Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Vaccinium caespitosum

Introductory

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tirmenstein, D. 1990. Vaccinium caespitosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].
ABBREVIATION : VACCAE SYNONYMS : Vaccinium arbusculum Vaccinium caespitosum var. angustifolium Vaccinium caespitosum var. cuneifolium Vaccinium caespitosum var. pauludicolum Vaccinium cespitosum Vaccinium cespitosum var. arbuscula Vaccinium globulare Vaccinium nivictum Vaccinium pauludicolum SCS PLANT CODE : VACA VACAC VACAP COMMON NAMES : dwarf bilberry dwarf huckleberry dwarf blueberry swamp blueberry dwarf bilberry Sierra bilberry blueberry huckleberry whortleberry dwarf grouseberry TAXONOMY : The Vaccinium genus is taxonomically complex [8]. Hybridization and polyploidy make delineation of species difficult [9,10,71]. The genus is characterized by rapid speciation among polyploids and widespread hybridization with backcrosses [9]. Dwarf bilberry is a particularly difficult taxon. Dwarf bilberry is a member of the section Myrtillus [58] and has been placed in the complex Caespitosae which includes a number of low-statured Vacciniums [16]. The currently accepted scientific name of dwarf bilberry is Vaccinium caespitosum Michx [39]. Great variation exists in leaf and twig morphology and a number of forms have been described [8]. Hitchcock and others [34] note that dwarf bilberry has been "separated by seemingly intangible characteristics into two or three additional taxa." Nevertheless, Kartesz [39] recognizes the following varieties: V. c. var. caespitosum V. c. var. paludicola (Camp) Hulten Intermediates between dwarf bilberry and ovalleaf huckleberry (V. ovalifolium) have been described [8]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Dwarf bilberry grows from Labrador, westward through subarctic North America to south-central Alaska [8,40].  It extends southward through the Cascades into California and through the Rocky Mountains to Colorado and New Mexico [33,40].  In eastern North America, dwarf bilberry grows southward through New England to New York and reaches portions of northern Michigan and Minnesota to the west [8,61,68].  Disjunct populations have been reported in certain mountainous areas of northern Mexico [8]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES25  Larch    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES37  Mountain meadows    FRES44  Alpine STATES :      AK  AZ  CA  CO  ID  ME  MI  MN  MT  NV      NH  NM  NY  OR  UT  VT  WA  WI  WY  AB      BC  LB  PQ  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     2  Cascade Mountains     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     6  Upper Basin and Range     8  Northern Rocky Mountains    10  Wyoming Basin    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K011  Western ponderosa forest    K012  Douglas-fir forest    K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest    K020  Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest    K021  Southwestern spruce - fir forest    K052  Alpine meadows and barren    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES :      5  Balsam fir     12  Black spruce     18  Paper birch     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir    107  White spruce    201  White spruce    202  White spruce - paper birch    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir    210  Interior Douglas-fir    212  Western larch    213  Grand fir    217  Aspen    218  Lodgepole pine    224  Western hemlock    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    252  Paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Dwarf bilberry occurs as an understory dominant or codominant in high elevation spruce (Picea spp.)-fir (Abies spp.) forests throughout much of western North America.  It also grows, often in great abundance, in some relatively moist Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesia), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) communities. Common understory codominants in these western forests include bog Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), grouse whortleberry (Vaccinium scoparium), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), and bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis).  Dwarf bilberry also occurs in alpine heath communities and is codominant with species such as grouse whortleberry, and pine dropseed (Blepharoneuron tricholepis) or other forbs.  In the lower alpine zone of the West, this shrub, along with grouse whortleberry, commonly dominates shrubfields which develop in areas of prolonged snow cover [38].  In the East and North, it occurs in black spruce (Picea mariana), balsam fir (A. balsamea)-white spruce (P. glauca), paper birch (Betula papyrifera)-balsam fir, oak-maple (Quercus-Acer spp.), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forests [20,53].  