Yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) at the northwest limits of its natural range in Prince William Sound, Alaska
Hennon, P. E.
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Little is known about yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) in Prince William Sound, Alaska (USA); even the northwest limit of the range of this valuable tree has been unresolved. Mapping the occurrence of yellow-cedar from aircraft, boat and by foot revealed two general locations: small populations on or near Hawkins Island and larger and more extensive populations from Glacier Island to Cedar Bay, Wells Bay, and Unakwik Inlet. A population of yellow-cedar on the eastern shore of Unakwik Inlet represents the furthest known northwest extent of the natural range. Results from plots located in the eastern and north-central areas of Prince William Sound indicate that yellow-cedar is common in all diameter classes, but is younger than the associated western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and mountain hemlock (T. mertensiana). The tree is reproducing prolifically in the north-central portion of the Sound. Reproduction, growth and the vigorous appearance of trees suggest that yellow-cedar is currently thriving and increasing in abundance near the edge of its range. Direct human use of these forests has been limited to the harvesting of small diameter trees and the common occurrence of bark removal on the larger yellow-cedar trees.