Lowland Forests

Western Hemlock Zone
The lowland forest grows further inland from the coast, and above the rain forest valleys. You will not find Sitka spruce here, but you may see grand fir. Western hemlock will probably be the most common tree, although stands of Douglas-fir may prevail where fire or drier conditions caused by the rain shadow give these trees an advantage. Western redcedar is never an abundant tree, but its gradual disappearance is a true indicator that the upper limits of this zone have been reached.

This zone starts at lower elevations and extends up to about 2,000 feet, or where the silver fir zone begins. Dominant tree species within this zone include Douglas-fir and western hemlock, with western redcedar, grand fir, red alder, and big leaf maple also occurring within this zone. Unlike some other areas of the park, low- elevation stands around Lake Crescent also contain madrone, Pacific dogwood and Douglas maple. In very old stands, the dominant species includes western hemlock and western redcedar. Analysis of digital (GIS) data indicates that the majority of the watershed falls into this zone. Common shrubs include salal, Oregon grape, red huckleberry, Alaska huckleberry, rose and salmonberry. Herbaceous plants include swordfern, deerfern, twinflower, violet, vanillaleaf, trillium, and foamflower (Henderson et al. 1989).


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