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Cascades

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapEPA Code*
Western Cascades Lowlands and Valleys4a
Western Cascades Montane Highlands4b
Cascade Crest Montane Forest4c
Cascade Subalpine/Alpine4d
High Southern Cascades Montane Forest4e
Low Southern Cascades Mixed Conifer Forest4f
California Cascades Eastside Conifer Forest4g
Southern Cascades Foothills4h

* This code refers to the US EPA's Level 4 ecoregion codes for the continental U.S., see here.

About the Cascades

The Cascades is a Level III ecoregion located in the U.S., encompassing the southern portion of the Cascades mountain range, extending through Washington State through Oregon and into northern California.

This area has been influenced by glaciation, and is also volcanically active. Elevations reach over 14,000 feet (4250m). The climate is moist and temperate with Mediterranean influences, i.e. with drier summers and wetter winters. Rainfall totals are much higher than the lower-lying valleys to the west of this region, but lower than in the coastal mountain ranges when comparing areas of similar elevation. These precipitation patterns are the result of orographic lift: the coastal mountains extract some of the moisture from the air as weather systems move west-to-east.

This area is mostly covered in coniferous forest, with a few meadows and rocky, exposed areas at the highest elevations. Dominant tree species include Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, bigleaf maple, and red alder at low elevations in the north, and at higher elevations, Pacific silver fir, mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, noble fir, and lodgepole pine. Farther south, dominant trees also include incense cedar, white fir, and Shasta red fir.

The forests here are heavily logged and intensively managed for forestry. This area is sparsely populated.

References

1. Wiken, E., Griffith, G. "North American Terrestrial Ecoregions - Level III", Commission for Environmental Cooperation, (2011) Web.