Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Pinus lambertiana


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Habeck, R. J. 1992. Pinus lambertiana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : PINLAM SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : PILA COMMON NAMES : sugar pine TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of sugar pine is Pinus lambertiana Dougl. [24]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Sugar pine extends from the western slope of the Cascade Range in north-central Oregon to the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in Baja California. Its distribution is almost continuous through the Klamath and Siskiyou mountains and on western slopes of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada. Smaller and more disjunct populations are found in the Coast Range of southern Oregon and California, Transverse and Peninsula ranges of southern California, and east of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada crests. Its southern extremity is an isolated population high on a plateau in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in Baja California, Mexico.  Over 80 percent of its distribution is in California [16,21]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES27  Redwood    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub STATES :      CA  NV  OR  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :    1  Northern Pacific Border    3  Southern Pacific Border    4  Sierra Mountains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K005  Mixed conifer forest    K006  Redwood forest    K007  Red fir forest    K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest    K010  Ponderosa shrub forest    K034  Montane chaparral SAF COVER TYPES :    207  Red fir    211  White fir    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    231  Port-Orford-cedar    232  Redwood    234  Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir    246  California black oak    247  Jeffrey pine    249  Canyon live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Sugar pine usually occurs in mixed-conifer forest stands with a wide variety of overstory associates including ponderosa and Jeffrey pine (Pinus ponderosa and P. jeffreyi), California red fir (Abies magnifica), white fir (A. concolor), noble fir (A. procera), and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) [4,21].  In southern California, sugar pine is characteristically found in vegetation types of the woodland and timberland chaparral zones.  Canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) is found with sugar pine on more mesic sites, while at higher elevations sugar pine occurs with mountain whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus), Parry manzanita (Arctostaphylos parryana var. pinctorum), and bush chinquapin (Chrysolepsis sempervirens) [14]. Publications listing sugar pine as a codominant species in plant vegetation types (vts) or community types (cts) are listed as follows: Area                   Classification                       Authority ----                   --------------                       --------- s CA                    forest (vts)                        Horton 1960 s CA                    forest (cts)                        Thorne 1977   CA                    forest (cts)                        Thorne 1976


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : High-grade sugar pine lumber is sought after for its dimensional stability and workability.  The wood is light and resists deformity.  It is easily milled and is favored for molding, window and door frames, window sashes, doors, and other special products like piano keys and organ pipes [16]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Birds and mammals use sugar pine as a source of food and shelter. Douglas' squirrels and white-headed woodpeckers have been noted to occupy sugar pine trees [16]. PALATABILITY : Sugar pine is considered low in palatability to livestock and wildlife. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : Sugar pine is used for cover by wildlife.  Early in sugar pine development, large mammals use dense stands as hiding and thermal cover. Mature trees are used by arboreal species such as birds, squirrels, and other small mammals.  Old-growth sugar pine is prime habitat for cavity nesters such as woodpeckers and owls [16]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Native Americans used the pitch from sugar pine to repair canoes and to fasten arrowheads and feathers to shafts [2]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Sugar pine is planted on a vast scale in Oregon and California, and also has been tried in several countries around the world.  Large-scale plantings, however, are few due to establishment difficulties and restrictive site requirements for good growth [21].  Sugar pine does not self-prune; therefore, high-quality clear-lumber requires the pruning of lower limbs.  It is the most tolerant to oxidant air pollution among its coniferous associates [8,16]. Disease:  Sugar pine is highly susceptible to white pine blister rust caused by the fungus Cronartium ribicola.  Among commercially important North American white pines, sugar pine is the most susceptible to this disease.  Infected seedlings and young trees are inevitably killed by cankers girdling the main stem.  Incidence and intensity of infection on sugar pine are highest in Oregon and northern California and become progressively less to the south, as the climate becomes warmer and drier.  Dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium californicum) may seriously damage infected trees, but spread is slow and can be controlled by sanitation cutting [13,16,21]. Insects:  The most damaging insect threatening sugar pine is the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae).  During periods of drought, other insects such as the red turpentine beetle (D. valens) and California flathead borer (Melanophila californica) usually attack unhealthy trees and those under moisture stress.  The sugar pine cone beetle (Conophthorus lambertianae) is extremely destructive to developing second-year cones [5,16]. Animals:  Small mammals such as pocket mice, jumping mice, chipmunks, and ground squirrels forage on young seedlings, thus reducing regeneration on disturbed sites [3].


