The Jeffrey pine forest is the dominant habitat in the Whittell Forest, covering nearly 1,800 acres and about two-thirds of the land area. This forest occurs on the slopes of the valley in well-drained soils and, consequently, is subject to long summer droughts. Many sites in the Jeffrey pine forest have experienced heavy mortality from pine bark beetles because of a severe drought in the mid 1990s.
Mature lodgepole pine forests are a widespread vegetation types in the Whittell Forest occupying about 250 acres. Typically, this forest type occupies the lower slopes of the valley adjacent to the meadow on heavy, poorly-drained soils. This forest often contained dense stands of trees, including much down and dead fuels.
A large meadow dominates the center of Little Valley. The meadow occupies over 150 acres, but has diminished in size because lodgepole pines have invaded after grazing diminished in the 1960s and finally disappeared from the valley in the mid 1990s. Prior to grazing by domestic ungulates, the meadow was probably maintained by periodic wildfire. The University seeks to maintain the meadow to preserve a valuable and scare habitat in the Sierra and because the meadow serves an important function as a fuel break, which could help control wildfires.