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Juniperus communis - (Juniperus virginiana) - Rhus aromatica - Viburnum rafinesqueanum / Oligoneuron album Shrubland
Translated Name: Common Juniper - (Eastern Red-cedar) - Fragrant Sumac - Downy Arrow-wood / Prairie Goldenrod Shrubland
Common Name: Juniper Alvar Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL005212
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: The juniper alvar shrubland type occurs throughout the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, in northern New York, southern Ontario, northern Ohio, northern Michigan, and eastern Wisconsin. Stands occur on very shallow soils (usually less than 30 cm deep) over flat limestone outcrops (pavements). Moisture varies over the season, but summer droughts are typical. Juniper alvar shrublands often occur in a patchy landscape mosaic with other alvar communities, including tufted hairgrass wet alvar grassland, little bluestem alvar grassland, annual alvar pavement-grassland, alvar nonvascular pavement, and poverty grass dry alvar grassland. Grikes (eroded cracks in the rock up to 2 m or more deep and extending 5-30 m in length) may occur, with shrubs and trees rooted in the cracks. Shrubs dominate, with over 25% cover of tall, short, and dwarf-shrubs; the average is about 43% cover of shrubs, with less than 10% of that being tall shrubs. Characteristic tall shrubs (2-5 m tall) are scrub forms of trees such as Juniperus virginiana, Thuja occidentalis, and Quercus macrocarpa. Tree forms (>5 m tall) of these species may be present, but trees have less than 10% cover in the community. Other less common trees (>5 m tall) that may be present include Carya ovata, Ulmus thomasii, and Fraxinus americana. Characteristic short shrubs (0.5-2 m tall) include Juniperus communis, Cornus racemosa, Rhus aromatica, Prunus virginiana, and Viburnum rafinesqueanum. Some dwarf-shrubs (under 0.5 m tall) are usually present, including Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Symphoricarpos albus. Characteristic vines include Toxicodendron radicans and Vitis riparia. The herb layer forms a dry, grassy meadow between the shrubs; average cover of herbs is about 23%. The most abundant herbs are Danthonia spicata, Oligoneuron album, and Carex umbellata. Less than 50% of the ground surface is exposed limestone bedrock, which is usually covered with lichens, mosses, and algae.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: More northern stands may be more heavily dominated by Juniperus communis, and species such as Abies balsamea, Aquilegia canadensis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and Picea glauca may be more common, and deciduous trees and shrubs are less common. Juniper Alvar Shrublands often occur in a patchy landscape mosaic with other alvar communities, including Tufted Hairgrass Wet Alvar Grassland, Deschampsia cespitosa - (Sporobolus heterolepis, Schizachyrium scoparium) - Carex crawei - Packera paupercula Grassland (CEGL005110); Little Bluestem Alvar Grassland, Sporobolus heterolepis - Schizachyrium scoparium - (Carex scirpoidea) / (Juniperus horizontalis) Grassland (CEGL005234); Annual Alvar Pavement-Grassland, Sporobolus neglectus - Sporobolus vaginiflorus - Trichostema brachiatum - Panicum philadelphicum - (Poa compressa) Alvar Grassland (CEGL005235); Alvar Nonvascular Pavement, Tortella tortuosa - Cladonia pocillum - Placynthium spp. Sparse Vegetation (CEGL005192); and Poverty Grass Dry Alvar Grassland, Danthonia spicata - Poa compressa - (Schizachyrium scoparium) Grassland (CEGL005100).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Laurentian-Acadian Calcareous Scrub & Grassland
Group Great Lakes Alvar
Alliance Great Lakes Alvar Shrubland

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL005126 Pinus banksiana - Thuja occidentalis - Picea glauca / Juniperus communis Woodland
CEGL005211 Picea glauca - Thuja occidentalis - Juniperus communis / Iris lacustris - Carex eburnea Shrubland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Related Subnational Community Units
These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.
In the U.S., contact the state Heritage Program for the most complete and up-to-date information at: http://www.natureserve.org/natureserve-network.
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
Michigan Alvar Broader   Kost et al. 2007
New York Alvar Shrubland Undetermined   Edinger et al. 2002
Ohio Alvar Broader   ONHD unpubl. data
Wisconsin Alvar Equivalent   WNHI 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Juniperus communis - (Juniperus virginiana) - Rhus aromatica - Viburnum rafinesquianum / Oligoneuron album Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Reschke, C., R. Reid, J. Jones, T. Feeney, and H. Potter, on behalf of the Alvar Working Group. 1998. Conserving Great Lakes Alvars. Final Technical Report of the International Alvar Conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Great Lakes Program, Chicago, IL. 119 pp. plus 4 appendices.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.721 Great Lakes Alvar


