Kamiak Butte Vegetation
By: Madi Kilkenny
Vegetation has a great impact on Kamiak Butte’s microclimate. Vegetation is affected by the amount of solar insolation, exposure to winds and sunlight, fertile soil, and many other reasons. However, there is a difference in the number of trees found on the north aspect, and the south aspect. The north aspect is much denser with trees because of the aspect, slope steepness, exposure, and soil moisture. The overstory tree canopy cover filters insolation, which effects the microclimate temperature and moisture conditions.
Some of the plants that reside on the south side of Kamiak Butte include Sagebrush and Saltbush Creosote Bush. These plants are well adapted to dryer environments, therefore can survive in dryer conditions. This includes small trees and shrubs because they require much less water. However, Ponderosa Pine does in fact reside on both the north and south sides because this tree is so well adapted to harsh environments such as extreme temperatures and little precipitation.
On the north aspect, resides a much more diverse population of trees and shrubs. The aspect, slope, sun exposure, and soil composition all allow the plants to uptake more water. Most of the trees found here are either ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, or western larch. A large variety of shrubs and bushes are also found here such as ocean spray and mallow ninebark.