In the East, blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) commonly dominate the understory of many eastern hemlock, red maple (A. rubrum)-red oak (Q. rubra), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), sugar maple (A. saccharum), and jack pine (Pinus banksiana)-red pine (P. resinosa) forests. Plant associates:  In the West, dwarf bilberry commonly grows in association with twinflower, queencup beadlily, Labrador tea, swordfern (Polystichum spp.), huckleberries (V. membranaceum, V. globulare), bluejoint reedgrass, elk sedge (Carex geyeri), and kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) [62,74,75].  Common eastern understory associates include maples (Acer spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), lichens (Cladonia spp.), bog Labrador tea, wintergreen (Gaultheria spp.), maianthemum (Maianthemum spp.), black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), mountain-laurel (Kalmia polifolia), and viburnum (Viburnum spp.)  [20,44,45,53]. Dwarf bilberry has been listed as an indicator or dominant in the following classifications:  1.  Forest types of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex [1]  2.  Classification of the forest vegetation of Wyoming [2]  3.  A preliminary classification on the natural vegetation of Colorado [4]  4.  Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington [21]  5.  Ecoclass coding system for the Pacific Northwest plant associations [27]  6.  Riparian site types, habitat types, and community types of southwestern        Montana [28]  7.  Classification and management of riparian sites in central and eastern        Montana [29]  8.  Plant association and management guide: Willamette National Forest [31]  9.  Preliminary forest habitat types of the Uinta Mountains, UT [32] 10.  Plant associations of south Chiloquin and Klamath Ranger        Districts--Winema National Forest [36] 11.  Habitat types on selected parts of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre National        Forests [42] 12.  Application of a forest habitat-type classification system in Michigan and        Wisconsin [44] 13.  Habitat type classification system for northern Wisconsin [45] 14.  Flora and major plant communities of the Ruby-East Humboldt Mountains        with special emphasis on Lamoille Canyon [48] 15.  Coniferous forest habitat types of northern Utah [52] 16.  Aspen community types of Utah [54] 17.  Forest habitat types of Montana [62] 18.  Climax vegetation of Montana based on soils and climate [67] 19.  Forest habitat types of central Idaho [70] 20.  Riparian classification for the Upper Salmon/Middle Fork Salmon River        drainages, Idaho [76] 21.  Plant associations in the central Oregon Pumice Zone [83] 22.  Forested plant associations of the Okanogan National Forests [86] 23.  Coniferous forest habitat types of central and southern Utah [87]

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Browse:  Dwarf bilberry browse apparently provides minimal forage for big game and domestic livestock [17,79].  This short-statured shrub may be buried by snow and is often unavailable during much of the winter [22].  However, certain Douglas-fir/dwarf bilberry habitat types of northwestern Montana, which commonly occur on relatively warm, dry sites where snow depths are not extreme, are preferred wintering areas for white-tailed deer, elk, and moose [6,23,62].  Lack of hiding cover may prevent deer from using recent clearcuts dominated by dwarf bilberry and other low shrubs [22]. Fruit:  The sweet, attractive berries are an important food source for many birds including the ruffed grouse, gray catbird, American robin, and eastern bluebird [72].  The spruce grouse, ptarmigans, scarlet tanager, bluebirds, thrushes, thrashers, titmice, blue grouse, and towhees feed on the berries of many species of Vaccinium [51,79].  The fruit of dwarf bilberry is readily eaten by small mammals such as the white-footed mouse, red fox, and fox squirrel [72,73].  Chipmunks, skunks, the common opossum, and raccoon also consume large amounts of huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) [51,79]. Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) are an extremely important food source for grizzly and black bears and both species typically adjust their seasonal ranges to exploit this resource most effectively [50,88]. Bears generally move from low elevation riparian areas to middle elevation berry fields as soon as huckleberries become ripe.  In western Montana, grizzly bears frequent open, midseral burns at higher elevations during late summer or fall when berries are at their peak ripeness [50].  The dwarf bilberry is generally less productive than the globe huckleberry (V. globulare) and fruit tends to be smaller. Nevertheless, dwarf bilberry is still considered an important grizzly bear food [89,90].  