Great Basin Naturalist


Curlleaf mountain-mahogany is a widely distributed shrubby tree of western North America. Well-developed stands are most often found on warm, dry, rocky ridges and slopes at high elevations on mostly southern exposures. It can, however, be found onall exposures. The species appears to be indifferent to substrate with soils which are invariably shallow and of low fertility. However, the nitrogen-fixing root nodules help overcome soil deficiencies. This highly palatable species is preferred by mountain sheep, mountain goats, deer, and elk. Its nutritive value (about 12% protein) and digestibility ratings (around 50%) in the winter are high when compared with most other associated winter browse species.

Early research with curlleaf mountain-mahogany basically dealt with two major management problems: (1) how to increase available forage production on old, even-aged stands too tall for big game to browse, and (2) how to increase reproduction in these same communities. Selective dozer thinning, sometimes in conjunction with the seeding of fast-growing plants, appears to be a promising management technique providing browse until the younger curlleaf becomes established.