Forest Education

Types of Trees

The Creston Region is home to two major Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem (BEC) Zones – the low-mid elevation Interior Cedar-Hemlock (ICH) zone, as well as the high elevation Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir (ESSF) zone. With Creston residing within British Columbia’s Interior “Wet Belt”, these two BEC zones provide Creston with high tree species diversity – also known as the “Kootenay Mix”. This creates highly resilient forests that are well adapted to a variety of conditions. 

The ICH zone of the Creston Valley resides typically at  low-mid elevations, and host forests that are generally more moist than what one would see outside of the Kootenays. This occurs due to the region’s historical late snow-melt dates, short growing seasons, and temperate climate. One may find the following trees: Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Black Cottonwood, Lodgepole Pine, Paper Birch, Western Hemlock, Western Larch, Lodgepole Pine, Western White Pine, Grand Fir, or Western Red Cedar. Drier portions of the ICH typically are dominated by Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Western Larch, while wetter portions (such as around a creek or gully) will be dominated by shade-tolerant species such as Western Hemlock, Grand Fir, or Western Red Cedar. 

The ESSF zone may be found within the subalpine-alpine regions of our valley. This region boasts very short growing seasons and long winters. Due to the high amounts of snow this regions typically receives, the trees that dominate this region (Subalpine Fir and Engelmann Spruce) have special adaptations that allow these trees to survive the harsh winters. This includes conical crown shapes and wax-coated needles to easily shed snow and reduce moisture loss. 

Keep an eye out for these zones when you’re next out in the bush!