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Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Sweetgum - Tuliptree - (American Sycamore) / Mountain Silverbell / American Hog-peanut Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Montane Sweetgum Alluvial Flat
Unique Identifier: CEGL007880
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a low-elevation montane or submontane alluvial forest which is found on large alluvial flats and high terraces along large rivers (e.g., Little Pigeon River) or on small, disturbed flats along medium-sized perennial streams. It is found at lower elevations in the southern fringes of the Southern Blue Ridge Province, or in the adjacent Piedmont and Southern Ridge and Valley. It often occurs on sites that were formerly cleared for farming or settlement. Soils are typically deep, loamy silts but can have large rocks and cobbles. In the Great Smoky Mountains, the mean elevation of samples is 510 m (1680 feet), ranging from 450 to 580 m (1480-1900 feet). It would be possibly expected at lower elevations as well, especially in the adjacent ecoregions. This forest has an open to closed canopy dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua and Liriodendron tulipifera, often with Platanus occidentalis. It is distinguished from other kinds of Montane Alluvial Forests by the dominance or relatively higher importance of Liquidambar styraciflua in its stands, and by its habitat on larger, lower-elevation, riverine situations. Platanus is characteristic, but not necessarily dominant in stands of this association. In habitats with a more calcareous influence in the substrate, Juglans nigra may have a higher relative importance or even be codominant. The subcanopy is absent to well-developed. Typical dominants are Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, and Acer rubrum. The shrub stratum is absent to moderately dense. Rhododendron maximum and Tsuga canadensis are the most common shrubs, although other species can be present. Herbaceous cover is often absent or sparse, with ground cover dominated by litter and duff. On smaller streams, near open fields or where animal grazing is evident, herbaceous cover can approach 100% cover. Species often present with high coverage include Amphicarpaea bracteata, Ageratina altissima var. altissima, Dichanthelium boscii, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans. Stands found on small, disturbed flats along medium-sized perennial streams may contain patches of Xanthorhiza simplicissima. The exotic grass Microstegium vimineum may have high cover in some stands.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This type is distinguished from other kinds of montane alluvial forests by the dominance or relatively higher importance of Liquidambar styraciflua in its stands, and by its habitat on larger, lower elevation, riverine situations. Natural forests strongly dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua are uncommon in Southern Blue Ridge landscapes, thus this forest may represent a community that is more common at lower elevations in the southern fringes of the Southern Blue Ridge Province, or in the adjacent Piedmont and Southern Ridge and Valley. Information from a larger geographic range is needed to fully distinguish this association from related types. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, this vegetation is found on the Little Pigeon River. A stand in Linville Gorge, now placed here (Newell and Peet 1995) is referred to as a "large high alluvial flat" in which Liquidambar styraciflua shares dominance. This association was initially defined from disturbed floodplains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is related to the more broadly defined Platanus occidentalis - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Betula alleghaniensis) / Alnus serrulata - Leucothoe fontanesiana Floodplain Forest (CEGL004691), Montane Alluvial Forest.

