as a productive source of general, all-purpose construction-grade wood used extensively as solid framing material and plywood; it also has some use as pulpwood in paper manufacturing. High-quality young red fir, known as "silvertip fir" from the waxy sheen on their dense, dark-green needles, bring top prices as Christmas trees. These trees are cultured in natural stands and plantations where early growth is slower than most species used as Christmas trees, and some individuals are cultured for as long as 11 years before harvest.

Red fir grows in California and southern Oregon, where it is limited to high elevations. Its range extends from the central and southern Cascade Mountains of Oregon southward to Lake County in the Coast Ranges of northwest California and Kern County in the southern Sierra Nevada. Red fir is found outside these states only along the western border of Nevada, a few kilometers east of Mount Rose in Washoe County. North of Mount Lassen in northern California, red fir shows morphological and ecological characteristics that have led to its common designation as a variety or subspecies, Shasta red fir (A. magnifica var. shastensis), in some references.

Detailed and exact wildlife censuses for large areas do not exist and any listing of species numbers associated with a major forest type is an approximation. There are, however, about 111 species of birds found in the red fir forest type of California, 55 of which are associated primarily with mature forests. Perhaps because of the dense nature of most true fir forests, there are only about 52 species of mammals commonly present and only 6 of those are generally associated with mature forests.

(Excerpted and edited from Lacke 1990)

Public Domain

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Abies magnifica, known as red fir, California red fir, or Shasta red fir, is a large, evergreen, coniferous tree in the Pinaceae (pine) family native to the Northwestern U.S. One of the two largest species of firs in North America, it typically reaches heights of 46–55 meters (150–180 feet), and can be as tall as 70 meters, with usual diameters of 1.25–1.75 meters, but as large as 3 meters.

Red fir dominates large areas of high country that are a major source of water, especially in California. For this reason it has long been an important forest tree. Only recently has red fir assumed significance as a productive source of general, all-purpose construction-grade wood used extensively as solid framing material and plywood; it also has some use as pulpwood in paper manufacturing. High-quality young red fir, known as "silvertip fir" from the waxy sheen on their dense, dark-green needles, bring top prices as Christmas trees. These trees are cultured in natural stands and plantations where early growth is slower than most species used as Christmas trees, and some individuals are cultured for as long as 11 years before harvest.

Red fir grows in California and southern Oregon, where it is limited to high elevations. Its range extends from the central and southern Cascade Mountains of Oregon southward to Lake County in the Coast Ranges of northwest California and Kern County in the southern Sierra Nevada. Red fir is found outside these states only along the western border of Nevada, a few kilometers east of Mount Rose in Washoe County. North of Mount Lassen in northern California, red fir shows morphological and ecological characteristics that have led to its common designation as a variety or subspecies, Shasta red fir (A. magnifica var. shastensis), in some references.

Detailed and exact wildlife censuses for large areas do not exist and any listing of species numbers associated with a major forest type is an approximation. There are, however, about 111 species of birds found in the red fir forest type of California, 55 of which are associated primarily with mature forests. Perhaps because of the dense nature of most true fir forests, there are only about 52 species of mammals commonly present and only 6 of those are generally associated with mature forests.

Public Domain

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Occurrence in North America

     CA  NV  OR

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

California red fir occurs in the Sierra Nevada from Kern County,
California, north to the southern Cascade Range of Oregon and in the
Coast Ranges from Lake County, California, north to the Klamath Ranges
[43,46,49,54].  California red fir is also found in extreme western
Nevada [46].

Shasta red fir occurs in the southern Sierra Nevada and in the Klamath
Ranges, Siskiyou Mountains and the Cascade Range of northern California
and southern Oregon [1,25,28].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1984. Timberline: Mountain and        arctic forest frontiers. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 304 p.  [339]
  • 25.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1964. Ecology and silviculture of the true        fir-hemlock forests of the Pacific Northwest. In: Proceedings, Society        of American Foresters meeting; 1964 September 27 - October 1; Denver,        CO. Washington, D.C.: Society of American Foresters: 28-32.  [7920]
  • 28.  Franklin, J. F.; Sorensen, F. C.; Campbell, R. K. 1978. Summarization of        the ecology and genetics of the noble and California red fir complex.        In: Proc IUFRO Jt. Meet. Work. Parties; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 46.  Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native        and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p.  [2952]
  • 49.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 54.  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]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    4  Sierra Mountains

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

In California and southern Oregon, red fir is limited to high  elevations. Its range extends from the central and southern Cascade  Mountains of Oregon southward to Lake County in the Coast Ranges of  northwest California and Kern County in the southern Sierra Nevada, from  about latitude 43° 35' to 36° 50' N. Red fir is found outside  these states only along the western border of Nevada, a few kilometers  east of Mount Rose in Washoe County (8,9,22).

    Lower elevational limits begin at 1620 to 1800 m (5,300 to 5,900 ft) in  the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains and increase toward the south, reaching  to 2130 m (7,000 ft) in the southern Sierra Nevada. Upper elevation limits  also increase to the south, beginning at 2010 to 2190 m (6,600 to 7,200  ft) in the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains, and reaching 2740 m (9,000 ft)  in the southern Sierra Nevada. Red fir can be found growing at lower  elevations in canyons and other protected places where significant cold  air drainage keeps soil and air temperatures low (31). In the California  Coast Ranges, Shasta red fir is found generally between 1400 and 1830 m  (4,600 to 6,000 ft) (8,9,33).

     
- The native range of California red fir.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Description

California red fir is a native, long-lived conifer that ranges between
66 and 198 feet (20-60 m) in height [26,32,45,49,70].  Mature trees can
grow to a d.b.h. of 8.5 feet (2.6 m) [1].  The bark of young trees is
thin but becomes thick and roughly fissured with age [12,45,49].  The
needles are 0.8 to 1.4 inches (2.0-3.5 cm) long [49].  Cones are upright
on the upper branches and are up to 9 inches (23 cm) long [43,45].
California red fir has short branches and a narrow crown [35,49].

California red fir has a high frost tolerance.  California red and
Shasta red fir have a low drought tolerance [23,34,44].
 
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1984. Timberline: Mountain and        arctic forest frontiers. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 304 p.  [339]
  • 12.  Burcham, L. T. 1959. Planned burning as a management practice for        California wild lands. In: Proceedings, 59th annual meeting of the        Society of American Foresters: 180-185.  [17037]
  • 23.  Filip, Gregory M.; Schmitt, Craig L. 1990. Rx for Abies: silvicultural        options for diseased firs in Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep.        PNW-GTR-252. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 34 p.  [15181]
  • 26.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1974. Abies Mill. fir. In: Schopmeyer, C. S.,        technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.        Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 168-183.  [7566]
  • 32.  Harrington, Constance A.; Murray, Marshall D. 1982. Patterns of height        growth in western true firs. In: Oliver, Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid        M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and management of true fir in the        Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February 24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA.        Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, College of        Forest Resources: 209-214.  [6867]
  • 34.  Hinckley, T. M.; Teskey, R. O.; Waring, R. H.; Morikawa, Y. 1983. The        water relations of true firs. In: Oliver, Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid        M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and management of true fir in the        Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February 24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA.        Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, College of        Forest Resources: 85-92.  [6765]
  • 35.  Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial        natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department        of Fish and Game. 156 p.  [12756]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 45.  Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history.        Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p.  [1401]
  • 49.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 70.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982.        National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names.        SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Tree, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Primary plant stem smooth, Tree with bark smooth, Tree with bark rough or scaly, Young shoots 3-dimensional, Buds not resinous, Leaves needle-like, Leaves alternate, Needle-like leaf margins entire (use magnification), Leaf apex obtuse, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves blue-green, Leaves white-striped, Needle-like leaves flat, Needle-like leaves not twisted, Needle-like leaf habit erect, Needle-like leaf habit drooping, Needle-like leaves per fascicle mostly 1, Needle-like leaf sheath early deciduous, Needle-like leaf sheath persistent, 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 red, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds unequally winged, Seed wings prominent, Seed wings narrower than body, Seed wings equal to or broader than body.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

