Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Alnus rhombifolia


Introductory

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Uchytil, Ronald J. 1989. Alnus rhombifolia. 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 : ALNRHO SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ALRH2 COMMON NAMES : white alder Sierra alder TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for white alder is Alnus rhombifolia Nutt. [13,20,22,24,27]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : White alder is distributed from the Pacific coast of Baja California, north in the coastal valleys to just north of San Francisco Bay, in the interior foothills of the Coast Ranges and low to mid elevation slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It is found farther north along the lower eastern slopes of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington and in the dry interior valleys of Oregon, extending into southern British Columbia. It extends eastward along the main tributaries of the Columbia River to the lower valleys of southeastern and south-central Washington, and northeastern Oregon, reaching its eastern limits in Idaho along the Clearwater and Snake Rivers [22]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES27 Redwood FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES42 Annual grasslands STATES : CA ID NV OR WA BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K005 Mixed conifer forest K006 Redwood forest K011 Western ponderosa forest K024 Juniper steppe woodland K025 Alder - ash forest K026 Oregon oakwoods K029 California mixed evergreen forest K030 California oakwoods K033 Chaparral K048 California steppe K055 Sagebrush steppe SAF COVER TYPES : 211 White fir 221 Red alder 222 Black cottonwood - willow 229 Pacific Douglas-fir 232 Redwood 234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone 239 Pinyon - juniper woodlands 243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer 244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir 245 Pacific ponderosa pine 247 Jeffrey pine 248 Knobcone pine 249 Canyon live oak 255 California coast live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : White alder is restricted to riparian woodland communities. In these communities it is often found with Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), California sycamore (Platanus racemosa), willows (Salix spp.), ash (Fraxinus spp.), California live oak (Quercus agrifolia), valley oak (Q. lobata), and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) [2,30,31,39]. Plublished classification schemes listing white alder as a dominant part of the vegetation in community types (cts), habitat types (hts), or plant associations (pas) are presented below: Area Classification Authority CA hardwood forest&woodland cts Barbour 1987 s CA general veg. pas Paysen & others 1980 CA:San Gabriel Mts general veg. cts Hanes 1976 CA:Santa Ana&San general veg. cts Vogl 1976 Jacinto Mts CA:San Bernardino general veg. cts Minnich 1976 Mts sw USA wetland cts Brown 1979 e Wa,nID steppe hts Daubenmire 1970

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The extent of white alder stands is limited. Compared to other California hardwoods, white alder is a minor contributor of wood products. However, white alder trees have straight boles and can therefore be harvested as efficiently and safely as conifer trees. They are cut mostly for saw logs because they have a high saw log volume in relation to total tree volume [5]. This alder is commonly used for firewood. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : The leaves and young twigs of white alder are lightly browsed by domestic livestock [32]. Game animals eat white alder twigs, leaves, and buds to a small degree. Maximum consumption is probably in the fall, winter, and early spring [32,37]. Alder (Alnus spp.) bark is used by beavers for food and also for building dams and lodges. Alder seeds are eaten by redpolls, siskins, and goldfinches [37]. As a member of riparian woodland communities, white alder contributes to structural diversity which is an important habitat requirement of many avian species. Riparian woodlands support a higher diversity and density of breeding birds in California than any other habitat [14,17]. PALATABILITY : The degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife for white alder in California is as follows [32]: Cattle poor to useless Sheep fair to poor Horses useless Deer fair to useless NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : When growing with other riparian trees, white alder contributes to structural diversity, providing cover and structure for numerous perching birds [17]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Within recent years, white alder's use in revegetating disturbed riparian areas has increased. It has been planted with other native plants to approximate the original stream vegetation in restoration projects [42] and to stabilize flood control channels [16] and levees [41]. White alder requires a constant water suppply. Irrigation may therefore be needed to aid in the establishment of transplants. Since vandalism has become a serious problem in urban California, sprinkler heads and irrigation equipment should not be placed in easily accessible areas [16]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : White alder can be used as a shade tree in residential landscaping if watered sufficiently [32]. Native Americans used this alder to make a red dye for their baskets and a tea to induce perspiration during their sweat lodge ceremonies [9]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Due to urbanization, riparian woodlands in California are being cleared at an alarming rate. This has caused the loss of thousands of acres of white alder stands. The cutting of these riparian woodlands has caused the loss of wildlife habitat, stream channelization, and floodplain filling [40]. From a wildlife standpoint, it is important to protect remaining riparian forests, as more species of birds breed in riparian forests in California than any other habitat [33].