Home > Long-Term Research Categories > Biodiversity > Biological Diversity Summary
The Flora of the Andrews Forest
The Flora of the Andrews Forest
This document was prepared by Dr. Scott Sundberg in 1999 and updated in 2002. Director of the Oregon Flora Project, Scott died on 30 December 2004. He had completed curatorial work on the voucher specimens which reside at Andrews Forest and the annotated checklist. The latter is also available as an ACCESS database.
- Dr. Scott Sundberg
- Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology
- Oregon State University
The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (AEF), with its broad elevational range and wide variety of habitats, is botanically diverse. 570 vascular plant species, subspecies and varieties (taxa) have been observed in the AEF. This represents approximately 12.8 percent of the vascular plant taxa found outside of cultivation in Oregon. The AEF taxa are classified in 76 families and 570 genera. Approximately 11.3 percent of vascular plant taxa are non-native aliens, which is lower than the 18.1 percent alien taxa found in the state. For the past four years I have been inventorying the vascular plants of the AEF and curating the collection of vascular plant vouchers in the AEF herbarium. The goal is to produce a comprehensive list of vascular plants in paper and electronic forms, document their presence with voucher specimens, and improve the herbarium for use by AEF researchers.
In 1971 J.F. Franklin and C.T. Dyrness published A Checklist of Vascular Plants on the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Western Oregon, which listed all vascular plants known in the AEF at the time. Arthur McKee and I are currently revising this list to include recent discoveries and to update its nomenclature. Plant nomenclature has changed a great deal during the twenty-seven years since the checklist was published and 20 to 25% of the names on their list do not reflect current taxonomic concepts. In addition, alternate systems of nomenclature exist. Nomenclature may differ among Oregon floras, the PLANTS database maintained by the NRCS and the Oregon Vascular Plant Checklist (currently being written at OSU). To address the confusion about plant names in the AEF, we are listing the name currently accepted for the Oregon Vascular Plant Checklist and if needed, providing alternate names from the PLANTS database and other sources. The checklist is maintained in a Paradox relational database that includes fields for accepted name, authority, voucher citations, habitat, life form (herb, shrub, etc.) and abundance in the AEF. The finished list will also include for each taxon one or two common names, plant origin (native or introduced), selected synonyms, and miscellaneous notes from the Oregon Vascular Plant Checklist. The PLANTS "symbol," the abbreviation of its name, will also be included. So far, nomenclature of approximately 80% of the plant taxa on the AEF list has been revised. While nomenclature of the AEF list is being revised, work is progressing on the Oregon checklist, for which approximately 50% of the taxa have been reviewed. Pending completion of the Oregon list, nomenclature of AEF taxa is being determined by evaluating alternate treatments in floras and taxonomic monographs. A "crosswalk" table is also being produced that will more efficiently enable us to determine the corresponding names accepted in the PLANTS database.
Concurrently with revising the checklist I am annotating and curating voucher specimens. Most AEF plant taxa are represented in one or more of three sets of voucher specimens. An intensive effort was made from 1958 to 1971 by Franklin and Dyrness to collect vouchers for their checklist. The checklist cites vouchers for approximately 77% of the 480 taxa they listed. Herm Fitz and Susan McAlister collected a second set from 1977 to 1979. Their vouchers of 445 taxa from AEF and about 26 additional localities complement well the earlier collections. I collected a third set of vouchers from 1995 to 1997, approximately 230 of which will be deposited at OSU and 100 at AEF herbarium. Fitz, McAlister and I have so far found over ninety new records for the AEF, including several recent arrivals of noxious weeds.
We are currently of curating all specimens in the AEF herbarium and collections made at the AEF that are at OSU. Fitz and McAlister collections have been transferred to single-fold folders, grouped by major plant categories (ferns and fern allies, gymnosperms, monocots and dicots) and sorted alphabetically. The specimens have been repaired and strengthened by additional gluing. Specimens have been frozen to kill insects. Although no living insects were found, insects have damaged some specimens in the past. A new, insect-tight herbarium cabinet has been ordered and all specimens will be frozen once more before being filed.
Identifications have been confirmed and nomenclature revised for approximately 70% of the specimens in the AEF herbarium, including specimens collected by Fitz and McAlister as well as the earlier collections by Franklin, Dyrness, and others that are filed in three-ring binders. Annotations reflect currently accepted names in the Oregon Vascular Plant Checklist and in the PLANTS database, respectively. In addition, specimens collected in the AEF have been pulled out of the OSU Herbarium. About 70% of these have also been annotated and are being refiled. In the next few months I will finish reidentifying voucher specimens from the AEF and OSU herbaria. The electronic checklist will be finished shortly after this and could then be put on the Internet. Nomenclature of some genera will remain in flux while the Oregon Vascular Plant Checklist is being finalized, but I anticipate few changes in the final list.