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Sugar pines may live 400 to 500 years and are second only to giant sequoia (Sequoia gigantea) in total volume.  A record sugar pine in California measured 216 feet (66 m) tall and 122 inches (310 cm) in d.b.h.  Trees up to 250 feet (76 m) tall and 10 feet (3 m) in diameter have been reported.  Mature sugar pine cones are among the largest of all conifers, averaging 12 inches (30 cm) in length, and can reach 22 inches (56 cm) long.  Its needles are 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and have five to a cluster.  Sugar pines pyramidal crown has whorls of horizontal branches with several conspicuously longer than others.  Its sap contains a sugary substance [7,16,21]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sugar pine does not sprout, but young trees can be rooted from cuttings. Its primary regeneration strategy is via seed [3,16]. Flowering and fruiting:  Sugar pine is monoecious.  Reproductive buds are set in July and August, but are not discernible until late the next spring.  Time of pollination ranges from late May to early August, depending on elevation.  Female strobili are approximately 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5.0 cm) long when pollinated and may double in size by the end of the growing season.  Fertilization occurs the following spring, approximately 12 months after pollination.  Dates of cone opening range from mid-August at low elevations to early October at high elevations. Sugar pine does not become a good cone producer until it has attained a diameter of about 30 inches (75 cm) or is about 150 years old [2,16]. Seed production and dissemination:  Mature trees produce large amounts of seeds, averaging up to 150 seeds per cone.  In good crop years, the proportion of sound seeds is usually high (67 to 99 percent) but in light crop years can fall as low as 28 percent.  Seed shed may begin in late August at low elevations and at higher elevations is usually complete by the end of October.  Seeds are large and heavy, averaging 2,100 seeds per pound (4,630/kg).  Seeds are not dispersed great distances by wind, and 80 percent fall within 100 feet (30 m) of the source.  Birds and small mammals aid in seed dissemination [16]. Seedling development:  Sugar pine seeds may lie dormant, but dormancy can be broken by a 60 to 90 day stratification.  Fresh seed may germinate with a 90 percent success rate if adequately ripened, cleaned, and stratified.  Losses due to unprepared seedbeds, drought, insects, and rodents may be high.  Germination is epigeal.  Seedlings rapidly grow a deep taproot when seeds germinate on mineral soil.  Seedlings will germinate on both litter and bare mineral soil, but development is slow under shade conditions.  After 2 years, taproots range from 22 to 40 inches (56-102 cm) deep.  Planting sugar pine has met with some failure.  A low drought tolerance may be the determining factor.  Sowing stratified seed in February or March extends the growing season and produces healthy seedlings of plantable size in one season [4,16]. Growth and yield:  Early growth of sugar pine is slow compared to ponderosa pine but increases rapidly in the pole stage and continues through maturity.  On favorable sites, growth increments in basal area of 2.5 percent or more can be sustained for up to 100 to 150 years.  The best growth can be found between 4,500 to 6,000 feet (1,370-1,830 m) in the central Sierra Nevada, between the American and San Joaquin Rivers. Sugar pine is semitolerant to shade and may exhibit poor growth if seedlings are enclosed by brush.  Sugar pine is a deep-rooted species that is not susceptible to windthrow [9,16,21]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Sugar pine is found on a variety of sites from moist, steep, north- and east-facing slopes, to more mesic, south-facing slopes.  The fuels under sugar pine are generally heavy with deep soils. Climate:  Temperature and precipitation vary widely throughout the range of sugar pine.  The general weather pattern consists of hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.  Precipitation during July and August is usually less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) per month and summertime relative humidities are low.  Most precipitation occurs between November and April, mostly in the form of snow at middle elevations.  Total precipitation varies from 33 to 69 inches (83-173 cm) per year [16]. Soils and topography:  Soil parent material include rocks of volcanic, granitic, and sedimentary origin.  Soils formed from peridotite or serpentinite typically support sugar pine stands of inferior growth and quality.  The most extensive soils supporting sugar pine are well-drained, moderately to rapidly permeable, and slightly acidic to neutral pH (7.0).  Best development of sugar pine is on mesic soils with sandy to clayey loam textures.  Much of the terrain occupied by sugar pine is steep and rugged.  Sugar pines are equally distributed on all aspects at lower elevations but grow best on warm exposures as elevation increases.  Optimum growth occurs on gentle terrain at middle elevations [16]. Elevation:  Sugar pine ranges from near sea level in the Coast Range to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the Transverse Range.  Elevational limits increase with decreasing latitude.  Typical elevational ranges are as follows [16]:                    Cascade Range:  1,100 to  5,400 feet (335-1,645 m)                      Sierra Nevada:  2,000 to  7,500 feet (610-2,285 m)          Sierra San Pedro Mártir:  7,056 to  9,100 feet (2,150-2,775 m) Transverse and Peninsular Ranges:  4,000 to 10,000 feet (1,220-3,000 m) SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Sugar pine is primarily an early-seral to seral species.  It is rarely found in pure stands.  When sugar pine is found to be the dominant species in old-growth stands, it most often was dominant to begin with or released by natural causes.  White fir would usually be the climax species in mixed conifer forest in the absence of any natural disturbances.  When disturbance does occur, it creates gaps in which sugar pine is well adapted to grow [3,4,16,25]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Seasonal growth durations of sugar pine at various elevations in the Sierra Nevada are as follows [11]:                    Height           Radial                    Growth*          Growth                    ------           ------ Start (days)**       146              107 Start (date)       May 26         April 17 Length (days)         51              129 Rapidity (days)       15               46 * An 8-year average. ** Number of days from January 1.


