Species and Plant Community
Accounts for Identified Wildlife

Table of contents

Plant communities - Interior riparian and wetland communities

WATER BIRCH - RED-OSIER DOGWOOD (Betula occidentalis - Cornus stolonifera)

Status

This floodplain community is restricted to a very small area of the province. Much of the original extent of this community has been converted to agricultural use and channelled for water management purposes. There are no verified occurrences within protected areas.

Ecology

This floodplain shrub community has a dense cover of Betula occidentalis (water birch), Alnus tenuifolia (mountain alder), Cornus stolonifera (red-osier dogwood) and Rhus radicans (poison ivy). Salix spp. (willows), Rosa woodsii (Wood's rose), and Rhus glabra (sumac) may also be present, with low cover. The herb layer is variable, but generally contains a low cover of Smilacina stellata (star-flowered false Solomon's seal) and Urtica dioica (stinging nettle). Disturbance from adjacent land use has resulted in the presence of a number of introduced species, including Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet).

This community occupies active floodplain sites over fluvial materials, with a high water table for part of the year. Soils are poorly drained Gleysols with a rich nutrient regime. Sites are somewhat dry to wet and susceptible to cold air drainage. This community is often adjacent to the Pinus ponderosa - Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa - Rhus radicans plant community.

Distribution

This community occurs at low elevations (250-700 m) in the southern Okanagan Valley from Summerland to the U.S. border, and east along the Similkameen River to the Ashnola River.

Ecoprovince: Ecosections

Biogeoclimatic unit

Broad ecosystem unit

Structural stages

1-3

Selected references

Lea, E.C., R.E. Maxwell, W.L. Harper and L. Bonner. 1991. South Okanagan biophysical
project: Maps and legend. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Br., Victoria, B.C.

Meidinger, D.V. 1990. Alliance tables: unpublished reports from vegetation tabling
programs. B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, B.C.

Ponderosa pine - black cottonwood - Nootka rose - poison-ivy (Pinus ponderosa- Populus balsamifera ssp. Trichocarpa - Rhus radicans)

PONDEROSA PINE - BLACK COTTONWOOD - NOOTKA ROSE - POISON-IVY (Pinus ponderosa - Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa - Rhus radicans)

Status

This community has a restricted distribution within a very small range. Channelling of waterways has destroyed much of the original habitat of this community.

Ecology

This is a forested riparian community with an open canopy dominated by Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa (black cottonwood) and Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine). Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen) is generally present but with lower cover. The tall shrub layer consists primarily of Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) and Salix bebbiana (Bebb's willow), each with low cover; Crataegus douglasii (black hawthorn) is often present, but with very low cover. The dense low shrub layer is dominated by Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose) and Rhus radicans (poison-ivy). Cornus stolonifera (red-osier dogwood) may also be present with good cover. Other shrubs, which occur with low cover, are Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry), Rhus glabra (sumac), Amelanchier alnifolia (saskatoon), and Clematis ligusticifolia (white clematis). The sparse herb layer contains a variety of herbs and grasses, all of which are present with very low cover. Some species are introduced and reflect the degree of disturbance at specific sites. Commonly occurring natives are Elymus cinereus (giant wildrye), Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod), Achillea millefolium (yarrow) and a variety of Aster spp. Smilacina stellata (star-flowered Solomon's seal), Apocynum cannabinum (hemp dogbane), Artemisia ludoviciana (western mugwort), Galium boreale (northern bedstraw) and Astragalus canadensis (Canada milk-vetch) occur less frequently and with low cover. Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass) and Melilotus alba (white sweet-clover) are introduced species that now commonly occur in this community and may be present with higher cover in the more disturbed areas. Less common are the introduced Chenopodium album (lamb's-quarters), and Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass).

This community occurs in valley bottoms, on floodplains, in depressions or toe positions. Soils are coarse textured, derived from fluvial material. Site moisture varies from somewhat dry to moist and nutrient conditions range from medium to rich.

Distribution

This community is sparsely distributed at low elevations in the southern end of the Okanagan Valley, from Summerland to the U.S. border, and east along the Similkameen River to the Ashnola River. It often occurs adjacent to the Betula occidentalis - Cornus stolonifera plant community.

Ecoprovince: Ecosections

Biogeoclimatic units

Broad ecosystem unit

CR

Structural stages

All stages

Selected references

Cederholm, C.J. 1994. Landscape approach for salmon and wildlife habitat protection. In
Washington Forest Landscape Management Project - Progress Report. A.B. Carey and C. Elliot (eds.). Wash. State Dep. Nat. Resour. pp. 78-90.

Lea, E.C., R.E. Maxwell, W.L. Harper and L. Bonner. 1991. South Okanagan biophysical
project: Maps and legend. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Br., Victoria, B.C.

Lloyd, D., K. Angove, G. Hope and C. Thompson. 1990. A guide to site identification
and interpretation for the Kamloops Forest Region. B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. Land Manage. Handb. No. 23.

Meidinger, D.V. 1990. Alliance tables: unpublished reports from vegetation tabling
programs. B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, B.C.


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