Lodgepole pine (Pl) - Pinus contorta
Lodgepole pine is a medium-sized (occasionally >30 m tall), evergreen conifer at maturity with a sparse, variable crown, spreading branches, and a thin, orange brown to gray bark, with fine scales – bark is thicker and more grooved on the coast. It is the most widely distributed pine species in western Canada and an important timber species for pulp, lumber, and a variety of other products.
|Geographic Range||Geographic element:
Western North American/Pacific, Cordilleran and marginally Central
Distribution in Western North America:
north, central and (south) in the Pacific region; north, central and south in the Cordilleran region
continental subalpine boreal - montane boreal - (cool semiarid) - cool temperate - cool mesothermal
submontane - montane - subalpine
Occurrence in biogeoclimatic zones:
(lower MH), (lower SWB), lower ESSF, MS, BWBS, SBS, SBPS, (PP), IDF, ICH, CDF, CWH
Range of soil moisture regimes:
very dry - moderately dry - slightly dry - fresh - moist - very moist - wet
Range of soil nutrient regimes:
very poor - poor - medium - rich - (very rich); weakly oxylophytic
In comparison with jack pine, lodgepole pine is easily established in acid mesothermal bogs which do not freeze. On the other hand, lodgepole pine is very infrequent or absent in boreal bogs which freeze every winter. This indicates that the frost resistance of lodgepole pine in more continental climates is lower than that of jack pine, white spruce, black spruce, or tamarack.
|Root System Characteristics||The root system of lodgepole pine is generally shallow but taproot and vertical sinkers develop on well-drained sites. Roots of lodgepole pine are associated with both ecto- and endo-mycorrhizae.|
|Associated tree species and successional role||In British Columbia, lodgepole pine grows predominantly in even-aged, post-fire forests, in pure or, less often, mixed-species stands. It is a pioneer species (primary succession) on rock outcrops and in ombotrophic wetlands, and is present in early, mid-, and late stages of secondary succession on water deficient and waterlogged sites). It is a major component in the hypermaritime forest and fire-disturbed communities in the SBPS zone.|
|Genetics||Lodgepole pine has evolved several highly differentiated but inter-fertile geographic races that differ morphologically and ecologically: Rocky Mountain-Intermountain, Sierra-Cascade, Coastal, Mendocino White Plains, and Del Norte races.
Lodgepole pine hybridizes with jack pine, producing the hybrid P. x murraybanksiana (see Pinus banksiana). This interspecific breeding is probably of rather recent origin, because it affects populations of lodgepole pine only in certain limited areas. Geographic variation in lodgepole pine was discussed by Critchfield (1957).
|Notes||Lodgepole pine is one of the few species with a very wide ecological amplitudes and tolerances. Because it has little taper and thin bark, it produces a higher volume of wood than many of its associates of the same diameter and height. A common problem of regenerating lodgepole pine is overstocking which results in growth stagnation at the early stand developmental stage on water-deficient, nutrient-poor sites. More detailed silvics information is given by:
Baumgartner, D.M., R.G. Krebill, J.T. Arnott, and G.F. Weetman. (compilers and editors) 1985. Lodgepole pine and its management. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. 381 pp.
Lotan, J.E. and W.B. Critchfield. 1990. Pinus contorta. Pp. 302-315 in R.M. Burns and B.H. Honkala (technical coordinators) Silvics of North America, Vol. 1. Agri. Handbook 654, USDA For. Serv., Washington, D.C.