It is reported to be a "major" grizzly food in terrestrial spruce stands of floodplain complexes in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area of Montana.  Bench land habitat characterized by a dwarf huckleberry understory is extremely important to grizzly bears during fall in parts of British Columbia [89]. Reproductive success of black bears has been correlated with the size of huckleberry crops [50,66].  Similarly, cub survival appears to be reduced during years of low huckleberry availability [66].  Huckleberry crop failures increase the likelihood of bear-human encounters, as wide-ranging, hungry bears seeking alternate food sources come into contact with recreationists or home owners.  Damage to crops and beehives, as well as livestock losses, typically increase during poor huckleberry years. PALATABILITY : Dwarf bilberry browse is relatively unpalatable to most wild ungulates and to domestic livestock [17,77].  However, berries are highly palatable to black and grizzly bears, and to many small birds and mammals [47].  The palatability of dwarf bilberry has been rated as follows [18]:                         CO      MT      UT      WY Cattle                 poor    poor    poor    poor Sheep                  fair    fair    fair    fair Horses                 poor    poor    poor    poor Pronghorn              ----    ----    poor    poor Elk                    ----    ----    good    good Mule deer              ----    ----    good    good White-tailed deer      ----    ----    ----    good Small mammals          ----    ----    good    good Small nongame birds    ----    ----    good    good Upland game birds      ----    ----    good    good Waterfowl              ----    ----    poor    poor NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Huckleberry foliage (Vaccinium spp.) is relatively high in carotene and energy content [16].  Protein value of dwarf bilberry browse is rated as fair [18].  Fruits of dwarf bilberry are sweet and contain high concentrations of both mono- and disaccharides [72].  Huckleberries are high in vitamin C but low in fat [65].  The crude fat content of dwarf bilberry fruit averages approximately 3.80 percent [72]. COVER VALUE : Because of its low growth form, dwarf bilberry provides minimal cover for most large mammals.  However, dense thickets can serve as good cover for smaller birds and mammals.  Grand fir (Abies grandis)/dwarf huckleberry habitat types of central Idaho reportedly offer adequate cover for elk and white-tailed deer [70].  Cover value of dwarf huckleberry has been rated as follows [18]:                        UT      WY Pronghorn             poor    poor Elk                   poor    poor Mule deer             poor    poor White-tailed deer     ----    poor Small mammals         good    good Small nongame birds   fair    good Waterfowl             poor    poor VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : The dwarf bilberry has a fibrous, spreading root system [73] and can presumably aid in preventing soil erosion on some sites.  It is rated as having low to moderate value for short-term rehabilitation projects and moderate value for long-term rehabilitation [18]. Species within the genus Vaccinium can be propagated from hardwood cuttings [15].  Dwarf bilberry can also be grown from seed which averages 5,300,000 per pound (11,674/g) [15,73].  Seedlings grown in the greenhouse can be transplanted onto favorable sites 6 to 7 weeks after emergence [15].  Seed collection and storage techniques have been examined in detail [15]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Berries of the dwarf bilberry are edible [41,69] but of no economic importance [11].  Fruit is delicious when fresh or in jams and jellies [81].  Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) were an important traditional food source for many Native American peoples.  Berries of the dwarf huckleberry are often less abundant than those of other species and were presumably less important than those of more productive huckleberries. Numerous cultivars of huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) have been developed for use as ornamentals or in garden plantings [65].  The dwarf huckleberry can be used in landscaping and forms an attractive ground cover [73].  It was first cultivated in 1823 [15]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Chemical control:  Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) exhibit variable susceptibility to herbicides such as 2,4-D [7]. Recreational impacts:  Studies indicate that dwarf bilberry is moderately resistant to trampling by recreationists.  Short-term resilience is rated as moderate [13]. Timber harvest:  Dwarf bilberry often survives clearcutting which is followed by broadcast burns, although the shallow rhizomes may be killed by severe scarification [37].  