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Quercus laurifolia - Quercus michauxii - Liquidambar styraciflua / Carpinus caroliniana Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Laurel Oak - Swamp Chestnut Oak - Sweetgum / American Hornbeam Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Atlantic Brownwater River Terrace & Ridge Laurel Oak Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004678
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This type covers forests of brownwater river floodplain terraces and ridges in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and adjacent East Gulf Coastal Plain. Stands lack a significant component of levee tree species, and the concept does not include forests on active natural levees. These are stable bottomland forests found throughout the Atlantic and adjacent East Gulf coastal plains along large or medium-sized rivers. The canopy of these forests is generally dominated by a variable mixture of Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus phellos, Quercus laurifolia, and Liquidambar styraciflua. In addition, Acer rubrum may be abundant. Other hardwoods which may be present include Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Carya ovata, Carya cordiformis, Juglans nigra, and others. Subcanopy species may include Carpinus caroliniana (which may be dominant), Ilex decidua, Asimina triloba, and Ilex opaca var. opaca. The understory is typically dominated by Carpinus caroliniana. Patches of Arundinaria gigantea may be common in places. Vaccinium elliottii and Vaccinium formosum may be the most constant shrubs. Some other frequent species include Mitchella repens and Vitis rotundifolia. Included here are topographically intermediate examples that lack a significant pine component.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This concept and description are based on North Carolina data (Schafale and Weakley 1990, M. Schafale pers. comm. 2000). It is not known how well this concept applies in South Carolina. More review is needed. Stands compatible with this concept are found on ridges along brownwater in the Altamaha River Bioreserve (Georgia). They are dominated by Quercus michauxii and Quercus laurifolia with a little Quercus pagoda (K. Tassin pers. comm. 2001). At Congaree Swamp National Monument, the status of this vegetation type is unclear. Several plots classified in TNC 1998b as Celtis laevigata - Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia / Carpinus caroliniana / Arundinaria gigantea / Carex lupulina Forest (Sweetgum Phase) have "somewhat higher importance by species more indicative of drier sites: Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Carya ovata, Euonymus americanus, Botrychium dissectum, Ilex opaca, and Mitchella repens." This report also states "The sweetgum phase (of CEGL007736) bears affinities to the former Quercus (michauxii, pagoda, shumardii) - Liquidambar styraciflua Temporarily Flooded Forest Alliance (A.291) and likely clustered in the data analysis outputs with the green ash phase due to an increase in the importance of Celtis laevigata and a decrease in the importance of oaks as a result of disturbance." At least some of the 17 plots assigned to the sweetgum phase (plots 1-03, 1-05, 1-07, 1-11, 1-14, 1-15, 1-17, 1-18, 1-29, 1-33, 1-35, 1-38, 1-56, 1-58, 2-04, 2-29, and 2-34) may actually be hurricane-battered examples of CEGL004678.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest
Group Oak - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Coastal Plain Swamp Chestnut Oak Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002099 Quercus michauxii - Quercus shumardii - Liquidambar styraciflua / Arundinaria gigantea Swamp Forest
CEGL007737 Quercus michauxii / Carpinus caroliniana - Ilex opaca / Leucothoe racemosa Floodplain 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 Brownwater Bottomland Hardwoods (High Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus laurifolia - Quercus michauxii - Liquidambar styraciflua / Carpinus caroliniana 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]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Rice, S. K., and R. K. Peet. 1997. Vegetation of the Lower Roanoke River Floodplain. Unpublished report to The Nature Conservancy. 154 pp.
Related Concept Name: Brownwater Bottomland Hardwoods (High Oak Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Brownwater Stream Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain / Piedmont Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
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: Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwoods (Brownwater Subtype)
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.250 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Brownwater River Floodplain Forest
CES203.489 East Gulf Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.559 East Gulf Coastal Plain Small Stream and River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (08Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This is not an inherently rare community, although good mature examples of large size are rare. The global rank depends a lot on the global range, which depends on knowing if this is the primary brownwater bottomland hardwood forest of South Carolina and Georgia as it is of North Carolina (M. Schafale pers. comm. 2000). Some stands have been impacted by removal of more valuable timber species (e.g., Quercus spp.). This would leave a forest in which earlier successional species (e.g., Liquidambar styraciflua) were more dominant. Some additional threats include herbicide and pesticide use on adjacent uplands, as well as deposition of material eroded from these adjacent uplands. These communities are typically too wet to support fire. Some examples of this association may be potentially conserved on the Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, but they are probably inadequately documented.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is widely distributed throughout the Atlantic Coastal Plain on large to medium-sized rivers. It extends marginally into the East Gulf and Upper East Gulf coastal plains of west-central Georgia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: These forests are dominated by a variable mixture of Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus phellos, Quercus laurifolia, and Liquidambar styraciflua. Acer rubrum may be abundant in some stands. Other hardwoods which may be present include Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Carya ovata, Carya cordiformis, Carya aquatica, Juglans nigra, and others. Subcanopy species may include Carpinus caroliniana (which may be dominant), Ilex decidua, Asimina triloba, and Ilex opaca var. opaca. Patches of Arundinaria gigantea may be common in places (Schafale and Weakley 1990). This community lacks characteristic levee species such as Platanus occidentalis, Betula nigra, and Celtis laevigata, which are generally absent except in disturbed areas. Other levee species, such as Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Acer negundo, and Ulmus americana, may be present in smaller numbers (M. Schafale pers. comm. 2000). Vaccinium elliottii and Vaccinium formosum may be the most constant shrubs. Some other frequent species include Mitchella repens and Vitis rotundifolia. Stands compatible with this concept are found on ridges along brownwater in the Altamaha River Bioreserve (Georgia). They are dominated by Quercus michauxii and Quercus laurifolia with a little Quercus pagoda (K. Tassin pers. comm. 2001).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Liquidambar styraciflua G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus michauxii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus laurifolia G3 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Trillium reliquum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Trillium reliquum
  (Relict Trillium)
G3 LE: Listed endangered


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This type is found on brownwater river floodplain terraces and ridges in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and adjacent East Gulf Coastal Plain. These are stable bottomland forests found along large or medium-sized Coastal Plain rivers (Schafale and Weakley 1990). The water tends to be high in pH, in nutrients, and in mineral sediment. The water table may be high for long periods even when the site is not flooded. Brownwater rivers tend to have periods of sustained high flow, usually in the winter and spring.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community is distinguished by its occurrence on floodplains of brownwater rivers, where overbank flooding is, or was in the past, important. It is found away from riverbanks or natural levees (M. Schafale pers. comm. 2000).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley and M.P. Schafale (1990)
Element Description Edition Date: 01Jul1997
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley and M.P. Schafale
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne

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


References
  • 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. 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • Rice, S. K., and R. K. Peet. 1997. Vegetation of the Lower Roanoke River Floodplain. Unpublished report to The Nature Conservancy. 154 pp.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

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

  • Tassin, K. Personal communication. Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy, Georgia Field Office, Atlanta, GA.


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