John Day/Clarno Highlands Ecoregion




Ecoregions of the US > Level I: North American Deserts > Level II: Cold Deserts > Level III: Blue Mountains >

John Day/Clarno Highlands is a Class IV Ecoregion found in Oregon (labeled as “11b” on the map above*). Here is the description of this ecoregion, described by the EPA: “The John Day/Clarno Highlands ecoregion is characterized by moderately to highly dissected hills and low mountains that are uniformly covered by Western ponderosa pine forest with a grass and shrub understory. Elevation varies from 3,000 to 6,200 feet (914 to 1,990 m). The region includes broad streams fed more by springs than by snow melt. The continental climate is tempered by a marine influence; it is not as dry, nor are temperature extremes as great, as in the Continental Zone Highlands. Historically, frequent low intensity wildfires reduced fuel loading in forests of widely spaced old-growth ponderosa pine. Today, after years of fire suppression and high grade logging, land managers attempt to emulate historical fire regimes to reverse the trend toward dense thickets of young growth that carry hot, stand-replacing fires. Potential vegetation is mostly open ponderosa pine, with some Douglas-fir, western juniper, mountain-mahogany, snowberry, mountain big sagebrush, elk sedge, Idaho fescue, and bluebunch wheatgrass. Riparian areas support grand fir, mountain alder, red-twig dogwood, ninebark, Wood’s rose, Rocky Mountain maple, and willows. The region covers 2,475 square miles (6,410 km2) in Oregon, including parts of the Ochoco, Malheur, and Umatilla national forests and lower elevations in the Mill Creek, Bridge Creek, Black Canyon and North Fork John Day wilderness areas.




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