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Ecoregions of Washington State BES 489Winter 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecoregions of Washington State BES 489Winter 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecoregions of Washington State BES 489Winter 2009

2 Washington State Ecoregions Sitka Spruce Western Hemlock Palouse Prairie Douglas-fir / Grand fir West-side Montane To Alpine Ponderosa Pine Shrub Steppe West-side Montane – Alpine: Silver fir; Mountain hemlock; Subalpine fir; Alpine Marine Nearshore

3 Marine Nearshore Ecoregion Ecoregion below mean low low tide We will only address the upper edge of these ecosystems in examining shoreline ecosystems of Sitka Spruce (outer coast) and Western Hemlock (Puget Sound) ecoregions

4 Sitka Spruce Ecoregion Bothell Riparian Coastal Bogs Sitka Spruce Forests Shoreline Ecosystems: Rocky intertidal Beach / Dune Estuaries Typical Ecosystems:

5 Outer Coast Toleak Point Sitka spruce forest High energy shorelines

6 Rocky Intertidal Outer Coast Characteristic ecosystem of high energy shorelines

7 Rocky Intertidal Fidalgo Head, Deception Pass Fucus zone Upper intertidal Sharp biological zonation

8 Rocky Intertidal Rialto Beach Mussels (Mytilus edulus) Sharp biological zonation

9 Ochre sea star Pisaster ochraceous

10 Rocky Intertidal Rialto Beach Sea slug consuming a sponge Ochre sea stars and giant green anemone in tidepool Intense biotic interactions

11 Outer Coast Coastal Strand Environmental Challenges Mobile substrate Nutrient Poor Droughty & windy Salt spray & sand abrasion

12 Dune grasses bind the mobile substrate European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) Coping with a Coastal Strand Habitat

13 Clonal forbs also bind the loose substrate Succulent leaves help with drought & abrasion Searocket (Cakile edentula) Coping with a Coastal Strand Habitat

14 Oyster farming Willapa Bay Japanese Oyster (Crassotrea gigas)

15 Foggy Sitka Spruce forests

16 Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) Coastal dominant from Oregon to Alaska

17 Coastal Temperate Rainforest Big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)

18 Embayed hydrology created by old coastal dune geomorphology Coastal Bogs

19 Coastal Bogs: cranberry farming

20 Sitka Spruce Ecoregion Bothell Beach / Dune EstuariesRiparian Coastal Bogs Sitka Spruce Forests Rocky Intertidal Typical Ecosystems:

21 Estuaries /Tideflats Nisqually River Estuary From: The Natural History of Puget Sound Country A.R. Kruckeberg Very high productivity Low species diversity Variable salinity & inundation

22 Estuaries /Tideflats Padilla Bay Eelgrass beds

23 Estuaries /Tideflats Batallaria snails Padilla Bay

24 Estuaries / Tideflats: Human Impacts Washington State Department of Natural Resources 1998 “Our Changing Nature”

25 Estuaries / Tideflats: Diking & Draining for Agriculture Padilla Bay Nisqually Delta Diking creates sharp zonation Saltgrass Pickleweed

26 Estuaries /Tideflats: High Productivity Snow geese Skagit Delta

27 Western Hemlock Ecoregion

28 Western Hemlock Ecoregion Typical Ecosystems Low elevation forests: western hemlock, Douglas-fir, western red cedar Streams, lakes Estuaries, freshwater wetlands Prairies & oak woodlands Bogs

29 Western Hemlock Ecoregion Low elevation forests Forests originally dominated by large, old evergreen trees Western hemlock, western red cedar, Douglas-fir Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii

30 Western Hemlock Ecoregion Woody Debris Nurse Log

31 Western Hemlock Ecoregion Understory plants adapted to stressful conditions Chronic light shortage Acidic Low nutrients Dry summers

32 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Deciduous Forests Red alder Alnus rubra

33 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Land Management Forest harvest Wishkah Valley

34 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Land Management Plantation forest Old growth forest

35 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Water Features create ecological heterogeneity in a sea of forest Wetlands & streams provide unique environments / habitats

36 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Prairies & Oak Woodlands offer unique habitats Puget Prairies Mima Mounds Fort Lewis

37 Western Hemlock Ecoregion: Prairies & Oak Woodlands offer unique habitats Dwindling Prairies Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) Fort Lewis

38 West-side Montane to Alpine Ecoregions Silver fir ecoregion Mountain hemlock ecoregion Subalpine fir ecoregion Alpine ecoregion Ecoregions

39 West-side Montane to Alpine Ecoregions Western WAEastern WA Western hemlock

40 West-side Montane to Alpine Ecoregions White River Valley Silver fir Mountain hemlock Alpine

41 Silver fir Ecoregion: Typical Ecosystems Montane forests: Silver fir, Noble fir, Douglas-fir, Alaska yellow cedar Riparian, lakes & other wetlands

42 Silver fir Ecoregion Mid elevation west side forests

43 Silver fir Ecoregion Thin soils Cool temperatures Short growing seasons

44 Silver fir Ecoregion Lakes provide important sites of environmental heterogeneity within a sea of evergreen forest

45 Mountain Hemlock Ecoregion High elevation snowy subalpine forests Typical Ecosystems: Mountain hemlock forests Subalpine meadows Riparian & lake areas

46 Mountain Hemlock Ecoregion Mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana)

47 Mountain Hemlock Ecoregion Closed canopy forests at lower end Forest – meadow mosaics at high end

48 Mountain Hemlock Ecoregion Snow avalanches are an important ecological feature Results

49 Subalpine Fir Ecoregion Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) High elevation dry subalpine forests

50 Subalpine Fir Ecoregion: Typical Ecosystems Subalpine fir forests (+ whitebark pine, Alaska yellow cedar, mountain hemlock) Subalpine meadows / grasslands Riparian, lakes

51 Subalpine Fir Ecoregion Showy subalpine meadows

52 Subalpine Fir Ecoregion Trees at the edge

53 Alpine Ecoregion High elevation treeless ecosystems Lillian Ridge tundraLillian Ridge rawmark Burroughs Mountain fellfieldElk Mountain fellfield

54 Alpine Ecoregion Alpine habitats as ecological islands in the PNW Mount Rainier Mount Adams Mount St. Helens

55 Alpine Ecoregion Patterns & Adaptations Vegetation stripes Burroughs Mountain Penstemon davidsonii Cushion plant Douglasia laevigata Olympic marmot

56 Ecoregions of the Dry Side West East

57 Douglas-fir / Grand fir Ecoregion East slopes of the Cascades Okanogan Highlands / Purcell & Selkirk Mts Blue Mountains

58 Douglas-fir / Grand fir Ecoregion Okanogan Highlands Mixed, diverse forests: + Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, western larch, alpine larch

59 Ponderosa Pine Ecoregion

60 Dry, mid- elevation fire- dependent forests Pinus ponderosa

61 Shrub Steppe Ecoregion

62 Low elevation hot, arid shrub and grass dominated ecosystems: Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

63 Shrub Steppe Ecoregion Grass dominated steppe and pothole wetlands

64 Shrub Steppe Ecoregion Fire is a frequent natural feature

65 Palouse Prairie Ecoregion

66 Low elevation hot & semi-arid grass dominated ecosystems Less extreme temperatures than shrub-steppe More summer precipitation than shrub steppe Forest pockets on north-facing slopes

67 Palouse Prairie Ecoregion Loess soil creates rolling topography and excellent edaphic conditions for agriculture Loess deposits Rolling “prairie”

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