Trees to 57m; trunk to 2.5m diam.; crown narrowly conic. Bark grayish, thin, with age thickening and becoming deeply furrowed with ridges being often 4 times wider than furrows, plates reddish. Branches ascending in upper crown, descending in lower crown; twigs opposite to whorled, light yellow to ± tan, reddish pubescent for 1--2 years. Buds hidden by leaves or exposed, usually dark brown, ovoid, small, not resinous or with resin drop near tip, apex rounded; basal scales short, broad, equilaterally triangular, densely pubescent, not resinous, margins entire to crenate, apex sharp-pointed. Leaves 2--3.7cm ´ 2mm, mostly 1-ranked, flexible, the proximal portion often appressed to twig for 2--3mm (best seen on abaxial surface of twig), distal portion divergent; cross section flat, with or without weak groove adaxially toward leaf base, or cross section 3--4-sided on fertile branches; odor camphorlike; abaxial surface with 2 glaucous bands, each band with 4--5 stomatal rows; adaxial surface blue-green to silvery blue, with single glaucous band that may divide into 2 toward leaf base, band with (8--)10(--13) stomatal rows at midleaf; apex rounded or, on fertile branches, somewhat pointed; resin canals small, near margins and abaxial epidermal layer. Pollen cones at pollination ± purple or reddish brown. Seed cones oblong-cylindric, 15--20 ´ 7--10cm, purple at first but becoming yellowish brown or greenish brown, sessile, apex round; scales ca. 3 ´ 4cm, pubescent; bracts included to exserted and reflexed (Shasta red fir) over scales. Seeds 15 ´ 6mm, body dark reddish brown; wing about as long as body, rose; cotyledons 7--8. 2 n =24.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Abies magnifica occurs in the Canadian Life Zone of high mountains, between 1,400 m and 2,700 m a.s.l. (to 3,000 m in the south of its range); commonly on soils of granitic (Sierra Nevada) or basaltic (Cascade Range) origin, which have been altered by glaciation and are usually slightly acid. The climate is characterized by short, warm and dry summers and long, cold winters with much snow. Annual precipitation varies between 750 mm and 1,500 mm (80 % as snow). This species forms pure stands in some places, but more often it is a constituent of the mixed coniferous forest type with e.g. Pinus spp., Abies concolor, A. procera, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Calocedrus decurrens, Juniperus occidentalis, and at higher elevations Abies lasiocarpa and Tsuga mertensiana subsp. grandicona. Common shrubs are e.g. Ceanothus cordulatus, Chrysolepis sempervirens and Arctostaphylos nevadensis.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: lichens, shrubs

California red fir grows best in areas with cold, wet winters and warm,
dry summers [45,50,54].  The growing season is short, with snow often on
the ground in July [6,7,35,48].  Annual precipitation ranges from 33 to
64 inches (820-1,600 mm), most of which occurs between October and March
as snow [6,7,43,54].  Snowpack is usually between 8 and 13 feet (2.5-4
m) [6,54].

California red fir commonly grows on soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 6.1
[50].  It occurs on deep sandy loams and shallower soils of moraines
[5].  California red fir will sometimes grow on nutrient-poor Entisols
or Inceptisols but usually grows on soils that are more nutrient-rich,
coarse, and well-drained but moist [7,35,65].  California red fir is
sensitive to poorly drained soils [44].  Shasta red fir is more common
on northern aspects but occurs equally on all slopes [4].

Shasta red fir occupies the elevational zone below mountain hemlock and
above white fir [1,3,24,27].  The elevations at which California red fir
occurs in different parts of its range are listed below [6,43,44,50]:

Location                          feet              meters
Klamath and Coast ranges       4,500-5,500        1,370-1,675
Siskiyou Mountains
  and southern Cascade Range   4,590-5,900        1,400-1,800
northern Sierra Nevada         5,940-7,920        1,800-2,400
southern Sierra Nevada         7,000-9,000        2,200-3,000

Canopy associates of California or Shasta red fir not mentioned in
Distribution and Occurrence are giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron
giganteum), Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), sugar pine (Pinus
lambertiana), western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis), Brewer spruce
(Picea breweriana), Washoe pine (Pinus washoensis), noble fir, and
foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana) [1,2,4,35,53].  Understory species
differ greatly in different habitats [14].  Associated shrubs include
thinleaf huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), currant (Ribes spp.),
twinflower (Linnaea borealis), mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos
oreophilius), huckleberry oak (Quercus vaccinifolia), Sadler oak
(Quercus sadleriana), and pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos nevadensis)
[4,43,50,55].  Associated herbaceous species include sedges (Carex
spp.), lupine (Lupinus spp.), beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), Brewer's
goldaster (Chrysopsis breweri), lousewort (Pedicularis semibarbata),
hairstem gayophytum (Gayophytum ramosissimum), whitevein pyrola (Pyrola
picta), and monardella (Monardella spp.) [4,50,55].  Lichens (Evernia
and Vulpina spp.) also occur in California red fir forests [50].
  • 1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1984. Timberline: Mountain and        arctic forest frontiers. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 304 p.  [339]
  • 14.  Clary, Warren P. 1983. Overstory-understory relationships: spruce-fir        forests. In: Bartlett, E. T.; Betters, David R., eds.        Overstory-understory relationships in Western forests. Western Regional        Research Publication No. 1. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University        Experiment Station: 9-12.  [3310]
  • 2.  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]
  • 24.  Fiske, John N.; DeBell, Dean S. 1989. Silviculture of Pacific coast        forests. In: Burns, Russell M., compiler. The scientific basis for        silvicultural and management decisions in the National Forest System.        Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-55. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 59-78.  [10246]
  • 27.  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]
  • 3.  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]
  • 35.  Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial        natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department        of Fish and Game. 156 p.  [12756]
  • 4.  Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of        the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p.  [9351]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 45.  Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history.        Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p.  [1401]
  • 48.  Mitchell, Rod; Moir, Will. 1976. Vegetation of the Abbott Creek Research        Natural Area, Oregon. Northwest Science. 50(1): 42-58.  [1664]
  • 5.  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]
  • 50.  Oosting, H. J.; Billings, W. D. 1943. The red fir forest of the Sierra        Nevada: Abietum magnificae. Ecological Monographs. 13(3): 260-273.        [11521]
  • 53.  Rundel, Philip W. 1971. Community structure and stability in the giant        sequoia groves of the Sierra Nevada, California. American Midland        Naturalist. 85(2): 478-492.  [10504]
  • 54.  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]
  • 55.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]
  • 6.  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]
  • 65.  Taylor, Alan H. 1990. Habitat segregation and regeneration patterns of        red fir and mountain hemlock in ecotonal forests, Lassen Volcanic        National Park, California. Physical Geography. 11(1): 36-48.  [17657]
  • 7.  Barbour, M.G.; Berg, N. H.; Kittel, G. F.; Kunz, M. E. 1991. Snowpack        and the distribution of a major vegetation ecotone in the Sierra Nevada        of California. Journal of Biogeography. 18(2): 141-149.  [14874]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: mesic, natural

California red fir occurs in pure, dense forests between the lower
montane white fir (Abies concolor) or mixed-conifer forests and the
upper montane or subalpine lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. murrayana)
and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) forests [5,6,7,54,68].  In the
upper montane coniferous forests, California red fir is an overstory
dominant on mesic sites [5,6].  Canopies can be open or closed, and
understory vegetation is variable but generally sparse [54,55].

California red fir or Shasta red fir is listed as overstory dominants in
the following published classifications:

Preliminary plant associations of the southern Oregon Cascade Mountain
  Province [2]
Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province [4]
Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington [27]
Terrestrial natural communities of California [35]
Vegetation of the Abbott Creek Research Natural Area, Oregon [48]
Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges [54]
Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Klamath Mountains [55]
Vascular plant communities of California [68].
  • 2.  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]
  • 27.  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]
  • 35.  Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial        natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department        of Fish and Game. 156 p.  [12756]
  • 4.  Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of        the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p.  [9351]
  • 48.  Mitchell, Rod; Moir, Will. 1976. Vegetation of the Abbott Creek Research        Natural Area, Oregon. Northwest Science. 50(1): 42-58.  [1664]
  • 5.  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]
  • 54.  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]
  • 55.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]
  • 6.  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]
  • 68.  Thorne, Robert F. 1976. The vascular plant communities of California.        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: 1-31.  [3289]
  • 7.  Barbour, M.G.; Berg, N. H.; Kittel, G. F.; Kunz, M. E. 1991. Snowpack        and the distribution of a major vegetation ecotone in the Sierra Nevada        of California. Journal of Biogeography. 18(2): 141-149.  [14874]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES28  Western hardwoods

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

   205  Mountain hemlock
   207  Red fir
   211  White fir
   217  Aspen
   218  Lodgepole pine
   243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
   245  Pacific ponderosa pine
   247  Jeffrey pine
   256  California mixed subalpine

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K004  Fir - hemlock forest
   K005  Mixed conifer forest
   K007  Red fir forest
   K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
   K029  California mixed evergreen forest

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Soils and Topography

Red fir is found at high elevations on mountain ranges that continue in  active formation. The soils on which it grows are therefore young and fall  into four orders, Entisols, Inceptisols, Alfisols, and Spodosols. They are  classified as mesic to frigid or cryic, with mean annual soil temperatures  (at 50 cm; 20 in) between 0° and 15° C (32° and 59°  F). All soils but the Alfisols tend to be light colored, shallow, with  minimal or no horizon development, and low in cation exchange capacity and  base saturation. Most are classified in some degree as xeric because of  the long summer dry period. Horizon development is relatively poor even in  the mesic Alfisols. The Spodosols are developed poorly without a true  leached A horizon because of inadequate warm season precipitation. In the  Cascades, red fir is occasionally found on pumice deposits overlying old  soils.

