Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Jack pine rocky ridge  (S1)


(formerly jack pine rocky ridge woodland

Jack pine rocky ridge is a woodland community that occurs at only a few acidic rocky ridges at elevations between 1,800 and 3,900 ft. in the White Mountains. Floristically, it is similar to red pine- and red spruce-dominated woodlands, but it is considered distinct from them due to differences in dominant tree species. There are also probable differences in ecological histories and site characteristics that contribute to the apparent “steady states” of these jack pine stands. Soils consist of a shallow O horizon over thin, dry, acidic mineral material, usually over bedrock (and sometimes over coarse gravel or sand).

Jack pine is a rare species in New Hampshire, known only from a dozen or so locations in two regions of the state. Most of these locations consist of a few scattered individual trees, and as such do not constitute examples of this community.

Characteristic Vegetation:
Jack pine is abundant in combination with red spruce (Picea rubens), red pine (Pinus resinosa), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), heartleaf birch (Betula papyrifera var. cordifolia), and paper birch (B. papyrifera var. papyrifera). A low heath shrub layer is characterized by lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), velvet-leaf blueberry (V. myrtilloides), and sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia). Tall shrubs are generally sparse but may include Bartram’s serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana) and witherod (Viburnum nudum). Herbs are relatively sparse, but can locally abundant, and may include common hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa), Rand’s goldenrod (Solidago randii), three-toothed cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata), poverty oatgrass (Danthonia spicata), and Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense). Rare species other than jack pine may include silverling (Paronychia argyrocoma) and smooth sandwort (Minuartia glabra).

Most jack pine cones are serotinous, meaning they require heat to open and release their seed. Non-serotinous cones are also typically present, however, and these may be important for the perpetuation of jack pine stands that burn infrequently.


Good examples of this community occur on Welch Mtn. (Waterville Valley) and Carter Ledge (Albany). Smaller stands of jack pine occur at the top of Webster Cliffs (Crawford Notch) and on lakeside ledges at Umbagog Lake (Errol and Cambridge).

Jack pine rocky ridges sometimes occur as inclusions within larger montane rocky ridge systems.


Jack pine rocky ridge community on Carter Ledge (photo by Ben Kimball)
Jack pine rocky ridge
 on Mt. Chocorua's Carter Ledge (photo by Ben Kimball)


Jack pine rocky ridge community in winter on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
jack pine rocky ridge community in winter on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)

Jack pine cones in a jack pine rocky ridge community on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Jack pine cones in a jack pine rocky ridge community on Welch Mtn.
(photo by Ben Kimball)

jack pine on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)
jack pine on Welch Mtn. in Waterville Valley (photo by Ben Kimball)

Jack pine rocky ridge community on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)
jack pine rocky ridge community on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)

jack pine rocky ridge community on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)
jack pine rocky ridge on Welch Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)



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