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Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, prinus) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest
Translated Name: White Oak - (Northern Red Oak, Chestnut Oak) / Flame Azalea - (Bear Huckleberry) Forest
Common Name: Appalachian Montane Oak - Hickory Forest (Typic Acidic Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL007230
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These forests occur in a wide elevational range, from 610 to 1372 m (2000-4500 feet), in the Southern Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge/Piedmont transition, and the higher ridges of the Cumberland Mountains and Ridge and Valley in southwestern Virginia. The type occurs generally on deep soils of broad ridgetops, exposed upper slopes and saddles, occurring less frequently on protected lower slopes, bottoms and coves. Stands of this deciduous forest association are dominated or codominated by Quercus alba, occurring with other Quercus species (Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea). Associated species are characteristically montane and typical of acidic forests. This association lacks indicators of circumneutral soils and also lacks low-elevation dry-site species such as Pinus echinata, Quercus falcata, Quercus stellata, and Quercus marilandica. Species other than oaks that can be important in the canopy include Carya alba, Carya glabra, Carya ovalis, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer rubrum, and Magnolia fraseri. Common species in the subcanopy/sapling strata include Cornus florida, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia fraseri, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Pinus strobus, and Halesia tetraptera. Shrub cover is sparse to very dense and is often dominated by deciduous heaths. Kalmia latifolia and Gaylussacia ursina are usually present, but other shrub species can include Euonymus americanus, Rhododendron calendulaceum, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Viburnum acerifolium, Calycanthus floridus, Pyrularia pubera, Ilex montana, Halesia tetraptera, and Hamamelis virginiana. In the northern portion of the range of this association (northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia), Gaylussacia ursina is frequently absent from the shrub layer. Smilax glauca and Vitis rotundifolia are common vines. The herbaceous stratum is sparse to moderate in coverage, but often rich in species, approaching the diversity but not the coverage of rich cove forests. Associated herbaceous species vary with elevation and soil moisture. Often there is a dominant fern stratum, with Thelypteris noveboracensis and Polystichum acrostichoides most typically dominant.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association is meant to cover the typical acidic, oak-hickory forests of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. It has a broad concept, and there is potential for subdividing this type by moisture, elevation, or undergrowth. It can be distinguished from Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest (CEGL007267) by higher species diversity and the presence of a substantial amount of Quercus alba. Twenty-four plots from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia were classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail vegetation mapping project (Fleming and Patterson 2009a). In 12 plots from this dataset, species richness ranges from 29 to 115 species per hectare, and averages 59 species per 1000-m2 plot.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Piedmont-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Forest
Alliance Piedmont Oak - Hickory Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004817 Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus - Magnolia (acuminata, fraseri) / Acer pensylvanicum Forest
CEGL006192 Quercus rubra - Acer rubrum / Pyrularia pubera / Thelypteris noveboracensis Forest
CEGL007267 Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest
CEGL007295 Quercus alba / Kalmia latifolia Forest
CEGL008523 Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Vaccinium pallidum - (Rhododendron periclymenoides) Forest
CEGL008558 Acer rubrum var. rubrum - Betula lenta - Magnolia fraseri / (Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia) Ruderal Forest