    Decomposition of needles and other litter tends to be slow in the wet  winter, dry summer climate. Organic material collects on the surface where  it forms dense black mats from 2 to 8 cm (0.75 to 3.0 in) or more thick  (8).

    Tree growth and stand development are best on the deeper soils  associated with glacial deposits or Pleistocene lake beds. On steep slopes  where soils are shallowest, stands are open and tree growth poor. On  moderate to gentle slopes and flat ground where water does not collect,  stands are closed with no understory or herbaceous vegetation (8).

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Climate

Climate for the red fir zone can be classified in general as cool and  moist to cold and moist. It is relatively mild for high-elevation forests,  with summer temperatures only occasionally exceeding 29° C (85°  F) and winter temperatures rarely below -29° C (-20° F). One  notable climatic feature is a 4- to 5-month summer dry spell. Between  April (or May) and October, precipitation from scattered thunder-showers  is negligible. Almost all precipitation occurs between October and March,  with 80 percent or more as snow. Snowpack can exceed 4 m (13 ft) in the  Sierra Nevada, and snow can accumulate to more than 2 m (7 ft) in Oregon  and northwestern California (9,39). Total precipitation ranges from 750 to  1500 mm (30 to 60 in).

    Best growth appears to be in areas that receive between 750 and 1250 mm  (30 and 49 in) of precipitation. Growth studies on Swain Mountain  Experimental Forest, in the southern Cascades of California, indicate that  California red fir grew best in years with unusually low precipitation (as  low as 38 percent of normal) (29). Low precipitation there usually means  early snowmelt and a longer growing season.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat & Distribution

Mixed coniferous forests; 1400--2700m; Calif., Nev., Oreg.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Associated Forest Cover

California red fir is a climax species nearly everywhere it is found. It  shares climax status with white fir at the upper limit of the white fir  zone, although at any given place California white fir (Abies concolor  var. lowiana) or red fir regeneration may predominate (9,33).

    Throughout the Sierra Nevada, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) occupies  wet sites within red fir forests. In the south, dry sites are shared with  sugar pine (P. lambertiana), mountain hemlock (Tsuga  mertensiana), or incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens). Scattered  individuals of Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi), sugar pine, and  western white pine (P. monticola) are found in northern Sierra  Nevada forests and as far south as Yosemite in the southern Sierra Nevada  (32,33).

    In the Coast Ranges of California, Shasta red fir frequently shares  dominance with noble fir (Abies procera) and is mixed with  mountain hemlock and Brewer spruce (Picea breweriana) at  elevations generally above 1850 m (6,100 ft). On high elevation  serpentine soils, Shasta red fir is occasionally found with the more  common foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana), western white pine, and  Jeffrey pine (33).

    From the southern Cascades north into Oregon and west into the  California Coast Ranges, Shasta red fir begins to lose its clear climax  status, perhaps as a result of taking on characteristics of noble fir,  which is never a climax species in the northern Cascades (9). Shasta red  fir is replaced successionally by white fir at the lower elevations and by  mountain hemlock at the upper. Major associated species include  Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), white  fir, western white pine, lodgepole pine, and mountain hemlock (9,33).

    Red fir is found in seven forest cover types of western North America.  It is in pure stands or as a major component in Red Fir (Society of  American Foresters Type 207) (7), and also in the following types:  Mountain Hemlock (Type 205), White Fir (Type 211), Lodgepole Pine (Type  218), Pacific Douglas-Fir (Type 229), Sierra Nevada Mixed Conifer (Type  243), and California Mixed Subalpine (Type 256).

    Brush and lesser vegetation are varied. Dense red fir stands on good  quality sites usually have no understory vegetation. In openings resulting  from tree mortality or logging, and under open stands on poor sites, many  species are possible depending on location (9,20,42). Currant or  gooseberry (Ribes spp.), pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos  nevadensis), and mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus) are  the most commonly found brush species (9,20,21). Large brush fields can  dominate areas after severe fire. Fir eventually will reclaim these sites  as the climax species. With some combinations of low site quality, brush  species, and resident rodent population, however, reforestation can be  effectively delayed for decades. Small upland meadows are common in red  fir forests and provide habitats for a wide variety of sedges, grasses,  and forbs.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Red fir is subject to damage from abiotic  agents, pathogens, insects, and animals. Little is known about the  tolerance of red fir to most abiotic aspects of the environment. Initial  survival of seedlings seems to be better under partial shade although  growth is best in full sunlight. The early advantage of shade may be  related to protection from temperatures in exposed duff and litter that  can frequently exceed 70° C (160° F) early in the growing season  (14).

    Red fir appears to be more sensitive to drought than white fir or the  associated pines (26), even though over most of its range there may be no  precipitation for as long as 5 months during the summer. A tendency of red  fir to grow poorly where snowmelt water collects, as on mountain meadows,  indicates a moderate sensitivity to high soil moisture content during the  growing season (8).

    Frosts can occur any month of the year, but damage to red fir is minimal  and significant only on Christmas trees. Red fir is more frost resistant  than white fir and about equal to Jeffrey pine (19).

    The importance of mechanical injury increases as intensive management of  dense young red fir stands increases. Studies in Oregon and California  show that conventional logging techniques used for thinning or partial  cutting damaged 22 to 50 percent of the residual stand. Seventy-five  percent of these wounds were at ground level where infection by a  decay-causing fungus is almost certain (2). Volume losses by final harvest  can be considerable, although the amount varies greatly from place to  place, perhaps due to type and frequency of wounds (2).

    Among pathogens, one parasitic plant causes major damage. Red fir dwarf  mistletoe (Arceuthobium abietinum f. sp. magnificae) is common  throughout the range of red fir and infests 40 percent of the stands in  California (34). Heavily infected trees suffer significant growth losses  and are subject to attack by Cytospora abietis, a fungus that  kills branches infected by dwarf mistletoe and further reduces growth.  Because of reduced vigor, infected trees are more susceptible to bark  beetle attack and other diseases (34). Heart rots, entering through open  mistletoe stem cankers, increase volume loss directly and mortality  indirectly through stem breakage. Recent unpublished research suggests  that losses from bole infection may be of minimal consequence in  well-managed second-growth true fir stands (35).

    Changes in wood structure in large stem bulges resulting from dwarf  mistletoe infections reduce strength of lumber produced. Current lumber  grading practices, however, are not adequate to identify the affected wood  (40).

    Dwarf mistletoe need not be a problem in young managed stands because  four factors make damage subject to silvicultural control. Red fir can be  infected only by red fir dwarf mistletoe which, in turn, can parasitize  only one other fir, noble fir. Small trees (less than 1 m [3.3 ft] tall)  are essentially free from infection even in infested stands. Infected  young firs, free from new overstory infection, outgrow the spread of  mistletoe if height growth is at least 0.3 m (1 ft) per year, and losses  from bole infections are expected to be minimal in managed, young-growth  stands (34,35). Silvicultural practices that can significantly reduce the  impact of dwarf mistletoe include removal of an infected overstory before  natural regeneration exceeds 1 m (3.3 ft) in height, and stocking control  to promote rapid height growth. Different species can be favored in the  overstory and understory of mixed stands during thinnings or partial  cutting. Sanitation of stand edges adjacent to regeneration areas and  planting a non-host species (such as white fir adjacent to a red fir  stand) appropriate to the site can prevent infection from overstory trees.

    Fir broom rust (Melampsorella caryophyllacearum) is abundant in  the central and southern Sierra Nevada. This disease primarily affects  branches but can infect trunks. It can cause spike tops and loss of crown  and provide an entry court for heart rots. Fir broom rust can occasionally  kill trees, especially seedlings and saplings (4).