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Sugar pine is very resistant to low- to moderate-severity fires.  It has adapted a thick, fire-resistant bark and open canopy that retards aerial fire spread.  Young sugar pine seedlings prefer bare mineral seedbeds [2,3]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2    off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2


SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Sugar pine is rated as intermediate in fire tolerance.  Young sugar pines are susceptible to low- to high-severity fires.  Mature trees can survive most fires, suffering only bole scorch.  Sugar pine susceptibility to secondary attack by insects and disease following fire is rated as low [3]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : The Research Project Summary Plant response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture in mixed-conifer forests of California provides information on prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant community species including sugar pine. Near the Plumas National Forest, prescribed fire in a mixed-conifer-California black oak forest with a sugar pine component successfully reduced fuel load. When a wildfire burned through the site previously burned under prescription, fire severity and fire suppression costs were less compared to adjacent land where fire had been excluded [27]. For further information on this study, see the Research Paper by Moghaddas [27]. A fall prescribed fire in the Tharp Creek Watershed of Sequoia National Park produced 17.2% and 11.7% average annual sugar pine mortality on 2 white fir-mixed conifer sites 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 area (m˛/ha) changes were also monitored before and after the fire. Mean annual percent change in sugar pine basal area increased by an average of 0.17% and 1.39% on the 2 burned sites before the fire compared to the control site.  From 1989 to 1994 (includes 1 year of prefire data), sugar pine basal area was reduced 4.28% to 15.67% on the burned sites compared to the control [28]. For more information, see the entire Research Paper by Mutch and Parsons [28]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Sugar pine reaction to a low-severity fire is by seeding on the exposed mineral soil, thus enhancing germination.  High-severity fires that occur during periods of high stress will generally result in death [3,16]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed burning has been found to be an effective management treatment that will destroy infected stands of sugar pine where dwarf mistletoe and other diseases have rendered stands unmerchantable [1]. Dead sugar pine is susceptible to blue stain fungus in the sapwood; however, the heartwood is very durable.  Salvagable trees may be found up to 17 years after being killed by fire [15].

References for species: Pinus lambertiana

1. Alexander, Martin E.; Hawksworth, Frank G. 1975. Wildland fires and dwarf mistletoes: a literature review of ecology and prescribed buring. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-14. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [15583]
2. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]
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]
4. Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. 1977. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1002 p. [388]
5. Bedard, William D. 1966. High temperature mortality of the sugar-pine cone beetle, Conophthorus lambertianae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). The Canadian Entomologist. 98: 152-157. [12261]
6. 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]
7. Brockman, C. Frank. 1979. Trees of North America. New York: Golden Press. 280 p. [16867]
8. Campbell, Robert K.; Sugano, Albert I. 1987. Seed zones and breeding zones for sugar pine in southwestern Oregon. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-383. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 p. [15819]
9. Dale, Virginia H.; Hemstrom, Miles A.; Franklin, Jerry F. 1984. The effect of disturbance frequency on forest succession in the Pacific Northwest. In: New forests for a changing world: Proceedings of the 1983 convention of The Society of American Foresters; 1983 October 16-20; Portland, OR. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 300-304. [4781]
10. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
11. Fowells, H. A. 1941. The period of seasonal growth of ponderosa pine and associated species. Journal of Forestry. 39: 601-608. [12690]
12. 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]
13. Hoff, R.; Bingham, R. T.; McDonald, G. I. 1980. Relative blister rust resistance of white pines. European Journal of Forest Pathology. 10(5): 307-316. [1177]
14. Horton, Jerome S. 1960. Vegetation types of the San Bernardino Mountains. Tech. Rep. PSW-44. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. [10687]
15. Kimmey, James W. 1955. Rate of deterioration of fire-killed timber in California. Circular No. 962. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 22 p. [15547]
16. Kinloch, Bohun B., Jr.; Scheuner, William. 1990. Pinus lambertiana Dougl. sugar pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agricultural Handbook 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 370-379. [13194]
17. 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]
18. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496]
19. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
20. Spencer, Donald A. 1955. The effects of rodents on reforestation. Proceedings, Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting: 125-128. [16769]
21. Steinhoff, R. J. 1972. White pines of western North America and Central America. In: Bingham, Richard: Hoff, Raymond J., tech. coords. In: Biology of rust resistance in forest trees: Proceedings of a NATO/IUFRO Advanced Study Institute; August 17-24, 1969: Washington, DC. Misc. Pub. 1221. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 215-232. [30287]
22. 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]
23. Thorne, Robert F. 1977. Montane and subalpine forests of the Transverse and Peninsular ranges. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 537-557. [7214]
24. 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]
25. Yeaton, Richard I. 1983. The successional replacement of ponderosa pine by sugar pine in the Sierra Nevada. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 110(3): 292-297. [17348]
26. Kilgore, Bruce M. 1973. Impact of prescribed burning on a Sequoia-mixed conifer forest. In: Proceedings, Annual Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference; 1972 June 8-10; Lubbock, TX. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 345-375.  [6270]
27. Moghaddas, Jason J. 2006. A fuel treatment reduces potential fire severity and increases suppression efficiency in a Sierran mixed conifer forest. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps.  Fuels management--how to measure success: conference proceedings;  2006 March 28-30; Portland, OR.  Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 441-449. [65172]

28. 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]