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : White alder is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree. It ranges from 16 to 115 feet (5-35 m) in height, but mature trees are typically 50 to 80 feet (15-24 m) tall [1,22,34]. In California, trees commonly reach 11 inches (28 cm) in d.b.h. and can reach up to 21 inches (53 cm) in d.b.h. [5]. The largest tree on record is 112 feet (35 m) tall with a 38.6 inch (98 cm) diameter. Mature trees typically have several trunks arising from a single clump. The bark is light gray, whitish, smooth or slightly rough on young trees but becomes plated and reddish brown at maturity [13]. The leaves are 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) long, oblong-ovate, with coarsely double-toothed margins, dark green above and light green beneath [32]. Male and female flowers occur on the same tree in catkins. The drooping staminate catkins are 1.25 to 4 inches (3-10 cm) long, with two to several clustered near the end of a twig. Pistillate catkins are erect, 0.4 to 0.6 inch (10-15 mm) long, turning woody and conelike at maturity [13,20]. White alder is closely related to red alder (Alnus rubra). Although the two species are difficult to differentiate when growing together, their distribution and habitats do not overlap to any great extent. In the summer, leaf characteristics can be used to separate these alders. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte Hemicryptophyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : White alder regenerates well from both seeds and sprouts. Seeds seem to be important in the colonization of new areas, such as sand bars, but established plants show a high degree of vegetative reproduction, mostly from root or trunk sprouting [32,35]. In a California riparian study, 60 to 70 percent of mature or pole-sized white alder trees had either root or trunk sprouts [35]. Another California riparian study found that stands growing on river sediments reproduced mostly from layering [25]. Layering did not occur after terrace buildup along the river caused the ground surface to become higher and therefore drier. White alder trees are monecious and primarily wind pollinated. After fertilization, female catkins develop into woody cones, which contain numerous, winged, nutlike seeds [34]. There are approximately 650,000 air dried seeds per pound (1,430,000/kg), of which about 65 to 71 percent are viable [34]. The wind and water transported seeds germinate rapidly on sunny, wet mineral sites exposed from receding flood waters. Seedling establishment appears restricted to sites with a continuously moist substrate. Seedlings probably do not survive on sites that dry out during the summer [6]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : White alder occurs primarily in forest riparian areas but also extends along major streams into nonforested bunchgrass, sagebrush-grass, and chaparral types [22]. It is restricted to streams that run all year, and in dry years is a better indicator of water than either cottonwoods or willows [1,21]. Trees are mostly restricted to the flooding zone and become infrequent farther away from streams [6,8,25,35]. Throughout most of California, white alder is often a dominant or codominant in riparian deciduous forests [21,31]. White alder tends to replace red alder in the southerly valleys between the Cascades and the Coastal Range in Washington and Oregon [12]. Associates: Common associates are Fremont cottonwood, Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), velvet ash (F. velutina), arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis), red willow (S. laevigata), Pacific willow (S. lasiandra), Hinds willow (S. hindsiana), boxelder (Acer negundo), valley oak (Quercus lobata), and Oregon white oak (Q. garryana) [2,8,31]. In California, white alder occurs at elevations ranging from sea level to over 8,000 feet (2,438 m) [18]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : White alder is a riparian pioneer species. It produces large quantities of wind- and water-transported seed, which often colonize fine-textured soils of sandbars or other fresh alluvium exposed by receding flood waters [6,25]. Seedling establishment appears restricted to these areas which have continuously moist substrates. With time, some stands form a dominant canopy and may be self-perpetuating. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : White alder is a deciduous tree. In Oregon, white alder flowers in March and the fruits ripen in late September to early October [34]. In the southern portion of its range in southern California, it retains its leaves most of the year, but farther north leaves are shed before the onset of winter [34].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : White alder plants are not fire resistant. However, since they are restricted to streamside habitats which burn infrequently, plants may escape fire. Along the San Gabriel River in California, Brothers [6] observed no evidence of fire on large white alder trees which were older than the last major fire in the area. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : A study of riparian vegetation following a July high intensity fire in southern California found that about 97 percent of white alder trees were killed, while associated oaks, sycamores, and cottonwoods were top-killed only and resprouted vigorously (Barro 1989, pers. comm.) DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : A California riparian study found that 60 to 70 percent of mature, white alder trees had either root or trunk sprouts [35]. With this high degree of vegetative regeneration one would expect this plant to sprout following the removal of aboveground vegetation by fire. However, Barro (1989 pers. comm.) found that about 97 percent of white alder died from a high intensity July wildfire. These plants did not resprout. White alder has light wind-dispersed seed that normally establishes on moist alluvium left bare from receding flood waters. Fires that remove organic soil layers and expose mineral soils, may possibly provide favorable seedbeds for the establishment of white alder seed, providing the soil remains moist. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Alnus rhombifolia