Studies conducted in the Swan Valley of northwestern Montana suggest that dwarf bilberry responds more favorably to clearcutting than to other methods of timber harvest. Average cover by timber harvest method was documented as follows [23]:              treatment              average percent cover              untreated                      12              clearcut                       12              plantation                      3              seed tree                      10              selection                       3 Impacts of timber harvest on bears:  Despite good fruit production in clearcuts, bears may avoid these sites unless sufficient hiding cover is present.  The extent to which grizzly bears use clearcuts dominated by dwarf bilberry and other Vacciniums depends largely on the availability of cover.  The size and shape of cutting units as well as proximity of roads influence bear use.  In northern Idaho, black bears avoid clearcuts, but in parts of western Washington, 18- to 25-year-old clearcuts are used, although 9- to 14-year-old cuts are generally avoided.  In a northern Montana study, bears used 10-year-old clearcuts but did not utilize newer cuts [78].  Evidence suggests that grizzly bears may prefer older clearcuts with sufficient cover and areas burned by wildfires 25 to 60 years ago [50].  Berry production and grizzly bear use has been poorly documented with respect to the dwarf bilberry. Most research efforts have focused on the blue huckleberry complex (V. membranaceum-V. globulare) [see VACGLO]. Grizzly habitat value of huckleberry shrubfields can be increased by permanent or appropriate seasonal road closures, by coordinating timber harvest dates to have minimal impact on habitat use patterns, and by considering cumulative effects of habitat modification on adjacent areas.  Site preparation should include minimizing soil compaction, using broadcast burns rather than piling slash to generate hot fires, or by eliminating site preparation where possible.  Grizzly use can be favored by retaining hiding cover through treating small, irregular patches rather than large contiguous areas and by leaving stringers of timber in larger cuts [88].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Dwarf bilberry is a dwarf-to-low, spreading, rhizomatous shrub [34,71,80,81].  This often mat-forming shrub grows 2 to 20 inches (5-50 cm) in height [34,55,71,81].  Twigs are much-branched, angled, glaucous, and glabrous to puberulent [55,81,85].  When young, twigs are green, tannish, or reddish, but with age twigs become brown or brownish-gray [71,81].  The shreddy bark is yellowish-green, green, or reddish [34,73].  Roots of the dwarf bilberry are fibrous and spreading [73] and reach depths of 0 to 67 inches (0-170 cm) [57].  Plants are relatively short-lived [73]. The deciduous, alternate leaves are elliptic to oblanceolate or obovate, and widest well above midlength [40,47,60,71].  Leaves are acute or rounded at the apex, entire, crenulate or serrulate from the tip to middle, and 0.4 to 2 inches (1-5 cm) in length [34,73,84,85].  The upper surface is bright green and glabrous, whereas the lower surface is glandular and a paler, light green [30,34,81]. Flowers are urn or bell-shaped and borne singly in the axils of leaves [41,55,60].  The small, inconspicuous, waxy flowers are pink, white, or red [41,73,77].  Floral morphology of the dwarf bilberry has been considered in detail [59].  Fruit is a subglobose to globose berry which averages 0.2 to 0.8 inch (5-8 mm) in diameter [34,55,85].  Berries are dark blue to black with a glaucous bloom [47,71,85].  Fruit is sweet [34] but generally not produced in abundance [80].  Berries contain small, brown, cellular-pitted seeds [55,72]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Dwarf bilberry reproduces both sexually and vegetatively, although vegetative regeneration appears to be of primary importance. Seed:  Vaccinium seeds are not dormant and require no pretreatment for germination.  Seedlings first emerge within 1 month after seeds are planted, and germination continues over a long period of time if no cold stratification is provided.  Germination capacity of dwarf bilberry in laboratory tests was estimated at 96 percent [15].  Berries are sweet, nutritious, and highly attractive to mammalian dispersers. Colorful berries are also consumed in great numbers by both year-round resident and transient breeding birds which can effect long-distance dispersal.  The tough seeds generally pass through digestive tracts undamaged [72]. Dwarf bilberry seedlings are rarely observed under natural conditions in the West.  Germination may be limited to exceptional sites in favorable, moist years.  Seed stored on-site appears to contribute little to regeneration of this species [37].  