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Aesculus flava - Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum / Caulophyllum thalictroides - Actaea podocarpa Forest
Translated Name: Yellow Buckeye - Yellow Birch - Sugar Maple / Blue Cohosh - Mountain Bugbane Forest
Common Name: Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest (Rich Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004973
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association includes forests on high but sheltered slopes in the Southern Appalachians, with canopies dominated by species typically known as northern hardwoods (Aesculus flava, Fagus grandifolia, Betula alleghaniensis, Acer saccharum), but with a rich herbaceous flora dominated by forbs and more typical of lower elevation "cove" forests. This forest occurs on deep, rocky soils on the upper slopes of coves, and on other protected landforms, at elevations of 1070-1525 m (3500-5000 feet), and can be associated with mafic substrates. Other canopy species can include Fraxinus americana, Tilia americana var. heterophylla, and Quercus rubra. In the Great Smoky Mountains and in the Nantahala Mountains (Standing Indian), Halesia tetraptera var. monticola can be an important canopy component. The shrub stratum is typically open, but small trees such as Acer spicatum, Acer pensylvanicum, and Amelanchier laevis are frequent. Herbaceous cover can be lush, quite diverse, and is typically dominated and characterized by large forbs such as Caulophyllum thalictroides, Actaea podocarpa (= Cimicifuga americana), Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Collinsonia canadensis, Ageratina altissima var. roanensis, Laportea canadensis, Campanulastrum americanum, and Tiarella cordifolia. Other species typical of northern hardwood forests such as Dryopteris intermedia and Eurybia chlorolepis are also common. The canopy of these forests always has a component of Betula alleghaniensis and/or Fagus grandifolia, occurring with Acer saccharum, over a lush and diverse herbaceous stratum.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: These forests occur above the elevational limit of some of the typical "cove" canopy species [see Liriodendron tulipifera - Tilia americana var. heterophylla - Aesculus flava Forest Alliance (A0235)] such as Liriodendron tulipifera and Carya cordiformis.

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-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest
Group Appalachian-Allegheny Northern Hardwood - Conifer Forest
Alliance Central & Southern Appalachian Buckeye - Northern Hardwood Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007285 Betula alleghaniensis - Fagus grandifolia / Viburnum lantanoides / Eurybia chlorolepis - Dryopteris intermedia Forest
CEGL007695 Aesculus flava - Acer saccharum - (Tilia americana var. heterophylla) / Hydrophyllum canadense - Solidago flexicaulis 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 Northern Hardwood Forest (Rich Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Tennessee Aesculus flava - Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum / Acer spicatum / Caulophyllum thalictroides - Actaea podocarpa Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer saccharum - Aesculus flava - (Betula alleghaniensis, Fagus grandifolia) / Actaea podocarpa - Dryopteris intermedia 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: High-Elevation Cove 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: Northern Hardwood Forest (Rich 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: Northern Hardwood Forest (Typic 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
CES202.029 Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (27Oct2003)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This community is naturally uncommon due to specific habitat requirements and a restricted geographic range. It only occurs at moderate to high elevations, on protected landforms, in the Southern Blue Ridge. Most documented occurrences are of moderate to high quality, although destructive silvicultural practices could threaten remaining occurrences. The European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) is predicted to spread within the range of this community by 2005 and poses a threat to this community. There are potential difficulties in assigning plots or occurrences to this association (Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest [Rich Type] (CEGL004973)) versus Southern Appalachian Cove Forest (Rich Montane Type) (CEGL007695). The current (2003) understanding of the differences would dictate leaving the rank at G3.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, TN, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is a regional endemic, found only in the high-mountain areas of the Southern Blue Ridge, from Virginia south through western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northeastern Georgia, with outlying examples in the Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley in Virginia (Clinch Mountain and High Knob massif).

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: 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 canopy of these forests always has a component of Betula alleghaniensis and/or Fagus grandifolia, occurring with Acer saccharum, over a lush and diverse herbaceous stratum. The canopies of stands are dominated by species typically known as "northern hardwoods" (Aesculus flava, Fagus grandifolia, Betula alleghaniensis, Acer saccharum), but with a rich herbaceous flora dominated by forbs and more typical of lower elevation "cove" forests. Other canopy species can include Tilia americana var. heterophylla, Fraxinus americana, and Quercus rubra. In the Great Smoky Mountains and the Nantahala Mountains, Halesia tetraptera var. monticola can be an important canopy component. The shrub stratum is typically open, but small trees such as Acer spicatum, Acer pensylvanicum, and Amelanchier laevis are frequent. Herbaceous cover can be lush, quite diverse, and is typically dominated and characterized by large forbs such as Caulophyllum thalictroides, Actaea podocarpa (= Cimicifuga americana), Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Collinsonia canadensis, Ageratina altissima var. roanensis, Laportea canadensis, Campanulastrum americanum, and Tiarella cordifolia. Other species typical of northern hardwood forests such as Dryopteris intermedia and Eurybia chlorolepis are also common.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer saccharum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Aesculus flava G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Betula alleghaniensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fagus grandifolia G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Halesia tetraptera var. monticola G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Aconitum reclinatum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Actaea racemosa G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Coreopsis latifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Gentiana austromontana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Geum geniculatum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Laportea canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lilium grayi G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Prenanthes roanensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solidago glomerata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Stachys clingmanii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Viola canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Deparia acrostichoides G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex ruthii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aconitum reclinatum
  (White Monkshood)
G3  
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis
  (Appalachian White Snakeroot)
G5T3T4  
Carex ruthii
  (Ruth's Sedge)
G3  
Coreopsis latifolia
  (Broadleaf Tickseed)
G3  
Gentiana austromontana
  (Appalachian Gentian)
G3  
Geum geniculatum
  (Bent Avens)
G2  
Lilium grayi
  (Gray's Lily)
G3  
Prenanthes roanensis
  (Roan Mountain Rattlesnake-root)
G3  
Solidago glomerata
  (Skunk Goldenrod)
G3  
Stachys clingmanii
  (Clingman's Hedge-nettle)
G2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association includes forests on high but sheltered slopes in the Southern Appalachians. This forest occurs on deep, rocky soils on the upper slopes of coves, and on other protected landforms, at elevations of 1070-1525 m (3500-5000 feet), and can be associated with mafic substrates.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Southern Blue Ridge Planning Team
Element Description Edition Date: 23Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming and K. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 27Oct2003
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): K. Patterson, mod. 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
  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 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.

  • 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.


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