|Lutz spruce / Barclay's willow / Field horsetail|
|Picea X lutzii / Salix barclayi / Equisetum arvense|
|n = 9|
|I.2.A. Open Needleleaf Forest|
|Ecosystem: Discharge Slope, Riparian|
This is a previously undescribed plant community. Lutz spruce (Picea X lutzii) types are poorly documented in Alaska. Previously described Sitka and white spruce (Picea sitchensis and P. glauca) types can be similar, however, Barclay's willow (Salix barclayi) forested types are not described in the literature. DeVelice et. al. (1999) working on Chugach National Forest, adjacent to the Kenai lowlands, have listed one “undersampled” Lutz spruce - Barclay's willow type. Additionally, they describe a Lutz spruce / bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis) type that has significant, but low abundance components of Barclay's willow and field horsetail (Equisetum arvense).
This community is widespread, and common on the Kenai Peninsula lowlands. It is found primarily on footslopes, usually along drainage margins, but also at the edges of poor fens at high elevation (above 350 m (1100 feet)). On these slopes groundwater discharge, or a dense till supports a water table near the surface.
An open to woodland, medium to tall-stature spruce forest, now largely killed by spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis), tops a moderately open Barclay's willow shrub layer. Field horsetail, or occasionally woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum), dominates an interrupted and diverse herb layer. Dwarf birch (Betula nana) and the ericaceous shrubs crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) and lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) are present in low abundance, as are the forbs Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis) and fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium). Bluejoint grass is sometimes abundant.
Organic layers are always less than 20 cm thick, and the water table, or evidence of it, is usually less than 30 cm below the surface. This type does not always indicate a wetland; although six of the nine sample plots meet jurisdictional wetland criteria.
Table 1. Frequency of occurrence and hydric status of soil series named at NRCS holes. Bold type indicates soils on the NRCS Alaska hydric soils list.
|STARICHKOF||1||1, 2B2, 3|
|1Proposed series, definitely hydric|
Table 2. Summary of plant frequency and average cover for plants occurring in more than 50% of plots.
|Wetland Indicator Status|
|tall Picea X lutzii||0.7||27.5||np|
|medium Picea X lutzii||0.6||8.0||np|
|regeneration Picea X lutzii||0.8||1.0||np|
|Salix1 barclayi||1.0||27.8||FAC||FAC, FACW
|Empetrum nigrum||0.9||3.3||FAC||FACU, FACW
|Betula nana||0.7||8.4||FAC||FAC, OBL
|Chamerion angustifolium||1.0||0.9||FACU||FACU, FAC
|Equisetum arvense||0.8||33.0||FAC*||FAC*, FACW-|
|Calamagrostis canadensis||0.8||24.1||FAC||FAC, OBL
|Trientalis europaea||0.8||0.3||FAC||FAC*, FAC
|Equisetum sylvaticum||0.7||10.2||FACU||FACU, FACW|
|Linnaea borealis||0.7||2.1||FACU||FACU-, FAC
|np- not present on the wetland indicator status list|
|1 Plant with known morphological adaptation for occurrence in wetlands (USACE, 1987)|
|Contact: Mike Gracz Kenai Watershed Forum PO Box 15301 Fritz Creek, AK 99603 907-235-2218||
Alaska Natural Heritage Program
and Natural Resource Institute
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
04 May 2007 09:52