    Annosus root rot (Heterobasidion annosum) is present in all  conifer stands and may become a major disease problem as red fir is  increasingly and intensively managed. Infection is spread from tree to  tree by root contact, forming disease pockets in the stand that slowly  expand. Infection of freshly cut stumps or new wounds by aerially spread  spores creates new infection centers that do not become evident until 10  to 20 years after infection. Annosus root rot does not usually kill red  fir directly, but root damage results in considerable moisture stress and  loss of vigor. The loss of vigor predisposes the tree to attack by bark  beetles, notably Scolytus spp. Direct damage resulting from  infection is restricted primarily to heart rot of butt and major roots,  leading to windthrow and stem breakage (4). Some degree of control is  available through use of borax to prevent infection by Heterobasidion  annosum in freshly cut stumps.

    Other heart rots of major significance include the yellow cap fungus  (Pholiota limonella) and Indian paint fungus (Echinodontium  tinctorium). These fungi cause major losses in old-growth trees. Young  trees are generally not affected because they have so little heartwood.  Yellow cap fungus tends to be a more severe disease in California, and  Indian paint fungus is more severe in Oregon. Yellow cap fungus generally  enters through basal wounds. Rot can extend 15 to 18 m (50 to 60 ft) up  the trunk. Indian paint fungus probably infects red fir in the same manner  as it does western hemlock (2). The fungus enters through branchlets less  than 2 mm (0.08 in) in diameter and can remain dormant for as long as 50  years before being activated by injury or stress (6). Dead or broken tops  are other points of entry for Indian paint fungus. The resulting rot is  located in the upper bole and may extend to the ground. Open dwarf  mistletoe cankers serve as entry courts for several decay fungi. None of  the heart rots kill directly but predispose the tree to stem breakage. No  effective control is known for decay fungi, except possibly Heterobasidion  annosum, other than avoiding as much root, stem, and top damage as  possible during stand management (4).

    Insects from five genera attack red fir cones and seeds. Losses can be  significant. Cone maggots (Earomyia spp.) cause the most damage.  Several chalcids (Megastigmus spp.) and cone moths (Barbara  spp. and Eucosma spp.) can occasionally cause heavy local  damage to seed crops, especially in poor seed years (13).

    Cutworms (Noctuidae) can be a problem in nurseries and may be  especially damaging in natural regeneration areas. Cutworms were  responsible for more than 30 percent of the seedling mortality in a study  on Swain Mountain Experimental Forest in California (14).

    The white fir needleminer (Epinotia meritana) is the only  foliage feeder of consequence on established red fir. Even during outbreak  phases the damage caused is apparently minor and temporary (13).

    The most severely damaging insect pest on red fir is the fir engraver  (Scolytus ventralis). This bark beetle is found throughout the  range of red fir and causes severe damage nearly everywhere. Losses under  epidemic conditions can be dramatic. Anything that reduces tree vigor-Annosus  root disease, dwarf mistletoe, Cytospora canker, overstocking,  drought, or fire damage-increases susceptibility to fir engraver attack.  Several other species of bark beetles (Scolytus spp., Pseudohylesinus  spp.), the round-headed fir borer (Tetropium abietis), and the  flat-headed fir borer (Melanophila drummondi) frequently join in  attacking and killing individual trees. In epidemic conditions, however,  mortality is caused primarily by the fir engraver. Maintenance of stand  health and vigor is the only known control (13).

    Locally, small rodents can cause significant loss of seed and  occasionally girdle seedlings. Squirrels cut and cache cones. Pocket  gophers limit regeneration in many areas, particularly clearcuts, by  feeding on fir seedlings during winter and spring. Pocket gophers in  combination with meadow voles and heavy brush can prevent conifer  establishment for decades. Where gopher populations are high, damage to  root systems of mature trees can be extensive, although not often   identified. In extreme conditions, winter and spring feeding at root  crowns can kill trees up to at least 94 cm (37 in) in diameter at breast  height (23). Direct control is difficult and expensive. Indirect control  by habitat manipulation offers some possibilities.

    Spring browsing of succulent growth by deer can retard height growth for  many years. Normally, trees are not killed and in most instances can grow  rapidly once browsing pressure is removed. In managed stands, reduced  height growth can result in significant production loss. Red fir may be  damaged less by deer or rabbit feeding than white fir.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: basal area, duff, litter, prescribed fire, tree

A fall prescribed fire in the Tharp Creek Watershed of Sequoia National
Park produced 55.6% average annual California red fir mortality on a white
fir-mixed conifer site monitored for 5 years after fire.  Mortality was
concentrated in the subcanopy. The fire burned from 23 to 26 October 1990. 
Relative humidity during the day was 21% to 30% and at night was 30% to 40%.
Fuel moisture levels in the litter and duff averaged 28%.  For 100-hour and
1,000-hour fuels, moisture levels were 14% and 64%, respectively.  At the
time of ignition, air temperatures were 50 to 61 °F (10-16 °C, and winds were
calm.  The fire was a combination of backing and strip head fires with flame
lengths of 0.16 to 7.9 feet (0.05-2.4 m).  One-hour, 10-hour, and 100-hour
fuels were reduced by 96%, 77%, and 60%, respectively.  Tree (≥4.6 feet (1.4 m))
mortality was evaluated before and after fire as well as from an unburned
reference site. Basal areas were also monitored before and after the fire.
California red fir showed no change in mean basal area on the burned site
before or after the fire [72].  For more information, see the entire Research Paper by Mutch and Parsons [72].
  • 72.  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]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Immediate Effect of Fire

Seedlings of California red fir are easily killed by fire [71].
Seedlings and saplings are killed by relatively low-intensity fires, but
few older California red fir are affected [36,38].  Larger California
red fir are killed by severe fires [36,66].

Shasta red fir sustains moderate damage from light-severity fires but is
often killed by moderate-severity fires [3].
  • 3.  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]
  • 36.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1971. The role of fire in managing red fir forests.        In: Proceedings, 36th North American wildlife and natural resources        conference; 1971 March 7-10; Washington, DC. [Place of publication        unknown]
  • 38.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1981. Fire in ecosystem distribution and structure:        western forests and scrublands. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.;        Christensen, N. L.; [and others]
  • 66.  Taylor, Alan H.; Halpern, Charles B. 1991. The structure and dynamics of        Abies magnifica forests in the southern Cascade Range, USA. Journal of        Vegetation Science. 2(2): 189-200.  [15768]
  • 71.  Weaver, Harold. 1974. Effects of fire on temperate forests: western        United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and        ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 279-319.  [9700]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: secondary colonizer, tree

   Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
   Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire interval, fuel, natural, prescribed burn, severity

Fires in high-elevation California red fir forests are generally not as
intense as those in the Rocky Mountains [38] and are typically less
intense than those at lower elevations [39,71].  This may be a result of
low annual fuel accumulation because of the short growing season
[38,39].  Fire has an important role in Sierra Nevada conifer forests,
particularly in the successional relationship between California red fir
and lodgepole pine [5,38].  Fire creates canopy openings by killing
mature lodgepole pine and some mature California red fir.  Where
lodgepole pine occurs under a California red fir canopy, it is
eventually succeeded by California red fir [5].  The estimated fire
frequency ranges from 10 to 65 years [5,66].

Crown fires are uncommon in California red fir stands [38].  Fires
normally spread slowly and are seldom very destructive because of the
nature of surface fuels and the prevalence of natural terrain breaks
[38,39,71].  The fire hazard in California red fir forests is lower than
in middle elevation, mixed-conifer forests [37].  Erosion problems did
not occur after a prescribed burn in a high-elevation California red fir
stand at Kings Canyon National Park [37].

The bark of older California red fir is thick and fire resistant [41].
The needles and branch tips are resistant to fire [30].

The fire interval for Shasta red fir is 70 to 130 years [2].  Fires are
usually patchy and of low severity.  Stand-replacing fires are rare [2].
Shasta red fir can tolerate occasional light fires [3].  Shasta red fir
retains its lower branches when not shaded out, which increases the risk
of crown fires [3].  Shasta red fir sheds its needles and naturally
prunes its branches where mountain hemlock is the successional climax
[3].  Fuel accumulation varies, but decomposition and drying are slow
[2].
  • 2.  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]
  • 3.  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]
  • 30.  Gordon, Donald T. 1970. Natural regeneration of white and red        fir...influence of several factors. Research Paper PSW-58. Berkeley, CA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 32 p.  [12462]
  • 37.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1973. The ecological role of fire in Sierran conifer        forests - its application to National Park management. Quaternary        Research. 3: 496-513.  [6267]
  • 38.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1981. Fire in ecosystem distribution and structure:        western forests and scrublands. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.;        Christensen, N. L.; [and others]
  • 39.  Kilgore, Bruce M.; Briggs, George S. 1972. Restoring fire to high        elevation forests in California. Journal of Forestry. 70(5): 266-271.        [18570]
  • 41.  Kotok, E. I. 1933. Fire, a major ecological factor in the pine region of        California. In: Pacific Science Congress Proceedings. 5: 4017-4022.        [4723]
  • 5.  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]
  • 66.  Taylor, Alan H.; Halpern, Charles B. 1991. The structure and dynamics of        Abies magnifica forests in the southern Cascade Range, USA. Journal of        Vegetation Science. 2(2): 189-200.  [15768]
  • 71.  Weaver, Harold. 1974. Effects of fire on temperate forests: western        United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and        ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 279-319.  [9700]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, natural

Stands of California red fir are typically even-aged [5,31,54,66].

