Part 2: Marble Mountain Wilderness
In conjunction with the Klamath National Forest and the California Native Plant Society Vegetation Team, I completed a mapping and inventory project for Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) in California. The first part of this project was along the Siskiyou Crest, near the Oregon-California border. This post is about the populations in the Marble Mountain Wilderness.
In 2016 I embarked on a mapping and inventory project for yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) in California. At the time, I called yellow-cedar California’s rarest conifer. In 2019, new discoveries on the north slopes of Copper Butte and Preston Peak brought the total hectares of yellow-cedar in California to ~21 hectares. With this new data, and that collected in this project, we now know Abies amabilis is California’s rarest conifer*! See table below for stand data summary.
*This excludes the neoendemic California cypresses.
Forest Health Summary
The health of the Marble Mountain stands is similar to that of the Siskiyou Crest, though fire has impacted an overall smaller area. The 2017 Wallow Fire touched on two stands in similar geographical locations. Both Toms Lake and Upper Hancock Lake had small areas of stand-replacing fire reach into previous silver fir locations. Though small, mortality approached 100% in each stand. We also found similar branch swelling to what was reported on the Siskiyou Crest (see image below) as well as evidence of fir engraver beetle (Scolylus ventralis) mortality at around 5%.