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (31Dec1998)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This community occurs throughout the Great Lakes basin in New York, Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Thirty-five occurrences of this community were documented, with a total of about 7768 acres (3144 ha). Juniper alvar shrubland occurs in small to large patches; some of the larger patches form a small-scale matrix within which smaller openings of alvar grasslands and pavements may occur. Sizes of currently known occurrences range from under 10 acres to about 1600 acres (4 to about 650 ha). The global rank of this community (as compared to G2-ranked alvar grasslands with similar numbers of occurrences and acres) reflects our expectation that there are more examples of this community that we have not surveyed, including some sites too disturbed to be considered viable. The threats to this community do not seem to be as imminent as threats to the alvar grasslands, and since the soils are only briefly saturated (just after a rainfall), they are less vulnerable to disturbance by off-road vehicles.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MI, NY, OH, WI
Canadian Province Distribution: ON, QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This juniper alvar shrubland type occurs throughout the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, in northern New York, southern Ontario, northern Ohio, northern Michigan, and eastern Wisconsin.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: St. Lawrence and Champlain Valley Section
Section Code: 212E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Great Lakes Section
Section Code: 212H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lake Erie Section
Section Code: 222Q Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Shrubs dominate, with over 25% cover of tall, short, and dwarf-shrubs; the average is about 43% cover of shrubs, with less than 10% of that being tall shrubs. Characteristic tall shrubs (2-5 m tall) are scrub forms of trees such as Juniperus virginiana, Thuja occidentalis, and Quercus macrocarpa. Tree forms (>5 m tall) of these species may be present, but trees have less than 10% cover in the community. Other less common trees (>5 m tall) that may be present include Carya ovata, Ulmus thomasii, and Fraxinus americana. Characteristic short shrubs (0.5-2 m tall) include Juniperus communis, Cornus racemosa (= Cornus foemina ssp. racemosa), Rhus aromatica, Prunus virginiana, and Viburnum rafinesqueanum. Some dwarf-shrubs (under 0.5 m tall) are usually present, including Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Symphoricarpos albus. Characteristic vines include Toxicodendron radicans and Vitis riparia. The herb layer forms a dry, grassy meadow between the shrubs; average cover of herbs is about 23%. The most abundant herbs are Danthonia spicata, Oligoneuron album (= Solidago ptarmicoides), and Carex umbellata. Less than 50% of the ground surface is exposed limestone bedrock, which is usually covered with lichens, mosses, and algae (Reschke et al. 1998).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus virginiana G3 Needle-leaved tree Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Rhus aromatica G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Viburnum rafinesquianum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Juniperus communis G3 Needle-leaved shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Oligoneuron album G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex umbellata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Danthonia spicata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Stands occur on very shallow soils (usually less than 30 cm deep) over flat limestone outcrops (pavements). Moisture varies over the season, but summer droughts are typical. Grikes (eroded cracks in the rock up to 2 m or more deep and extending 5 to 30 m in length) may occur, with shrubs and trees rooted in the cracks (Reschke et al. 1998).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Summer droughts are typical (Reschke et al. 1998).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Reschke et al. (1998)
Element Description Edition Date: 18Nov1998
Element Description Author(s): C. Reschke and D. Faber-Langendoen
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Dec1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. [http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/reports/2007-21_Natural_Communites_of_Michigan_Classification_and_Description.pdf]

  • Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

  • Midwestern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Minneapolis, MN.

  • ONHD [Ohio Natural Heritage Database]. No date. Vegetation classification of Ohio and unpublished data. Ohio Natural Heritage Database, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbus.

  • ONHIC [Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Unpublished data. Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario, Canada.

  • Reschke, C., R. Reid, J. Jones, T. Feeney, and H. Potter, on behalf of the Alvar Working Group. 1998. Conserving Great Lakes Alvars. Final Technical Report of the International Alvar Conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Great Lakes Program, Chicago, IL. 119 pp. plus 4 appendices.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. [http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/landscapes/Book.html]


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