California red fir forests are a climax vegetation type [36,43,48].  In
areas where California red fir grows under a closed canopy of lodgepole
pine, it eventually becomes the climax species [5].  Shasta red fir is a
late seral or climax community dominant, depending on its associates
[4,24,43].

In mixed conifer forests, California red fir establishes well in
openings and after disturbances [65].  Natural regeneration or seedling
or sapling release from suppression occurs in small openings created by
the death of a few trees or in large openings created by fire, insects,
or wind [5,66].  California and Shasta red fir are moderately shade
tolerant [3,8,24].
  • 24.  Fiske, John N.; DeBell, Dean S. 1989. Silviculture of Pacific coast        forests. In: Burns, Russell M., compiler. The scientific basis for        silvicultural and management decisions in the National Forest System.        Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-55. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 59-78.  [10246]
  • 3.  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]
  • 31.  Gordon, Donald T. 1978. California red fir literature: some corrections        and comments. Forest Science. 24(1): 52-56.  [13164]
  • 36.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1971. The role of fire in managing red fir forests.        In: Proceedings, 36th North American wildlife and natural resources        conference; 1971 March 7-10; Washington, DC. [Place of publication        unknown]
  • 4.  Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of        the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p.  [9351]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 48.  Mitchell, Rod; Moir, Will. 1976. Vegetation of the Abbott Creek Research        Natural Area, Oregon. Northwest Science. 50(1): 42-58.  [1664]
  • 5.  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]
  • 54.  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]
  • 65.  Taylor, Alan H. 1990. Habitat segregation and regeneration patterns of        red fir and mountain hemlock in ecotonal forests, Lassen Volcanic        National Park, California. Physical Geography. 11(1): 36-48.  [17657]
  • 66.  Taylor, Alan H.; Halpern, Charles B. 1991. The structure and dynamics of        Abies magnifica forests in the southern Cascade Range, USA. Journal of        Vegetation Science. 2(2): 189-200.  [15768]
  • 8.  Barbour, M. G.; Pavlik, B. M.; Antos, J. A. 1990. Seedling growth and        survival of red and white fir in a Sierra Nevada ecotone. American        Journal of Botany. 77(7): 927-938.  [11881]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: litter, shrubs, tree

California red fir does not reproduce vegetatively [43].

The minimum seed-bearing age for California red fir is 35 to 45 years of
age and 30 to 40 for Shasta red fir [17,26,43].  Good seed crops are
produced at 2- to 6-year intervals [17,26,28,44].  Seed is disseminated
by wind a distance of approximately 1 to 1.5 tree heights from the
parent [43,44].  The average germination rate of California red fir
seeds is 30 to 43 percent [28,43,44].  Insects account for 18 to 45
percent of annual seed loss [64].

Initial seedling establishment is best in bare mineral soil or light
litter [5,,24,41,44].  Seeds of California red fir usually germinate the
first spring after they are shed and are not stored in the forest floor
[31].  After the first year, seedling survival was higher in seedbeds
with heavier litter than those seedbeds without litter [30].
Competition and shading from shrubs and grasses and frost damage inhibit
establishment and growth of California red fir [24,30,67].  Seedlings
near stand edges had lower survival rates than those farther away from
the edge [30].

Mortality is greatest soon after the tree reaches 12 inches (30 cm) in
height and is usually attributed to pocket gophers damaging seedling
roots and deer clipping new foliage [31].

Initial growth is best in dense shade with medium litter on the soil,
but when seedlings get older, growth is best in full sunlight
[19,30,43].  Initial growth of California red fir seedlings is slow, 4
to 6 inches (10-15 cm) in the first 2 to 4 years [5,24,54].  Laacke [43]
stated that the long-standing assumption of slow growth for the first 20
to 30 years may be invalid.  It can take between 10 and 25 years for
California red fir to reach breast height [32].  Following the initial
slow juvenile growth stage is a fairly long period of rapid growth and,
eventually, an extended period of slower growth [32].  Saplings greater
than 10 years of age reach full growth potential after release from
suppression [6].
  • 17.  Edwards, D. G. W. 1982. Collection, processing, testing, and storage of        true fir seeds--a review. In: Oliver, Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid M.,        eds. Proceedings of the biology and management of true fir in the        Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February 24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA.        Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, College of        Forest Resources; Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 113-137.        [11894]
  • 19.  Emmingham, W. H. 1972. Conifer growth and plant distribution under        different light environments in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern        Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 50 p. Thesis.  [9651]
  • 24.  Fiske, John N.; DeBell, Dean S. 1989. Silviculture of Pacific coast        forests. In: Burns, Russell M., compiler. The scientific basis for        silvicultural and management decisions in the National Forest System.        Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-55. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 59-78.  [10246]
  • 26.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1974. Abies Mill. fir. In: Schopmeyer, C. S.,        technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.        Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 168-183.  [7566]
  • 28.  Franklin, J. F.; Sorensen, F. C.; Campbell, R. K. 1978. Summarization of        the ecology and genetics of the noble and California red fir complex.        In: Proc IUFRO Jt. Meet. Work. Parties; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 30.  Gordon, Donald T. 1970. Natural regeneration of white and red        fir...influence of several factors. Research Paper PSW-58. Berkeley, CA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 32 p.  [12462]
  • 31.  Gordon, Donald T. 1978. California red fir literature: some corrections        and comments. Forest Science. 24(1): 52-56.  [13164]
  • 32.  Harrington, Constance A.; Murray, Marshall D. 1982. Patterns of height        growth in western true firs. In: Oliver, Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid        M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and management of true fir in the        Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February 24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA.        Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, College of        Forest Resources: 209-214.  [6867]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 5.  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]
  • 54.  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]
  • 6.  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]
  • 64.  Tanaka, Yasuomi. 1982. Biology of Abies seed production. In: Oliver,        Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and        management of true fir in the Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February        24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA. Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University        of Washington, College of Forest Resources: 103-111.  [6768]
  • 67.  Tevis, Lloyd, Jr. 1956. Pocket gophers ans seedlings of red fir.        Ecology. 37(2): 379-381.  [16771]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

  
   Phanerophyte

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Fire Management Considerations

Lightning-ignited fires in higher elevation Sierra Nevada forests are
usually less than 1 acre (0.4 ha) in size and burn for only a few days.
There have been several fires, however, that burned considerable acreage
over the course of several months.  None of these fires became a control
problem or burned intensely [38].
  • 38.  Kilgore, Bruce M. 1981. Fire in ecosystem distribution and structure:        western forests and scrublands. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.;        Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reaction to Competition

Although red fir grows best in full  sunlight, it can survive and grow for long periods in relatively dense  shade. Red fir's tolerance of shade appears to be less than that of  mountain hemlock, slightly less than that of white fir and Brewer spruce,  but greater than that of all of its other associates. Red fir's capacity  to maintain significantly more foliage under shade than white fir suggests  that the tolerance difference between them is marginal (1). It is most  accurately classed as tolerant of shade. Red fir seedlings are slightly  more hardy in full sun than white fir seedlings but become established  most easily in partial shade (14,26).

    Red fir can carry large basal areas per unit area and maintain high  growth rates for an unusually long time, partly as a result of its shade  tolerance. As an understory tree it can survive more than 40 years of  suppression and, unless diseased, respond to release by increasing growth  dramatically. Time until growth accelerates depends on crown condition.  Even mature dominants can respond to large reductions in stand density.  Seed production on mature dominants can increase after release  (16,25,26,38).

    Natural regeneration of red fir can be achieved using shelterwood and  seed tree cuttings. Clearcuts work as long as the size of the opening  perpendicular to the wind does not exceed seed dispersal distances. Site  preparation is important (19). Recent developments in nursery and handling  technologies, including manipulation of root regeneration capacity and  identification of necessary storage and transportation conditions, make  artificial planting commercially practical. Access to planting sites is  commonly difficult in the Sierra Nevada because of heavy snowpacks that  last until June and later.

