Idaho Tree Distribution

Certain trees grow in certain places for very good reasons.  Try making a tree distribution map for Idaho.  We’ll choose six common species.  There are of course many more, but the map gets complicated enough with just six.  You can talk about how certain species thrive under certain circumstances where others will not.

This is a Ponderosa Pine in the Wenatchee National Forest, Washington State. Ponderosa Pines are one of the common species in Idaho’s forests as well.  Photo by Walter Siegmund, CC license, Wikimedia.

For example, in most of North Idaho the Ponderosa Pines are all old trees.  You rarely see a young Ponderosa because the seedlings require fire to break the seeds open and allow the next generation to sprout.  But Idaho for decades practiced total suppression of wildfires.

This is the cone from a Douglas Fir. Each tree has a distinctive cone and this is one of the ways to identify a tree species. Photo by Matt Lavin, CC license, Wikimedia.

Look up each species on the map below and find out details that make it live where it does.  Look at a physical map of Idaho and see what the land is like where these trees grow.  How much rainfall, what elevation, and so on.

This is an old white pine from Western Washington. These trees live in the mountains in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  Photo by Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, CC license, Wikimedia.

Here is a printable of the Idaho Tree Distribution Map, the colored version and a blank map of Idaho.

A printable tree distribution map for Idaho to see how certain growing conditions are necessary for each species of tree.  Includes instructions on how to make a map like this for your own state.

Additional Layers

  • Look up common trees in your state.
  • Try another type of distribution map, like population, or religion, or wealth for your state.
  • Learn to identify the trees around your neighborhood.  If you live in the city or the suburbs these species are probably not native.  Go to a state park or other wilderness area and identify some native trees or plants.

More From Layers of Learning

Unit 1-18 has lots more about trees.
Unit 1-18 has lots more about trees.

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