Buried seeds have been recovered from the top 1.2 inches (3 cm) of soil in balsam fir (Abies balsamea)-white spruce (Picea glauca) forests of Quebec, but viability was very low (0-16 percent) [53]. Vegetative regeneration:  Dwarf bilberry is rhizomatous [55,71,80] and plants are often capable of sprouting after the crown is removed or damaged.  However, these regenerative structures are fairly shallow and can be damaged or eliminated by deep, duff-consuming fires or mechanical treatments which include severe soil scarification.  Twigs are capable of regenerating at the nodes [81] and vegetative expansion can occur even in the absence of disturbance. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Dwarf bilberry occurs at the margins of subalpine meadows, in mountain ravines, along riverbanks, near snowbanks, or along the shores of ponds and bogs [55,56,68,71,74,81,84].  It commonly grows on moist subalpine or alpine slopes and on mossy forest floors where it frequently forms a low, nearly continuous layer [41,84,85,46].  Dwarf huckleberry is particularly abundant on flat terraces, benches, or basins subject to frost [13,38]. Soils:  Dwarf bilberry grows well on medium-coarse, well-drained, granitic soils [73,79].  Most huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) require acidic soils and can grow on infertile sites which have relatively small amounts of many essential elements [43].  Dwarf bilberry commonly occurs on soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0 [73]. Elevation:  Dwarf bilberry extends through the subalpine zone to well above treeline [33].  In eastern North America, it typically occurs at higher elevations [68].  Generalized elevational ranges by state are as follows [18,55,81,85]:                      to 3,800 feet (1,200 m) in AK                    from 7,000 to 12,000 feet (2,134-3,660 m) in CA                         8,000 to 12,000 feet (2,438-3,660 m) in CO                         3,500 to 10,000 feet (1,067-3,048 m) in MT                         7,300 to 10,363 feet (2,225-3,420 m) in UT                         8,500 to 10,600 feet (2,591-3,233 m) in WY SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Dwarf bilberry occurs in climax Douglas-fir or spruce-fir forests throughout much of the West [54,67].  However, it is also considered an important seral shrub in many areas of western North America [26].  An extensive network of shallow rhizomes enables this shrub to rapidly reestablish after most light to moderate disturbances. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Dwarf bilberry flowers in late spring or summer with fruit maturation beginning immediately after flowering [72,79].  Fruit ripens in mid to late summer or fall, and seed dispersal occurs from July to September [72,73].  Leaves drop in early autumn [40].  However, specific phenological development varies annually according to weather conditions.  Seasonal development in various geographic locations has been documented as follows [18,53,55,60,68,81]:      location             flowering               fruiting        AK                 late May-mid July       August        CA                 June-July               -----        CO                 July                    -----      n ID                 May-July                -----      New England          June 1-June 27          -----        QC                 June-July               July-September        UT                 June                    -----

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Patches of dwarf bilberry commonly develop after fire in lodgepole pine and fir-spruce communities of the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains [30,46].  This shrub is also a prominent constituent of postfire communities in black spruce forests of eastern Canada [20]. The widespread representation of dwarf bilberry in many postfire communities suggests that it is capable of surviving many, if not most, fires.  Dwarf bilberry has shallow rhizomes [55] and can presumably sprout after fires of light or moderate severity [37].  Berries are well adapted to animal dispersal and can be transported long distances [37,72].  Very limited seedling establishment from off-site sources may occur in favorable years, but vegetative regeneration appears to be of primary importance in the postfire reestablishment of most Vacciniums. Martin [50] notes that "the role of fire in establishing new populations of western Vacciniums or in maintaining existing ones, is not well-documented." Many sites occupied by dwarf bilberry burn infrequently.  Areas such as wet meadows, bog and pond margins, and areas below timberline which are too rocky to support trees are unlikely to experience fires at frequent intervals.  However, fire is an important influence in many forested communities.  Fire-free intervals have been estimated at 20 years in Douglas-fir/dwarf bilberry forests in the Swan Valley of northwestern Montana and at 28 years in the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana.  