    It is theoretically possible to manage several age classes in a stand  because of the species' shade tolerance. However, the ability of red fir  to support high growth rates for extended periods in dense, even-aged  stands makes even-aged management the likely choice on most sites. Patch  cuttings of small areas- 0.2 to 2.2 ha (0.5 to 5.5 acres)- work well where  larger regeneration cuts are undesirable for visual or environmental  reasons.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Rooting Habit

Root systems of mature forest trees, including  red fir, have not been the subject of much research. What little is known  has been gleaned from observations of windthrown trees. Mature red fir  rooting habit appears to be fairly adaptable, deep and intensive where  soil conditions pen-nit or shallow and widespread where rocks or seasonal  water tables limit effective soil depth. There is no strong tendency to  maintain a single, deep taproot, although rapid development of a strong  taproot is critical for survival of new germinants in the dry summer  climate.

    On at least some sites, however, saplings and poles have large-diameter,  carrot-like taproots extending more than 1 m (3 ft) deep, with very poor  lateral root development in the upper 30 cm (12 in). This condition has  been found on young pumice soils overlying an old, buried profile.  Periodic lack of fall snow cover exposes the soil to subzero temperatures  and increased temperature fluctuations. Under these conditions pumice  soils are subject to ice crystal formation and severe frost heaving. Fine  lateral roots are probably killed by mechanical damage during ice  formation and frost heaving or, perhaps, by low temperatures.

    Red fir is susceptible to windthrow after partial cutting, especially  when marginal codominant and lower crown classes are left as the residual  stand (15). Root diseases contribute significantly to lack of  windfirmness.

    Root grafting between red fir trees is indicated by the occasional  presence of living stumps (8).

    The effects of mycorrhizal associations are beginning to be explored.  Early information indicates that these root-fungi relationships are  significant in establishment and early growth, especially on poor sites  (3).

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

California red fir cones open and are pollinated in May and early June
[26,43,64].  Cones ripen in August [26,64].  Seed dispersal occurs in
mid-October when cones begin to disintegrate [30,44,64].  The large,
winged seeds are released through the fall and winter [26,45].

Shasta red fir cones open and are pollinated in mid- to late June, and
cones ripen in late September.  Seed dispersal occurs in late September
to mid-October [26,64].
  • 26.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1974. Abies Mill. fir. In: Schopmeyer, C. S.,        technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.        Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 168-183.  [7566]
  • 30.  Gordon, Donald T. 1970. Natural regeneration of white and red        fir...influence of several factors. Research Paper PSW-58. Berkeley, CA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 32 p.  [12462]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 45.  Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history.        Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p.  [1401]
  • 64.  Tanaka, Yasuomi. 1982. Biology of Abies seed production. In: Oliver,        Chadwick Dearing; Kenady, Reid M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and        management of true fir in the Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February        24-26; Seattle-Tacoma, WA. Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University        of Washington, College of Forest Resources: 103-111.  [6768]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Under natural conditions red fir does  not reproduce vegetatively either by sprouting or layering. Vegetative  propagation from cuttings is possible but the techniques currently  available are at an early stage of development.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Seedling Development

Red fir seeds germinate in the spring  immediately after snowmelt or in, on, and under the snow (10,14).  Germination is epigeal. Seeds that germinate several centimeters above  ground in the snowpack rarely survive. Seeds that fall before the first  permanent snows of winter, therefore, are more effective in producing  seedlings. Initial survival is best on mineral soil, perhaps, as in white  fir, because presence of appropriate mycorrhizal-forming fungi is  increased in the absence of organic layers (3).

    Openings created in mixed red and white fir stands in both northern and  southern Sierra Nevada tend to regenerate more readily to red fir. Fifty  to 80 percent of the regeneration will be red fir, even when the  surrounding stand is dominated by white fir (25,32).

    Two long-standing assumptions-that red fir growth is extremely slow for  the first 20 to 30 years and that snow damage limits height growth-do not  appear valid. Recent evidence indicates that beyond the first 5 years,  slow growth is not inherent (16,24) and snow damage is significant for  relatively few seedlings (17). Extended periods of slow early growth  appear to result from environmental conditions, such as prolonged shading  and browse damage.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Seed Production and Dissemination

California red fir can begin  producing seed when only 35 to 45 years old; Shasta red fir produces seed  when about 5 years younger (36). Heavy seed crops-adequate for reliable  regeneration-are produced every 1 to 4 years by California red fir (22)  and about every third year by Shasta red fir (12).

    Seeds are wind-disseminated after cones disintegrate on the trees in  late September to mid-October and are dispersed primarily by the  prevailing southwesterly winds (14).

    In an exceptional year, seed production for both varieties can exceed  1.4 million per ha (570,000/acre) within a stand and along the edge of an  opening (11, 14). The more frequent "good to heavy" crops may  only reach 10 percent of that value. Seed production varies with tree age,  size, and dominance. The best, most reliable producers are mature, healthy  dominants. Immature fir can produce heavy seed crops, but production is  more erratic than that of mature trees (18). California red fir seeds  average 14,110/kg (6,400/lb). Shasta red fir seeds tend to be smaller and  average 16,095/kg (7,300/lb) (36).

    Because cones are borne almost exclusively in the uppermost crown, any  top damage caused by insects, diseases, or mechanical agents (for example,  wind and snow) directly reduces cone production. Large old trees are prone  to such damage. Trees which have lost their tops, however, can frequently  develop new terminals and resume cone bearing.

    Studies in California indicate that mature dominants along the edge of a  clearcutting produce up to twice as many cones as similar trees in closed  stands (18). Regeneration data, also from California, indicate that mature  trees left in seed tree or shelterwood cuts increase seed production (25).

    The number of Shasta fir seeds falling into a clearing decreases rapidly  with distance from the stand edge. At a downwind distance equal to about 2  to 2.5 times tree height, seedfall is nearly 10 percent of the stand edge  value (11). Dispersal of the heavier California red fir seeds is generally  limited to 1.5 to 2 times tree height (13). Germination rates in standard  tests are relatively low for both varieties, generally less than 40  percent (36). Even lower field germination rates (5 percent or less) can  produce adequate regeneration.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Flowering and Fruiting

Red fir is monoecious. Male strobili  (cones) are small-generally less than 1.6 cm (0.6 in) long-deep  purple-red, and densely clustered on the underside of 1-year-old twigs  about midcrown. Female cones are borne erect on 1-year-old branches in the  uppermost crown, although both male and female cones are occasionally  found on the same branch. California red fir flowers from May to June,  with pollen shed and fertilization in late May through June. Shasta red  fir flowers from middle to late June in southwestern Oregon. Populations  in the Coast Ranges of northwestern California probably follow the same  schedule. Seeds begin to reach maturity in mid-August and the ripening  process continues up to time of seedfall.

    Cones are large, 15 to 23 cm (6 to 9 in) long, 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 in) in  diameter, and oblong cylindric in shape. Shasta red fir bracts are longer  than the cone scales and are easily visible on the surface of a mature  cone. California red fir bracts are shorter than the cone scales and are  not visible on an intact cone. Cones of both varieties are brown when  mature and have specific gravities of about 0.75 (8,27,28,36).

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Growth

Growth and Yield

Red fir volume production is impressive.  Normal yield tables for unmanaged stands indicate that a 160-year-old  stand on a high site- 18 m (60 ft) at 50 years-can carry 2320 m³/ha  (33,150 ft³/acre). Average sites- 12 m (40 ft) at 50 years-carry 1470  m³/ha (21,000 ft³/acre) at the same age. These volumes are  possible, at least in part, because of the stand density that red fir can  maintain. Basal areas on high sites can be well in excess of 126 m²/ha  (550 ft²/acre) and on average sites in excess of 96 m²/ha (420  ft²/acre). In addition, the normal yield tables indicate that stand  mean annual increment continues to increase until age 140 (37). Less ideal  stands will support slightly less basal area, and mean annual increment  may culminate sooner. The capacity of the species to respond to decreases  in stand density is impressive, even at the advanced age of 100 years. In  stands of white and red fir thinned to 50 percent of their basal area, the  remaining trees increased growth sufficiently that overall stand growth  was not significantly reduced (30).

