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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


Photo: Ray Shearer
  General Description   The Coram Biosphere Reserve and Experimental Forest is located on the Flathead National Forest near Glacier National Park, 45 km east of Kalispell (Montana). It is an outdoor laboratory, established in 1933 to provide basic information needed to manage western larch (Larix occidentalis) forests. Research results point the way to proper application of silvicultural practices to achieve ecosystem management goals and enhance biodiversity of species. Western larch and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are the most common of 10 conifer species. Many trees are over 300 years old with a few larch trees over 500 years old. A 1992 Larix symposium culminated in the establishment of the International Larix Arboretum at Coram Experimental Forest Headquarters. It includes most of the world's Larix species.
Coram is not inhabited and there are no major economic activities carried out in order not to interfere with the long-term research objectives of the area, which has no zonation scheme. There is some harvesting of wild berries, game hunting and some recreational activities such as hiking and cross-country skiing.
A curriculum was developed to assist science teachers in local schools to use Coram
Experimental Forest as an outdoor classroom. A local high school science class monitors water quality on a major stream originating in the area. University silviculture classes annually visit this area to supplement classroom instruction with examples of 50 years of continuous research.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Western larch (Larix occidentalis) in association with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir), Abies lasiocarpa (subalpine fir), and Picea (spruce) (P. engelmannii [Engelmann] at higher elevations, and hybrids of Engelmann and P. glauca [white spruce] at lower elevations); associations of Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine), western white pine, Tsuga heterophylla (western hemlock), and western redcedar; larch and P. ponderosa (ponderosa pine) on dry, lower-elevation ridges with shallow soil; occasional individual A. grandis (grand fir) trees on warm, moist sites; Taxus brevifolia (Pacific yew) and Juniperus communis (common juniper) in shrub form; predominant hardwood trees are Betula papyrifera (paper birch), Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood), and P. tremuloides (quaking aspen); forest research plots
  Location   4822' to 4826'N; 11358' to 11400'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   3,019
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +1,067 to +1,920
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Coram Experimental Forest; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

Last updated: 18/02/2002

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