REFERENCES : 1. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208] 2. Barbour, Michael G. 1987. Community ecology and distribution of California hardwood forests and woodlands. In: Plumb, Timothy R.; Pillsbury, Norman H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on multiple-use management of California's hardwood resources; 1986 November 12-14; San Luis Obispo, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-100. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-25. [5356] 3. Barro 1989, pers. comm. 4. 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. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 5. Bolsinger, Charles L. 1988. The hardwoods of California's timberlands, woodlands, and savannas. Resour. Bull. PNW-RB-148. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 148 p. [5291] 6. Brothers, Timothy S. 1985. Riparian species distributions in relation to stream dynamics, San Gabriel River, California. Los Angeles: University of California. 120 p. Dissertation. [8971] 7. Brown, David E. 1979. Southwestern wetlands - their classification and characteristics. In: Johnson, R. Roy; McCormick, J. Frank, technical coordinators. Strategies for protection and management of floodplain wetlands & other riparian ecosystems: Proc. of the symposium; 1978 December 11-13; Callaway Gardens, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 269-282. [4366] 8. Conard, Susan G.; MacDonald, Rod L.; Holland, Robert F. 1980. Riparian vegetation and flora of the Sacramento Valley. In: Sands, Anne, editor. Riparian forests in California: Their ecology and conservation: Symposium proceedings; 1977 May 14; Davis, CA. Davis, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences: 47-55. [5285] 9. Dale, Nancy. 1986. Flowering plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, coastal and chaparral regions of southern California. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press. In coooperation with: The California Native Plant Society. 239 p. [7605] 10. Daubenmire, R. 1970. Steppe vegetation of Washington. Technical Bulletin 62. Pullman, WA: Washington State University, College of Agriculture, Washington Agricultural Experiment Station. 131 p. [733] 11. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 12. 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] 13. Furlow, John J. 1979. The systematics of the American species of Alnus (Betulaceae) Part 1. Rhodora. 81(825): 1-121. [6195] 14. Gaines, David A. 1980. The valley riparian forests of California: their importance to bird populations. In: Sands, Anne, editor. Riparian forests in California: Their ecology and conservation: Symposium proceedings; 1977 May 14; Davis, CA. Davis, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences: 57-85. [5286] 15. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 16. Goldner, Bernard H. 1984. Riparian restoration efforts associated with structurally modified flood control channels. 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Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 65-76. [4227] 20. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1964. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 597 p. [1166] 21. Holstein, Glen. 1984. California riparian forests: deciduous islands in an evergreen sea. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of a conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 2-22. [5830] 22. Johnson, D. 1968. Taxonomy and distribution of northwestern alders. In: Trappe, J. M.; Franklin, J. F.; Tarrant, R. F.; Hansen, G. M., ed. Biology of alder; 1967 April 14-15; Pullman, WA. Portland, OR: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 9-22. [6187] 23. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 24. 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] 25. McBride, Joe R.; Strahan, Jan. 1984. Fluvial processesand woodland succession along Dry Creek, Sonoma County, California. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of a conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 110-119. [5832] 26. Minnich, Richard A. 1976. Vegetation of the San Bernardino Mountains. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 99-124. [4232] 27. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1959. A California flora. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press. 1104 p. [4592] 28. Paysen, Timothy E.; Derby, Jeanine A.; Black, Hugh, Jr.; [and others]. 1980. A vegetation classification system applied to southern California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-45. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 33 p. [1849] 29. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 30. Roberts, R. Chad. 1984. The transitional nature of northwestern California riparian systems. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of the conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 85-91. [5828] 31. Roberts, Warren G.; Howe, J. Greg; Major, Jack. 1980. A survey of riparian forest flora and fauna in California. In: Sands, Anne, editor. Riparian forests in California: Their ecology and conservation: Symposium proceedings. Davis, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences: 3-19. [5271] 32. Sampson, Arthur W.; Jespersen, Beryl S. 1963. California range brushlands and browse plants. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences, California Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service. 162 p. [3240] 33. Sands, Anne. 1979. Public involvement in riparian habitat protection: A California case history. In: Johnson, R. Roy; McCormick, J. Frank, technical coordinators. Strategies for protection and management of floodplain wetlands & other riparian ecosystems: Proc. of the symposium; 1978 December 11-13; Callaway Gardens, GA. General Technical Report WO-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 216-227. [4362] 34. Schopmeyer, C. S. 1974. Alnus B. Ehrh. alder. 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: 206-211. [7460] 35. Shanfield, Allan N. 1984. Alder, cottonwood, and sycamore distribution and regeneration along the Nacimiento River, California. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of a conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 196-202. [5834] 36. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 37. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387] 38. 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] 39. Vogl, Richard J. 1976. An introduction to the plant communities of the Santa Ana and San Jacinto Mountains. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 77-98. [4230] 40. Wheeler, Gary P.; Fancher, Jack M. 1984. San Diego County riparian systems: current threats and statutory protection efforts. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 838-843. [5875] 41. Whitlow, Thomas H.; Harris, Richard W.; Leiser, Andrew T. 1984. Experimenting with levee vegetation: some unexpected findings. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of a conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 558-565. [5858] 42. Wolfe, Douglas. 1988. Recreating a "natural" riparian environment, or getting the creek out of the culvert. In: Rieger, John P.; Williams, Bradford K., eds. Proceedings of the second native plant revegetation symposium; 1987 April 15-18; San Diego, CA. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin - Arboretum, Society of Ecological Restoration & Management: 193-197. [4114]


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