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Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (alba, velutina, prinus) / Kalmia latifolia Forest
Translated Name: American Beech - (White Oak, Black Oak, Chestnut Oak) / Mountain Laurel Forest
Common Name: Northeastern Coastal Plain-Piedmont Oak - Beech / Heath Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006919
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This mixed forest of beech and oaks occurs on the Inner Coastal Plain and outer Piedmont from New Jersey to southern Virginia. It is particularly common on steep ravine slopes and bluffs of dissected terrain with highly acidic soils. It occurs occasionally on short, steep bluffs of the Outer Coastal Plain, and occasionally occurs on elevated swamp islands with sandy, oligotrophic soils. The overstory is composed of Fagus grandifolia with variable codominance by several oaks, particularly Quercus prinus, Quercus alba, and Quercus velutina. Minor associates include Quercus coccinea, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., and Liriodendron tulipifera. Typical subcanopy trees include Sassafras albidum, Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Cornus florida, Amelanchier arborea, and Ilex opaca, the latter frequently dominating in Coastal Plain stands. An evergreen shrub layer with strong dominance by Kalmia latifolia is characteristic, with low-cover associates of Rhododendron periclymenoides, Vaccinium spp., and Gaylussacia baccata. Deciduous ericads alone are dominant in rare patches that lack Kalmia latifolia. On northern exposures, Fagus grandifolia tends to strongly dominate, and Kalmia latifolia may achieve >75% cover.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: A variant of this type was described by A. Windisch (OH1 or DOf1) at Fort Dix. This association is similar to Quercus velutina - Quercus coccinea - Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia Forest (CEGL006374), however, it lacks Fagus grandifolia, Liriodendron tulipifera, or Carya spp.

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 Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest & Woodland
Alliance Northeastern Mesic Beech - Oak Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004539 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Kalmia latifolia - (Rhododendron catawbiense) / Galax urceolata Forest
CEGL006374 Quercus velutina - Quercus coccinea - Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia 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
Delaware Northern Coastal Plain/Piedmont Oak-Beech/Heath Forest Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (alba, velutina, montana) / Kalmia latifolia 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 alba - Fagus grandifolia / Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron periclymenoides Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus montana - Carya alba / Vaccinium pallidum - Castanea pumila - Kalmia latifolia / Epigaea repens Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus montana - Fagus grandifolia / Ilex opaca / Kalmia latifolia Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCoy, K. M., and G. P. Fleming. 2000. Ecological communities of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Army. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 156 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus prinus - Fagus grandifolia / Ilex opaca / Kalmia latifolia Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Beech - Oak Mesic Inner Coastal Plain Forest (OH2)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Beech - mixed oak forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Windisch, A. G. 1995b. Natural community inventory of Fort Dix, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy report. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management. Trenton, NJ. 81 pp.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain Oak - Beech Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Piedmont / Coastal Plain Oak - Beech / Heath 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.342 Southern Piedmont Mesic Forest
CES203.475 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (22Sep2008)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This community is fairly common in the Inner Coastal Plain and Piedmont of Virginia and seems to be of a similar status in Maryland. Some occurrences exceed 1700 acres in size.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, DE, MD, NJ, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This mixed forest of beech and oaks occurs on the Inner Coastal Plain and outer Piedmont along the fall zone, from New Jersey to southern Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A 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: The overstory is composed of Fagus grandifolia with variable codominance by several oaks, particularly Quercus prinus, Quercus alba, and Quercus velutina. Minor associates include Quercus coccinea, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., and Liriodendron tulipifera. Typical subcanopy trees include Sassafras albidum, Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Cornus florida, Amelanchier arborea, and Ilex opaca, the latter frequently dominating in Coastal Plain stands. An evergreen shrub layer with strong dominance by Kalmia latifolia is characteristic, with low-cover associates of Rhododendron periclymenoides, Vaccinium spp., and Gaylussacia baccata. Deciduous ericads alone are dominant in rare patches that lack Kalmia latifolia. On northern exposures, Fagus grandifolia tends to strongly dominate, and Kalmia latifolia may achieve >75% cover.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus velutina G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Cornus florida G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association is characteristic of steep ravine slopes and bluffs in dissected terrain of the Inner Coastal Plain and outer Piedmont. It also occurs occasionally on short, steep bluffs of the Outer Coastal Plain, as well as on elevated swamp islands with sandy, oligotrophic soils. Sites are mesic to submesic, with extremely acidic, infertile soils. The type occurs on slopes of various aspects but tends to favor northerly ones. Soil samples collected from 24 Virginia and Maryland sites had a mean pH of 4.2 and very low cation and base saturation levels. In the southern part of the range, this association is fairly common in dissected landscapes of the Inner Coastal Plain and fall-line zone of the Piedmont, but occurs in progressively smaller and more isolated patches westward in the Piedmont, typically on steep cut-slopes on the outside of meander bends in large creeks and small rivers.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The relatively mesic, sheltered habitats of this association may have protected this vegetation and Fagus grandifolia (a fire-intolerant species) from fires compared to drier slopes that support oak / heath forests. Beech is thin-barked and highly fire-sensitive, so mature stands of beech-(co)dominated forest indicate a very infrequent to nonexistent fire regime, especially stands of almost pure beech on very mesic to subhydric sites of the Inner Coastal Plain.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 31Jul2015
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Sep2008
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming

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


References
  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. 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.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • McCoy, K. M., and G. P. Fleming. 2000. Ecological communities of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Army. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 156 pp. plus appendices.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/129. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 369 pp.

  • Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.

  • Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.

  • Windisch, A. G. 1995b. Natural community inventory of Fort Dix, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy report. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management. Trenton, NJ. 81 pp.


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