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
North Carolina Montane Oak--Hickory Forest (Acidic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
South Carolina Oak - hickory forest Broader   Nelson 1986
Tennessee Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, prinus) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - Kalmia latifolia - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, montana) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - Kalmia latifolia - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Quercus coccinea - Carya (alba / glabra) - Pinus strobus / Cornus florida Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Patterson, K. D. 1994. Classification of vegetation in Ellicott Rock Wilderness, Southeastern Blue Ridge Escarpment. M.S. thesis, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. 91 pp.
Related Concept Name: IA6h. Montane Oak - Hickory Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Mixed Oak / Oak - Hickory Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Oak--Hickory Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Oak-Hickory Forest (Acidic Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Oak - Chestnut - Hickory Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.596 Central and Southern Appalachian Montane Oak Forest
CES202.886 Southern Appalachian Oak Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4G5 (22Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This is a broad-concept type, and while it may be subdivided in the future if analysis warrants this, it is widely distributed over the Southern Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge/Piedmont transition, and the higher ridges of the Cumberland Mountains and Ridge and Valley in southwest Virginia, over a broad elevational range. It may form large patches at some sites. It is apparently secure, although fire suppression and insect pathogens represent ongoing stand-altering disturbances. It is not threatened or particularly vulnerable. Mature, high-quality stands are uncommon due to extensive past logging and more recent biotic disturbances.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is found in the Southern Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge/Piedmont transition, and Central Appalachians of the eastern United States.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest - Coniferous Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopies of stands of this association are dominated or codominated by Quercus alba, occurring with other Quercus species (Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea). Species other than oaks that can be important in the canopy include Carya alba, Carya glabra, Carya ovalis, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer rubrum, and Magnolia fraseri. Stands lack indicators of circumneutral soils and also lack low-elevation dry-site species such as Pinus echinata, Quercus falcata, Quercus stellata, and Quercus marilandica. Common species in the subcanopy/sapling strata include Cornus florida, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia fraseri, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Pinus strobus, and Halesia tetraptera. Shrub cover is sparse to very dense, and is often dominated by deciduous heaths, including Kalmia latifolia and Gaylussacia ursina. Other shrub species can include Euonymus americanus, Rhododendron calendulaceum, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Viburnum acerifolium, Calycanthus floridus, Pyrularia pubera, Ilex montana, Halesia tetraptera, and Hamamelis virginiana. Smilax glauca and Vitis rotundifolia are common vines. The herbaceous stratum is sparse to moderate in coverage, but often rich in species, approaching that of rich cove forests (but with a different composition). Associated herbaceous species vary with elevation and soil moisture. Some of the more constant species include Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Dioscorea quaternata, Dichanthelium spp., Carex pensylvanica, Chimaphila maculata, Desmodium nudiflorum, Goodyera pubescens, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, and Trillium catesbaei. Other species include Dichanthelium laxiflorum, Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Galax urceolata, Galium latifolium, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Mitchella repens, Viola hastata, Uvularia puberula, Polygonatum biflorum, Solidago curtisii, Convallaria majuscula, and Melanthium parviflorum. Often there is a dominant fern stratum, with Thelypteris noveboracensis and Polystichum acrostichoides most typically dominant. Other ferns include Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, and Dryopteris intermedia.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Carya glabra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus coccinea G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus rubra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Acer rubrum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Cornus florida G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Oxydendrum arboreum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Robinia hispida var. kelseyi G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Vaccinium hirsutum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Rhododendron calendulaceum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Gaylussacia ursina G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Penstemon smallii G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sisyrinchium dichotomum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Trillium rugelii G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polystichum acrostichoides G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Thelypteris noveboracensis G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum G4 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex manhartii G4 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Canoparmelia amabilis G4 Lichen Nonvascular      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis
  (Appalachian White Snakeroot)
G5T3T4  
Canoparmelia amabilis
  (Canoparmelia Lichen)
G1  
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum
  (Blue Ridge Sedge)
G5T3T4  
Carex manhartii
  (Manhart's Sedge)
G3G4  
Penstemon smallii
  (Small's Beardtongue)
G3  
Robinia hispida var. kelseyi
  (Kelsey's Locust)
G4T1  
Sisyrinchium dichotomum
  (Reflexed Blue-eyed-grass)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Trillium rugelii
  (Southern Nodding Trillium)
G3  
Vaccinium hirsutum
  (Hairy Blueberry)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: These forests occur in a wide elevational range, from 610 to 1370 m (2000-4500 feet), in the Southern Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge/Piedmont transition, and the higher ridges of the Cumberland Mountains and Ridge and Valley in southwestern Virginia. The type occurs generally on deep soils of broad ridgetops, exposed upper slopes and saddles, occurring less frequent on protected sites, typically lower slopes, bottoms and coves. Twenty-four plots classified as this type in the Appalachian Trail project have a mean elevation of 1095 m (3592 feet) and occur mostly on convex, southwest-facing upper slopes and crests. Soil samples collected from these plots have a mean pH of 4.4, along with low calcium, magnesium, and total base saturation, and high iron and aluminum.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Like many contemporary eastern oak forests, stands of this type in Virginia typically exhibit poor oak recruitment and an understory of Acer rubrum and other shade-tolerant mesophytic trees. This condition is generally considered symptomatic of long-term fire exclusion.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 07Mar2012
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson, T. Govus and G. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne and G. Fleming

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Major, C. S., C. Bailey, J. Donaldson, R. McCoy, C. Nordman, M. Williams, and D. Withers. 1999. An ecological inventory of selected sites in the Cherokee National Forest. Cost Share Agreement #99-CCS-0804-001. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.

  • Patterson, K. D. 1994. Classification of vegetation in Ellicott Rock Wilderness, Southeastern Blue Ridge Escarpment. M.S. thesis, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. 91 pp.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • White, Jr., R. D. 2003. Vascular plant inventory and plant community classification for Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 160 pp.


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