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

In the northern part of its range, California red fir appears to merge  and hybridize with noble fir, a northern species with morphological and  ecological similarities. Bracts that extend beyond the scales on mature  cones are characteristic of noble fir. North of Mount Lassen, red fir has  similar exserted bracts. South of Mount Lassen, bracts on red fir are  shorter than the scales and are not visible on intact mature cones.  Changes in seed weight, cotyledon number, and cortical monoterpenes in  both species indicate a broad transition zone between latitudes 40°  and 44° N. Similarity with noble fir increases to the north and west  (41). The two species can be artificially cross-pollinated with no  apparent difficulty as long as red fir is the female parent. Success is  reduced by more than 70 percent when red fir is the male parent (5,36).  Discussion continues about the relationship of California red fir, Shasta  red fir, and noble fir; however, the fact that exserted bracts also appear  on a large southern Sierra Nevada population of red fir that has  characteristics in common with both California red fir and Shasta red fir  only adds to the controversy (41).

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Abies magnifica

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


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Abies magnifica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

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
Abies magnifica and its two varieties (var. magnifica and var. shastensis) are all assessed as Least Concern due to their large extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, large population sizes and absence of any overall decline.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
In parts of northern California, subpopulations of var. shastanensis are more scattered than elsewhere, and have a smaller area of occupancy as a result. Despite this, the population is large, but difficult to quantify in any certain way, as the identity of trees can be problematic where intermediates occur on both ends of the range between this taxon and its putative parent species

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Historically, logging has affected this species, leading to an unknown reduction in area of occupancy in cases where the natural forest was replaced by other forms of land use, including managed or planted forest favouring other conifer species. More recently, forests are either protected from logging or are better managed, allowing regeneration of this species in many areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is present in a number of protected areas, including famous national parks, scattered throughout its natural range.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management considerations

More info for the term: tree

Together, California red fir and white fir produce one-fourth of
California's timber volume [31].  After partial cutting, California red
fir is susceptible to windthrow [43].  Unmanaged, even-aged,
well-stocked stands tend to mature in approximately 140 years [24,43].
Shasta red fir grows in dense stands that are highly productive [25].
Southern aspects that dry early in the growing season and flat surfaces
associated with frost are the most difficult for Shasta red fir
reforestation [2].

California red fir is an important tree for watershed protection because
of the large amounts of snow that accumulate in these stands during the
winter [28,44].

Fir dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium abietinum ssp. magnificae) causes a
significant amount of damage and occurs throughout the range of
California red fir [33,43].  Infected trees show less growth and vigor
and produce fewer seeds with lower viability [21,33,57].  When infected,
California red fir is more susceptible to secondary attack by insects
and fungi, which most commonly results in death of the tree
[21,33,56,57].  The wood of infected trees has decreased strength and
value for pulp [33].  Dense stands make it easy for fir dwarf mistletoe
to spread from crown to crown [56].  Management of infected stands is
discussed in the literature [24,40,56,57].  California red fir does not
respond well to thinning because of its susceptibility to infestation
after mechanical wounding [24].

Annosus root rot (Heterobasidion annosum) also causes significant losses
[24,58].  Infection is most common on the east side of the Sierra Nevada
and in relatively pure stands or dense stands with a history of logging
[16,59].  Infected California red fir are vulnerable to windthrow and
secondary attack by insects and other fungi [13,21,58,59].  The
occurrence and management of other fungi that damage California red fir
are discussed in the literature [22,23,43,44,57].

The major insect pest of California red fir is fir engraver beetle
(Scolytus ventralis) [13,21,43].
  • 13.  Byler, James W. 1978. The pest damage inventory in California. In:        Symposium on Dwarf Mistletoe Control Through Forest Management; 1978        April 11 - April 13; Berkeley, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-31. Berkeley, CA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest        and Range Experiment Station: 162-171.  [17973]
  • 16.  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]
  • 2.  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]
  • 21.  Fellin, David G. 1980. A review of some interactions between harvesting,        residue management, fire, and forest insects and diseases. In:        Environmental consequences of timber harvesting in Rocky Mountain        coniferous forests: Symposium proceedings; 1979 September 11-13;        Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-90. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station: 335-414.  [10310]
  • 22.  Filip, Gregory M. 1989. A model for estimating current & future timber        vol. loss from stem decay caused by Heterobasidion annosum and other        fungi in stands of true fir. 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: 123-128.  [11331]
  • 23.  Filip, Gregory M.; Schmitt, Craig L. 1990. Rx for Abies: silvicultural        options for diseased firs in Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep.        PNW-GTR-252. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 34 p.  [15181]
  • 24.  Fiske, John N.; DeBell, Dean S. 1989. Silviculture of Pacific coast        forests. In: Burns, Russell M., compiler. The scientific basis for        silvicultural and management decisions in the National Forest System.        Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-55. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 59-78.  [10246]
  • 25.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1964. Ecology and silviculture of the true        fir-hemlock forests of the Pacific Northwest. In: Proceedings, Society        of American Foresters meeting; 1964 September 27 - October 1; Denver,        CO. Washington, D.C.: Society of American Foresters: 28-32.  [7920]
  • 28.  Franklin, J. F.; Sorensen, F. C.; Campbell, R. K. 1978. Summarization of        the ecology and genetics of the noble and California red fir complex.        In: Proc IUFRO Jt. Meet. Work. Parties; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 31.  Gordon, Donald T. 1978. California red fir literature: some corrections        and comments. Forest Science. 24(1): 52-56.  [13164]
  • 33.  Hawksworth, Frank G. 1978. Biological factors of dwarf mistletoe in        relation to control. In: Scharpf, Robert F.; Parmeter, John R., Jr.,        technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on dwarf mistletoe        control through forest management; 1978 April 11-13; Berkeley, CA. Gen.        Tech. Rep. PSW-31. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 5-15.        [14249]
  • 40.  Kimmey, J. W. 1957. Dwarfmistletoes of California and their control.        Tech. Pap. No. 19. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p.  [16464]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 56.  Scharpf, Robert F. 1969. Dwarf mistletoe on red fir....infection and        control in understory stands. Res. Pap. PSW-50. Berkeley, CA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Pacific Southwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 8 p.  [13068]
  • 57.  Scharpf, Robert F. 1982. Problems of dwarf mistletoe in advance        regeneration of true firs. In: Proceedings of the 29th Western        International Forest Disease Work. Conf.; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 58.  Schmitt, Craig L. 1989. Diagnosis of annosus root disease in mixed        conifer forests in the northwestern United States. 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: 40-42.  [11320]
  • 59.  Slaughter, G. W.; Parmeter, J. R., Jr. 1989. Annosus root disease in        true firs in northern and central California National Forests. 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: 70-77.  [11325]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

California red fir is used for Christmas trees [28,43,45].

High-elevation California red fir stands are frequently used as
recreational sites [44].
 
  • 28.  Franklin, J. F.; Sorensen, F. C.; Campbell, R. K. 1978. Summarization of        the ecology and genetics of the noble and California red fir complex.        In: Proc IUFRO Jt. Meet. Work. Parties; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 45.  Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history.        Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p.  [1401]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

Old-growth forests of California red fir provide important habitat for
many animals, some of which are sensitive, rare, and/or endangered [44].
Marten prefer large snags, stumps, and logs in closed canopies of these
forests for den sites [18,47,62].  Other animals that use California red
fir forests include fisher, wolverine, black bear, squirrels, chickadee,
pileated woodpecker, great gray owl, Williamson's sapsucker, and pocket
gopher [18,45,62,67].  The cones are cut and cached by squirrels.  Deer
browse new growth in the spring [43].

