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Ecological Types

Penny Pines

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Click to see larger ecotype map of Mount Shasta This map area extends from the base of Mount Shasta at 3500 feet elevation to approximately 4600 feet on the mountain's south and west sides. It delineates lower mountain slopes of volcanic ash and glacial material that were carried down from upper slopes by MUDFLOWS and GLACIAL OUTWASH. They form overlapping layers of soil material known as ALLUVIAL FANS.

The most prominent physical features in the map area are Everitt Hill, Bear Springs and Big Canyon Creek.

In historic times these slopes were covered with brushfields and stands of knobcone pine, as are seen on the Ski Park Highway. Most of these stands have been converted to ponderosa pine plantations, such as the Penny Pines plantation. The lower south and western slopes of Mount Shasta exhibit remnant stands of mixed conifers including ponderosa pine, white fir, incense cedar, Douglas fir and sugar pine, with an understory of chinquapin, forest carpet, greenleaf manzanita and thimble berry.

Mixed conifer stand near Bear Spring
Mixed conifer stand near Bear Spring
Photograph by Peter Van Susteren

However, even before the coming of settlers, these slopes burned with great regularity. Much of these slopes were occupied by fire-response communities, mainly knobcone pine with bush chinquapin, curl-leaf ceanothus and greenleaf manzanita.

Fire-response plant community
Fire-response plant community
Photograph by Peter Van Susteren

Through the 1950s and 60s thousands of acres of these stands were converted by the Forest Service to plantations of ponderosa pine. The cost of this conversion was provided, in large part, by contributions from citizens groups including school children who collected pennies for the cause. The Penny Pines plantations are now up to 50 years old and are beginning to mature into ponderosa pine forests.

 

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