Fire-free intervals of 17 years have been suggested for spruce/queencup beadlily-dwarf bilberry habitat types of western Montana [22]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Underground portions of dwarf bilberry can survive most light to moderate fires.  However, rhizomes are relatively shallow and may be killed by hot duff-reducing fires [37]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Seedling establishment:  Seed banking does not appear to be an important postfire regenerative strategy of dwarf bilberry.  Although seeds were observed within the top 1.2 inches (3 cm) of soil in paper birch-balsam fir-white spruce forests of Quebec, viability was low and few seedlings could be expected to develop from seed stored on-site [53].  Seeds of dwarf bilberry are dispersed considerable distances by birds and mammals [37,72].  Seeds are generally unharmed by digestive processes and can germinate on favorable sites during moist years. Vegetative regeneration:  Shallow rhizomes may enable dwarf bilberry to sprout and quickly reoccupy a site after most light to moderate fires [37].  After severe treatments in which rhizomes are eliminated, reestablishment most likely proceeds slowly through seedling establishment or clonal expansion at the burn's periphery.  Following small, patchy fires, such as those occurring after lighting strikes on high elevation sites with discontinuous fuels, reestablishment would presumably occur through rhizomatous spreading from the perimeter of the burn. Postfire reestablishment:  Light fires may favor dwarf bilberry by reducing competitors, increasing nutrient availability, and opening the canopy so that greater amounts of light reaches low shrubs. Reestablishment is rapid where rhizomes are capable of sprouting. Postfire cover can greatly exceed prefire levels [20].  In parts of the central Rockies, light fires in high elevation spruce-fir forests create a ground cover made up primarily of dwarf bilberry and a "few hardy herbaceous ... relics" [46].  Postfire increases in dwarf bilberry have also been reported in eastern North America.  After fire in a black spruce community in Labrador, frequency of dwarf bilberry was 44.4 percent in unburned stands compared with 63.1 percent in burned stands [20]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including dwarf bilberry, that was not available when this species review was written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Postharvest treatment:  Dwarf bilberry can often survive broadcast burns which follow timber harvest [37].  However, shallow rhizomes can be seriously damaged by hot burns which occur in piled slash or where fuel loading is heavy. Wildlife:  Evidence suggests that fire suppression may have an adverse impact on bear habitat [78,88].  Once productive seral berry fields are currently being invaded by conifers.  Logging treatments which include severe soil scarification or slash fires may also result in decreased berry availability.  Even where timber harvest favors berry production, lack of cover in early years can limit bear use.  However, wildfires often create diverse habitat mosaics which include elements of hiding cover which favors bear use.  Succession proceeds slowly on high elevation berry fields, particularly on south slopes, and fires often generate shrubfields that remain productive for long periods of time [88]. Prescribed fire:  Prescribed fires, particularly those carried out during the spring, may increase berry production for bears and other animals.  Little research has been conducted on dwarf bilberry, although the use of prescribed fire has been evaluated with respect to blue huckleberries (Vaccinium globulare, Vaccinium membranaceum).  [see VACGLO].  Light or moderate burns, conducted when the soil is somewhat moist, may be most effective in promoting western huckleberries [50].

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Vaccinium caespitosum
REFERENCES : 1.  Agee, James K.; Kertis, Jane. 1987. Forest types of the North Cascades        National Park Service Complex. Canadian Journal of Botany. 65:        1520-1530.  [6327] 2.  Alexander, Robert R. 1986. Classification of the forest vegetation of        Wyoming. Res. Note RM-466. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station. 10 p.  [304] 3.  Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada.        Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p.  [9928] 4.  Baker, William L. 1984. A preliminary classification of the natural        vegetation of Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist. 44(4): 647-676.  [380] 5.  Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals,        reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's        associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. 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