Climax communities of California red fir support birds that forage for
insects in the foliage of conifers [11].  Mountain beaver use California
red fir for food and thermal and escape cover [9,69].
  • 11.  Ralston, Robert Dean. 1960. The structure and ecology of the north slope        juniper stands of the Little Missouri Badlands. Salt Lake City, UT:        University of Utah. 85 p. Thesis.  [192]
  • 18.  Egeline, Steve. 1980. Wildlife relationships and forest planning. In:        DeGraaf, Richard M., technical coordinator. Management of western        forests and grasslands for nongame birds; 1980 February 11-14; Salt Lake        City, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-86. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station: 379-389.  [17915]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 44.  Laacke, Robert J.; Fiske, John N. 1983. Red fir and white fir. 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: 41-43.        [11895]
  • 45.  Lanner, Ronald M. 1983. Trees of the Great Basin: A natural history.        Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 215 p.  [1401]
  • 47.  Martin, Sandra K.; Barrett, Reginald H. 1983. The importance of snags to        pine marten habitat in the northern Sierra Nevada. In: Davis, Jerry W.;        Goodwin, Gregory A.; Ockenfeis, Richard A., technical coordinators. Snag        Habitat management: proceedings of the symposium; 1983 June 7-9;        Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-99. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range        Experiment Station: 114-116.  [17824]
  • 62.  Spowart, Richard A.; Samson, Fred B. 1986. Carnivores. In: Cooperrider,        Allan Y.; Boyd, Raymond J.; Stuart, Hanson R., eds. Inventory and        monitoring of wildlife habitat. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the        Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Service Center: 475-496.  [13526]
  • 67.  Tevis, Lloyd, Jr. 1956. Pocket gophers ans seedlings of red fir.        Ecology. 37(2): 379-381.  [16771]
  • 69.  Todd, Paul A. 1992. Mountain beaver habitat use and management        implications in Yosemite National Park. Natural Areas Journal. 12(1):        26-31.  [18712]
  • 9.  Beier, Paul. 1989. Use of habitat by mountain beaver in the Sierra        Nevada. Journal of Wildlife Management. 53(3): 649-654.  [8409]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wood Products Value

More info for the term: fuel

The wood of California red fir is straight-grained, light and soft but
stronger than the wood of other firs, and has a low specific gravity
[26,49,60].  California red fir often has sweep in the butt [60]. The
wood is used for fuel, coarse lumber, quality veneer, solid framing,
plywood, printing paper, and high-quality wrapping paper, and is
preferred for pulping (sulphite and thermomechanical) [43,49,60].
  • 26.  Franklin, Jerry F. 1974. Abies Mill. fir. In: Schopmeyer, C. S.,        technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.        Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 168-183.  [7566]
  • 43.  Laacke, Robert J. 1990. Abies magnifica A. Murr.  California red fir.        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: 71-79.        [13370]
  • 49.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 60.  Smith, Ramsay. 1982. Utilization of true firs. In: Oliver, Chadwick        Dearing; Kenady, Reid M., eds. Proceedings of the biology and management        of true fir in the Pacific Northwest symposium; 1981 February 24-26;        Seattle-Tacoma, WA. Contribution No. 45. Seattle, WA: University of        Washington, College of Forest Resources: 239-242.  [6869]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Special Uses

Red fir is a general, all-purpose construction-grade wood used  extensively as solid framing material and plywood. Good quality young red  fir, known as "silvertip fir" from the waxy sheen on their  dense, dark-green needles, bring top prices as Christmas trees. These  trees are cultured in natural stands and plantations where early growth is  slower than most species used as Christmas trees, and some individuals are  cultured for as long as 11 years before harvest.

    Detailed and exact wildlife censuses for large areas do not exist and  any listing of species numbers associated with a major forest type is an  approximation. There are, however, about 111 species of birds found in the  red fir type of California, 55 of which are associated primarily with  mature forests. Perhaps because of the dense nature of most true fir  forests, there are only about 52 species of mammals commonly present and  only 6 of those are generally associated with mature forests. Few  reptilian species are found at the high elevations and only four are  generally present in the red fir type.

  • 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 J. Laacke

Source: Silvics of North America

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Abies magnifica

Abies magnifica, the Red fir or silvertip fir, is a western North American fir, native to the mountains of southwest Oregon and California in the United States. It is a high elevation tree, typically occurring at 1,400–2,700 metres (4,600–8,900 ft) elevation, though only rarely reaching tree line. The name red fir derives from the bark color of old trees.

Description[edit]

Abies magnifica is a large evergreen tree typically up to 40–60 metres (130–200 ft) tall and 2 metres (6.6 ft) trunk diameter, rarely to 76.5 metres (251 ft) tall and 3 metres (9.8 ft) diameter, with a narrow conic crown. The bark on young trees is smooth, grey, and with resin blisters, becoming orange-red, rough and fissured on old trees. The leaves are needle-like, 2-3.5 cm long, glaucous blue-green above and below with strong stomatal bands, and an acute tip. They are arranged spirally on the shoot, but twisted slightly s-shaped to be upcurved above the shoot.

The cones are erect, 9–21 cm long, yellow-green (occasionally purple), ripening brown and disintegrating to release the winged seeds in fall.

Abies magnifica: Cones stand upright on branches
Abies magnifica: Needle-like leaves bend upward

Varieties[edit]

There are two, perhaps three varieties:

  • Abies magnifica var. magnifica, red fir — cones large (14–21 cm), cone bract scales short, not visible on the closed cones. Most of the species' range, primarily in the Sierra Nevada.
  • Abies magnifica var. shastensis, Shasta red fir — cones large (14–21 cm), cone bract scales longer, visible on the closed cone. The northwest of the species' range, in southwest Oregon and Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity Counties in northwest California.
  • A. magnifica on the eastern slopes of southern Sierra Nevada — possibly a third variety, have not been formally named, also having long bracts, and additionally have smaller cones, 9–15 cm long.

Related[edit]

Red fir is very closely related to noble fir (Abies procera), which replaces it further north in the Cascade Range. They are best distinguished by the leaves; noble fir leaves have a groove along the midrib on the upper side, while red fir does not show this. Red fir also tends to have the leaves less closely packed, with the shoot bark visible between the leaves, whereas the shoot is largely hidden in noble fir. Some botanists treat Abies magnifica var. shastensis as a natural hybrid between red fir and noble fir.

Discovery[edit]

This tree was discovered by William Lobb on his expedition to California of 1849 – 1853, having been overlooked previously by David Douglas.[2]

Uses[edit]

The wood is used for general structural purposes and paper manufacture. It is also a popular Christmas tree.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Abies magnifica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Toby Musgrave, Chris Gardner & Will Musgrave (1999). The Plant Hunters. Seven Dials. p. 147. ISBN 1-84188-001-9. 

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 2.0 of 5

Notes

Comments

Abies magnifica often exists in extensive high elevation stands in the Sierra Nevada; its close relative A . procera occurs in small mountaintop populations relatively isolated from one another. As expected for isolated populations, A . procera produces large interpopulation variation in morphology (J.Maze and W.H. Parker 1983) and chemistry (E.Zavarin et al. 1978). Where the two species meet in southern Oregon and northern California, many populations are intermediate; these have been called A . magnifica var. shastensis Lemmon. The status of such intermediates is unsettled. They may be accepted as hybrids between A . magnifica and A . procera (Liu T. S. 1971) or, alternatively, the paleontological record suggests that the two species may have originated from the intermediates (E.Zavarin et al. 1978). Individuals from this region should be assigned to A . magnifica , A . procera , or A . magnifica × procera (E.L. Parker 1963), depending on the morphologic criteria selected to differentiate the species, though clearly these individuals are genetically quite different from those near the type localities of the two species. 

 An extensive study of this variation, as proposed by E.Zavarin et al. (1978), is warranted. Such a study should consider data from the type localities as a basis of comparison. Moreover, to evaluate this situation critically, one should first determine if any genetic exchange occurs between Abies lasiocarpa and A . procera that may complicate an evaluation.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the term: introgression

The currently accepted scientific name of California red fir is Abies
magnifica A. Murr. [46,49]. Recognized varieties are as follows:

Abies magnifica var. magnifica, California red fir [46,49,73]
Abies magnifica var. critchfieldii Lanner, Critchfield red fir [73]
Abies magnifica var. shastensis Lemm., Shasta red fir [46,49,73]

California red fir hybridizes with noble fir (A. procera) where they
occur together [6,46]. These hybrids are similar to Shasta red fir,
which increases taxonomic confusion of the California red fir-noble fir
complex in the Klamath region [28,55,61]. Morphological comparisions,
artifical crosses, and molecular studies indicate that Shasta red fir
resulted from California red fir and noble fir introgression, while
Critchfield red fir is not hybridized with noble fir [73].

The information in this review pertains to California red fir unless
specified otherwise.
  • 28.  Franklin, J. F.; Sorensen, F. C.; Campbell, R. K. 1978. Summarization of        the ecology and genetics of the noble and California red fir complex.        In: Proc IUFRO Jt. Meet. Work. Parties; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 46.  Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native        and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p.  [2952]
  • 49.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155]
  • 55.  Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine        vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major,        Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley &        Sons: 699-732.  [685]
  • 6.  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]
  • 61.  Sorensen, Frank C.; Campbell, Robert K.; Franklin, Jerry F. 1990.        Geographic variation in growth and phenology of seedlings of the Abies        procera/A. magnifica complex. Forest Ecology and Management. 36:        205-232.  [14215]
  • 73. Lanner, Ronald M. 2010. Abies magnifica var. critchfieldii, a new California red fir variety from the Sierra Nevada. Madrono. 57(2): 141-144. [80760]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Common Names

California red fir
Critchfield red fir
Shasta red fir
red fir

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Synonyms

Abies shastensis Lemm.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!