Lodgepole Pine at Crater Lake: History and Management of the Forest Structure*
by Donald B. Zobel and Robert S. Zeigler**
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
*Final Report, Contract CX-9000-6-0064, Pacific Northwest Region, National Park Service.
**Present Address: Dept. of Plant Pathlogy, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853.
Since the advent of white man, biotic conditions in Crater Lake
National Park have been modified considerably from those of its primeval
state. A return toward primeval conditions recently has become a goal of
Park management policy. Thus, knowing what types of changes white man's
influence has wrought, and where (and when possible, why) these have
occurred, has become of great importance to the Park managers. In
1976-77 we conducted a study of the lodgepole pine forests, with
the goal of providing this information. We described the state of
present lodgepole forests, and gathered evidence for the importance of
several processes which affect its characteristics. We attempted to
establish what the primeval forest structure was, to infer the changes
since white man arrived, to determine what caused these changes, to
predict the future course of forest development, and thereby to suggest
the appropriate ways to return these forests to their primeval
Lodgepole pine occurs throughout much of the Park. Areas included
in our study were those in which lodgepole comprises more than 50% of
the tree layer. We find that the lodgepole pine forest is more complex
than we anticipated, with several distinct types of ecosystems
represented. The different lodgepole communities have different histories,
futures, and environments. Likewise, management policy will need to vary
with the forest type. The model for managing forests of ponderosa pine
is inappropriate except for a minority of the lodgepole forest. Some
lodgepole communities have changed little, and most altered communities
will return toward their primeval state without any positive action of
management, given a natural fire policy.
Our conclusions have been based on a combination of appropriate
information from the literature and on our description of the forests at
Crater Lake. The details and our conclusions about all but the
management procedures are presented in R. S. Zeigler. 1978. The
vegetation dynamics of Pinus contorta forest, Crater Lake
National Park, Oregon. Masters Thesis, Oregon State University. 182 p.
Copies of the thesis have been presented to the Park Service.
A summary of the information from the thesis upon which we based our
suggestions for management is presented in this report, along with those
suggested procedures and a map of the management units for which each is
appropriate. In instances where information from the literature or our
data is incomplete or even conflicting, what we present here represents
what we believe to be the most probable case. Evidence and argument for
many of these points are presented by Zeigler (1978).