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Vitis aestivalis Vine-Scrub
Translated Name: Summer Grape Vine-Scrub
Common Name: Montane Grape Opening
Unique Identifier: CEGL003890
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is strongly dominated by the vine Vitis aestivalis. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, examples occur on steep to very steep, northerly, middle to upper slopes at intermediate elevations between 610 and 1070 m (2000-3500 feet). All areas sampled showed evidence of disturbance by wind, ice, or logging. Vitis aestivalis vines, extremely thick in patches and covering nearly every tree as well as the ground, have 50-100% coverage. Trees in the canopy and subcanopy have 0-50% coverage and vary from site to site. The shrub layer is sparse. The herb layer is sparse to moderate, decreasing with vine coverage. Herbaceous composition varies from site to site. Beneath the vine canopy, coarse woody debris and tip-up mounds are typical. The dynamics of this community are poorly understood. It apparently originates from disturbance, such as an ice or wind storm, and can persist for decades. Examples can range in size from less than one to ten hectares.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This community is important for wildlife, especially bears. In the Great Smoky Mountains, forests previously occupying sites that support this community are mesic forest types, such as cove forests or mesic forest dominated by chestnut oak and red oak. Forests on steep, mesic sites may be more susceptible to treefall and gap formation.

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 Appalachian Oak / Chestnut Forest
Alliance Mesic Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak Forest

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



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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 Grape Opening Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Tennessee Vitis aestivalis Vine-Shrubland Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Grape Hole
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: MacKenzie, M. D. 1993. The vegetation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Past, present, and future. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 154 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Grape Opening
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.708 Ozark-Ouachita Dry-Mesic Oak Forest
CES202.886 Southern Appalachian Oak Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (09Sep2015)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This is an uncommon community. It is of limited extent within its range and its occurrence could be limited by specific disturbance regimes.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: KY, NC, TN
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known from the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee and the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky.

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
Province Name: Ozark Broadleaf Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M222 Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Boston Mountains Section
Section Code: M222A Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community is strongly dominated by the vine Vitis aestivalis. These vines, extremely thick in patches and covering nearly every tree as well as the ground, have 50-100% coverage. Trees in the canopy and subcanopy have 0-50% coverage and vary from site to site, but typical species include Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Halesia tetraptera var. monticola, and Liriodendron tulipifera. The shrub layer is sparse. The herb layer is sparse to moderate, decreasing with vine coverage. Herbaceous composition varies from site to site but is typical of mesic forests in the area. Some of the more common species from the sampled areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are Ageratina altissima var. altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum ssp. triphyllum, Polystichum acrostichoides, Sanguinaria canadensis, and Viola spp. Beneath the vine canopy, coarse woody debris and tip-up mounds are typical.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Vitis aestivalis G2 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this community occurs on steep to very steep, northerly, middle to upper slopes at intermediate elevations between 610 and 1070 m (2000-3500 feet) (MacKenzie 1993).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The dynamics of this community are poorly understood. It apparently originates from disturbance, such as an ice or wind storm; and can persist for decades. This community can range in size from less than a hectare to ten hectares. All areas sampled showed evidence of disturbance by wind, ice, or logging.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley after MacKenzie (1993)
Element Description Edition Date: 09Sep2015
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley and M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Sep2015
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
  • MacKenzie, M. D. 1993. The vegetation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Past, present, and future. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 154 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. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 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.

  • 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, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.


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