Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Red pine - white pine forest  (S2S3)


(formerly red pine - white pine - balsam fir forest)


Red pine - white pine forests
are characterized by a mix of red and white pine, with little or no pitch pine present. Balsam fir is sometimes prominent in the understory. They occur require fire return intervals >100 years, longer than the return interval for pitch pine - scrub oak woodlands. The community occurs on moderately dry to moist sand plains and other well to very well drained soils in central New Hampshire, near the southern limit of red pine. While uncommon in New Hampshire, such fire-maintained red and white pine forests are abundant in the northern Great Lakes region.

Characteristic vegetation:
Red pine (Pinus resinosa), white pine (Pinus strobus), and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) are characteristic tree species. Balsam fir is sometimes prominent in the understory as well. Species in the shrub and herb layers include wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), velvet-leaf blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides), lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), rough-leaved rice grass (Oryzopsis asperifolia), and Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense). Most examples lack scrub oak (Quercus ilicifolia), distant sedge (Carex lucorum), and slender mountain rice (Piptatherum pungens), species that are frequent in pitch pine - scrub oak woodlands. Mosses are often common.


Good examples of this community occur at Pine River State Forest (Ossipee) and in the Big River drainage (Barnstead/Strafford).

Red pine - white pine forests sometimes occur as part of larger pitch pine sand plain systems.


a red pine - white pine forest at Heath Pond Bog Natural Area (photo by Dan Sperduto for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
red pine trunk in a red pine - white pine forest
at Heath Pond Bog Natural Area (photo by Dan Sperduto)

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