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Arizona Fir

The Abies Lasiocarpa is commonly known as Alpine Fir, Arizona Fir, Balsam, Balsam Fir, Cork-bark Fir, Corkbark Fir, Pino Real Blanco, Rocky Mountain Fir, Subalpine Fir, Western Balsam Fir, White Balsam, as well as White Fir

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Growing Regions

Subalpine fir is the mostly widely distributed fir in North America, spanning more than 32 degrees of latitude [11]. It occurs chiefly in mountainous areas from the Yukon interior near treeline and along the coast of southeastern Alaska south through western Alberta and British Columbia to southern Colorado and scattered mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico [54,75]. In the western portion of its range, subalpine fir does not occur along the western slope of the Coast Range in southern British Columbia or along the Coast Ranges of Washington and Oregon but does occur on Vancouver Island and in the Olympic Mountains of Washington [11]. It occurs on both slopes of the Cascade Mountains as far south as southern Oregon [11]. The two varieties are distributed as follows [11,75]: var. lasiocarpa - almost the same as the species, but not in central and southeastern Arizona. var. arizonica - from central Colorado to southwestern New Mexico, and in southeastern and central Arizona. Subalpine fir and corkbark fir occur together in scattered mountain ranges in southwestern Colorado, northern, western, and southwestern New Mexico, and in the high mountains of Arizona [11].

     

General Information

The genus Abies consists of about 40 species of evergreen trees found in the northern hemisphere. Nine species of Abies, including subalpine fir, are native to the United States [75]. The currently accepted scientific name of subalpine fir is Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. [75]. Subalpine fir is widely distributed and exhibits geographic variation. Two varieties are recognized based on morphological differences [75]: Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica - corkbark fir Abies lasiocarpa var. lasiocarpa - subalpine fir Subalpine fir hybridizes with balsam fir (A. balsamea) where their ranges overlap in the Canadian Rockies [41].

Forests in which subalpine fir attains climax dominance or codominance are widespread throughout the mountains of western North America. The subalpine fir series generally occupies cold, high elevation mountain forests. Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) is usually associated with subalpine fir. It occurs as either a climax codominant or as a persistent, long-lived seral species in most subalpine fir habitat types. Published classification schemes listing subalpine fir as a dominant part of the vegetation in habitat types (hts), community types (cts), plant associations (pas), ecosystem associations (eas), site types (sts) or dominance types (dts) are presented below: Area Classification Authority AK: ----- general veg. cts Viereck & Dyrness 1980 AZ: San Francisco forest, alpine & Peaks RNA meadow cts Rominger & Paulik 1983 AZ, NM: ----- forest & woodland hts Layser & Schubert 1979 Apache, Gila, Cibola NFs forest hts Fitzhugh & others 1987 s of Mogollon Rim forest hts Develice & Ludwig 1983b n AZ, n NM forest hts Larson & Moir 1987 CO: Arapaho & Roosevelt NFs forest hts Hess & Alexander 1986 Gunnison & Uncompahgre NFs forest hts Komarkova & others 1988 Routt NF forest hts Hoffman & Alexander 1980 White River- grassland, shrubland, Arapaho NF & forestland hts Hess & Wasser 1982 White River NF forest hts Hoffman & Alexander 1983 w CO riparian pas Baker 1989a ID: Sawtooth, White Cloud, Boulder, & Pioneer Mtns general veg. cts Schlatterer 1972 c ID forest hts Steele & others 1981 n ID forest hts Cooper & others 1987 se ID aspen cts Mueggler & Campbell 1986 e ID, w WY forest hts Steele & others 1983 MT: ----- forest hts Pfister & others 1977 ----- riparian dts Hansen & others 1988 c, e MT riparian cts, hts Hansen & others 1990 nw MT riparian hts, cts Boggs & others 1990 sw MT riparian rst, cts, hts Hansen & others 1989 NM: Cibola NF forest hts Alexander & others 1987 Lincoln NF forest hts Alexander & others 1984 n NM, s CO forest hts Develice & Ludwig 1983a n NM, s CO forest hts Develice & others 1986 OR: Wallowa-Whitman NF steppe & forest pas Johnson & Simon 1987 Eagle Cap Wilderness general veg. cts Cole 1982 OR, WA: ----- general veg. cts Franklin & Dyrness 1973 Blue Mtns general veg. pas Hall 1973 UT: ----- aspen cts Mueggler & Campbell 1986 c, s UT forest hts Youngblood & Mauk 1985 n UT forest hts Mauk & Henderson 1984 WA: Okanogan NF forest pas Williams & Lillybridge 1983 Mount Rainier NP forest pas Franklin & others 1988 North Cascades NP forest pas Agee & Kertis 1987 e WA, n ID forest hts, cts Daubenmire & Daubenmire 1968 WY: Bridger-Teton NF aspen cts Youngblood & Mueggler 1981 Medicine NF forest hts Alexander & others 1986 Bighorn Mtns forest hts Hoffman & Alexander 1976 Wind River Mtns forest hts Reed 1976 USFS R-2 general veg. pas Johnston 1987 USFS R-2 general veg. hts,pas Wasser & Hess 1982 USFS R-4 aspen cts Mueggler 1988 w-c AB forest cts Corns 1983 BC: ----- grassland, forest hts McLean 1970 ----- general veg. eas Pojar & others 1984 nw BC forest eas Haeussler & others 1985

Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Uchytil, Ronald J. 1991. Abies lasiocarpa. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.

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