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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Knowledgebase record #259

Conifer Country by Michael Edward Kauffmann, 2012

Reviewed by: Brian Thompson
Review date: 2016-01-01

Conifer Country cover

Michael Edward Kauffmann presents an excellent introduction to the ecology and the geology of the Klamath Mountain region in his book “Conifer Country.” He also helped me understand the names of the mountains. The Klamath Mountains include nine distinct sub-ranges beginning in the north with the Umpqua Valley of Oregon and reaching south to the Yolla Bolly Mountains west of Red Bluff, California.

The Siskiyou Mountains sub-range is by far the biggest, and includes all of the Oregon portion of the Klamath Mountains and a sizable part of California, especially closer to the coast. But to complicate matters, the coast has its own, separate mountains (the North Coast Range).

Confused? The maps that Kauffmann has drawn for his book will help tremendously. The main take-away is that this is an extremely rich area for botanists. “The Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion is world renowned for being a crossroads for biodiversity, representing one of the most species rich temperate coniferous forests on Earth.”

Following this engaging introduction, the author profiles the 35 conifer species of this region, including excellent range maps and photos, along with text that is suitable for the amateur to tell these often similar trees apart. These are followed by a series of suggested hikes, all geared for seeing the most of conifers, the richest being the so-called Miracle Mile. This square mile near Little Duck Lake, about 50 miles west of Mount Shasta, has over 400 vascular plant species including 18 different conifer species!

Excerpted from the Winter 2016 Arboretum Bulletin.

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