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.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Central Hardwood Floodplain Forest
Group Silver Maple - Sugarberry - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southern Appalachian Sycamore - Sweetgum - Tuliptree Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004691 Platanus occidentalis - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Betula alleghaniensis) / Alnus serrulata - Leucothoe fontanesiana Floodplain Forest
CEGL006255 Liriodendron tulipifera - Platanus occidentalis - Betula lenta / Lindera benzoin / Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis Floodplain Forest
CEGL007013 Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata / Chasmanthium latifolium Piedmont 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
Alabama Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Carpinus caroliniana - Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata Forest Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Tennessee Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Carpinus caroliniana - Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Carpinus caroliniana - Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Patterson, K. D., C. J. Ulrey, and J. Drake. 1999. Vegetation classification of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Cades Cove and Mount Le Conte quadrangles. Unpublished report submitted to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, NC.
Related Concept Name: Platanus/Asimina/Microstegium Alluvial Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Newell, C. L., and R. K. Peet. 1995. Vegetation of Linville Gorge Wilderness, North Carolina. Unpublished report. to USDA Forest Service. University of North Carolina, Department of Biology, Chapel Hill. 211 pp.
Related Concept Name: IIA6e. Southern Appalachian Alluvial 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.705 South-Central Interior Large Floodplain
CES202.706 South-Central Interior Small Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (08Jan2007)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GA, NC, TN
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community was defined from the western fringe of the Southern Blue Ridge, but is also found at lower elevations in the southern fringes of the Southern Blue Ridge Province, and probably in the adjacent Piedmont and Southern Ridge and Valley.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This forest has an open to closed canopy dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua and Liriodendron tulipifera, often with Platanus occidentalis. Other minor species that are variably present in the canopy include Acer rubrum, Fraxinus americana, Juglans nigra, Pinus virginiana, Prunus serotina, Robinia pseudoacacia, Tilia americana var. heterophylla, and Ulmus americana. In habitats with a more calcareous influence in the substrate, Juglans nigra may have a higher relative importance or even be codominant. The subcanopy is absent to well-developed. Typical dominants are Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, and Acer rubrum. Other species that can be present in the subcanopy include Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Tsuga canadensis, Juglans cinerea, Halesia tetraptera var. monticola, Acer pensylvanicum, Acer saccharum, Amelanchier laevis, Oxydendrum arboreum, and Prunus serotina. The shrub stratum is absent to moderately dense. Rhododendron maximum and Tsuga canadensis are the most common shrubs, although other species can be present. Herbaceous cover is often absent or sparse, with ground cover dominated by litter and duff. On smaller streams, near open fields or where animal grazing is evident, herbaceous cover can approach 100% cover. Species often present with high coverage include Amphicarpaea bracteata, Dichanthelium boscii, Microstegium vimineum, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans. Other common species include Arisaema triphyllum, Asplenium platyneuron, Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Carex spp. (e.g., Carex digitalis, Carex intumescens, Carex laxiflora var. laxiflora, Carex plantaginea, Carex platyphylla, Carex retroflexa, Carex swanii, Carex torta), Dichanthelium spp. (e.g., Dichanthelium commutatum, Dichanthelium dichotomum, Dichanthelium sphaerocarpon), Houstonia serpyllifolia, Laportea canadensis, Mitchella repens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Polystichum acrostichoides, Prenanthes spp., Sanicula canadensis, and Verbesina alternifolia.

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    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Platanus occidentalis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Cornus florida G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Microstegium vimineum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This low-elevation montane or submontane alluvial forest was defined from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, where it is found on large alluvial flats and high terraces along large rivers (e.g., Little Pigeon River) or on small, disturbed flats along medium-sized perennial streams. It often occurs on sites that were formerly cleared for farming or settlement. Soils are typically deep, loamy silts but can have large rocks and cobbles. The mean elevation of samples is 510 m (1680 feet), ranging from 450 to 580 m (1480-1900 feet). It is found at lower elevations in the southern fringes of the Southern Blue Ridge Province, or in the adjacent Piedmont and Southern Ridge and Valley. Soils are typically deep, loamy silts but can have large rocks and cobbles. It would be possibly expected at lower elevations as well, especially in the adjacent ecoregions. It often occurs on sites that were formerly cleared for farming or settlement.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 19May2005
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Mar1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): Southeastern Ecology Group

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.

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

  • Newell, C. L., and R. K. Peet. 1995. Vegetation of Linville Gorge Wilderness, North Carolina. Unpublished report. to USDA Forest Service. University of North Carolina, Department of Biology, Chapel Hill. 211 pp.

  • Patterson, K. D., C. J. Ulrey, and J. Drake. 1999. Vegetation classification of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Cades Cove and Mount Le Conte quadrangles. Unpublished report submitted to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • 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.

  • Schotz, A., H. Summer, and R. White, Jr. 2008. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Little River Canyon National Preserve. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 244 pp.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • 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.


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