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U.S. Forest Service

Oak - Pine Forests

Patch of oak-pine forest. This patch of oak-pine forest in the Pinaleno Mountains consists of a few scattered pine trees in what would otherwise be evergreen oak woodland. This is fairly typical for this plant community. Photo by Charlie McDonald.

Apache pine. Apache pine is distinguished from other pines in the area by its very long needles. Photo by Kretyen at

These forests occur at elevations of 5,500-7,500 feet. They are composed almost entirely of species with southern origins. Two pines, Chihuahuan pine (Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana) and Apache pine (P. engelmannii), and two evergreen oaks, silverleaf oak (Quercus hypoleucoides)and netleaf oak (Q. rugosa), predominate. These are forests of relatively short stature. The pines never form a closed canopy and are 40-80 feet tall, the oaks are 20-50 feet tall. These forests are found in almost all the Sky Island mountain ranges.

Further Reading

Bennett, P.S., M.R. Kunzmann and L.A. Graham. 2004. Descriptions of Arizona vegetation represented on the gap vegetation map. (PDF)

A large Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii). A large Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii). Photo by ChrisM at