Major Vegetation Zone Classifications for Washington’s east-side Cascades

6 Viewpoints:  Major Vegetation Zone Classifications  for Washington’s east-side Cascades:      
Watchable Wildflowers: A Columbia Basin Guide: B.L.M. Woodland Park ZooWashington Wildlife  Plants of Southern Interior B.C. & the Inland NW: edited by Parish, Coupe Lloyd   Birds of Yakima County: Andrew Stepniewski Celebrating WildflowersNorth Cascades Institute Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary: Ronald J.Taylor
Eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin in the rainshadow of the Cascades is characterized by harsh extremes of weather & climate, with 4 major habitats.  In each, plants grow in communities, all sharing similar needs and adaptations to their environment. Washington state is divided into 5 habitat regions (steppe, montane, temperate forest, wetlands, and urban).  Within each habitat, similar climatic and geologic characteristics and species of plants & animals exist. Southern Interior British Columbia & adjoining U.S. states: The authors divided the region into 5 broad vegetation zones to simplify plant distribution descriptions Yakima County’s diversity of habitats between the crest of the Cascades and the Columbia River, with a complex mosaic of forested, non-forested, wetland, agricultural, and urban habitats. Washington state is divided into 8 major ecosystems defined as: living communities and the nonliving environment functioning together, including abiotic substances, producers, consumers, and decomposers. The sagebrush steppe and the Great Basin sagebrush desert, including parts of 9 western states, including eastern Washington.  6 generalized ecological zones exist within this given area where vegetation follows a pattern of distribution determined in large part, due to physical & chemical properties of soil.
shrub-steppe (deep soil) sagebrush steppe (or shrub-steppe)  big sage shrub-steppe shrub-steppe zone(includes lands converted to agriculture) grassland/sagebrush steppe: deep soil sagebrush-steppe:  standard-type zone, characterized by lack of extremes, moderately deep soils, and most extensively lost habitat due to agriculture.
lithosol (rock-soil) (not addressed) (not addressed) (not addressed) grassland/sagebrush steppe: lithosol sagebrush-steppe: lithosol zone (with shallow basalt bedrock soils)
talus (unstable slopes of rock outcrops and rocks of all sizes (not addressed) (not addressed) talus and cliffs zone(includes along Columbia River) (not addressed) sagebrush-steppe:    talus zone (rocky outcrops, hills, & canyons, often unstable slopes)
riparian: along creeks, lakes, & seeps riparian woodlands broadleaf deciduous forests riparian zone (along valley or creek bottoms; along lake and marsh margins grassland/sagebrush steppe: riparian sagebrush-steppe: meadow zone (in depressions & wet year-round) 
(not addressed) steppe (canopy of shrubs absent) grasslands (not addressed) (not addressed) (not addressed)
(not addressed)

low-elevation temperate forest (1,800-3,000 ft.) dry forests ponderosa pine zone eastside low montane forest(generally between 1,800-3,000 ft.) (not addressed)
(not addressed) montane forest (3000-6000 ft.) wet montane forest mixed-conifer zone eastside high montane forest(4,000-6,000 ft.) (not addressed)
(not addressed) subalpine (>6,000 ft. to treeline) subalpine forests subalpine subalpine: tree islands and meadows (above the closed forest canopy) (not addressed)
(not addressed) alpine (above treeline.) alpine meadows, rocklands, and heaths alpine (treeless) alpine (above the limit of permanent tree growth) (not addressed)
(not addressed) freshwater welands: marsh, swamp, bog, riparian woodlands freshwater wetlands: fens, marshes, bogs, meadows, and shrub-carrs (tall shrubs) irrigated agriculture lands: human converted freshwater wetlands: pond, marsh, bog sagebrush-steppe: meadow zone  ( moister areas that typically occupy depressions )
(not addressed) (not addressed) (not addressed) alkaline flats (extensively human modified) (not addressed) sagebrush-steppe: salinezone (seasonally wet & in areas of low precipitation where mineral salts have accumulated on the soil surface)
sagebrush-steppe: sand dune

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