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Pinus echinata / Schizachyrium scoparium Appalachian Woodland
Translated Name: Shortleaf Pine / Little Bluestem Appalachian Woodland
Common Name: Appalachian Shortleaf Pine / Little Bluestem Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL003560
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These fire-maintained, shortleaf pine woodlands occurred historically in the Appalachian regions of Alabama, north through Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky on dry ridges and slopes or rock outcrops. Almost no intact examples are known to persist, although restoration efforts are underway in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, the Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia, and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Stands of these woodlands are dominated by Pinus echinata, with less than 25% cover by Quercus spp. They may contain an admixture of Pinus virginiana or Pinus rigida. The canopy can range from an open forest to woodland structure. The understory is open and dominated by graminoids and forbs. This community historically provided habitat for montane populations of Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). More information is needed to characterize and distinguish this community.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This community occurs outside the range of Pinus palustris. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this community is being restored through the reintroduction of fire (B. Dellinger pers. comm.). There are no true remnants of this community left in Kentucky; all have Quercus spp. understory and shrubs and belong in a Pinus echinata - Quercus spp. woodland alliance (J. Campbell pers. comm.). On the very western edge of the Blue Ridge province in northern Georgia (the Cohutta Foothills), this community is being restored with the reintroduction of fire (K. Wooster pers. comm.). The current presence of related vegetation in the Cumberlands and/or the Interior Low Plateau of Kentucky and Tennessee is more speculative; in those regions, this type was probably more common historically than it is at present.

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 Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Shortleaf Pine - Oak Forest & Woodland
Alliance Appalachian Shortleaf Pine - Oak Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003765 Pinus echinata - Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica / Vaccinium pallidum Woodland
CEGL004445 Pinus echinata - Quercus prinus - Quercus stellata / Vaccinium pallidum / Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia Woodland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications


Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.332 Southern Appalachian Low-Elevation Pine Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (23Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This community is naturally rare in the Appalachians, where shortleaf pine communities are uncommon. It is a fire-maintained community, and most remaining acreage is fire-suppressed with little compositional similarity to historic vegetation. Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) populations seem to have undergone rangewide declines in vigor and extent. This phenomenon is primarily due to changes in fire regime and to depredations of the Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). Stands are threatened by the effects of continued fire suppression, which would inhibit the reproduction of Pinus echinata.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ALpotentially occurs, GA, KY, NC, TN
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurred historically in the Appalachian regions of Alabama, north through Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Restoration efforts are underway in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

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
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Ozark Highlands Section
Section Code: 222A Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E 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
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: An example of this community undergoing restoration in the western edge of the Blue Ridge, in Fannin County, Georgia, has a canopy dominated by Pinus echinata, but with significant coverage by Quercus coccinea and Quercus alba. Other woody species in the canopy and subcanopy include Pinus taeda, Pinus strobus, Nyssa sylvatica, Acer rubrum, Quercus prinus, and Oxydendrum arboreum. The shrub stratum is open, but patchy, dominated by ericaceous shrubs such as Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium hirsutum, Vaccinium arboreum, Rhododendron alabamense, Kalmia latifolia, and Lyonia ligustrina. Other shrubs and vines include Smilax glauca, Hypericum hypericoides ssp. multicaule, and Diospyros virginiana. The herbaceous stratum is closed, but has variable local dominance. Visual dominants at this site were Schizachyrium scoparium, Pityopsis graminifolia, Pteridium aquilinum, Baptisia tinctoria, and Epigaea repens. Other herbaceous species are Iris cristata, Coreopsis major, Solidago odora, Dichanthelium commutatum, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Galax urceolata, Symphyotrichum dumosum (= Aster dumosus), Tephrosia virginiana, and Ageratina aromatica. A sample from the upper Piedmont of Georgia (Chattahoochee National Forest) which is placed here is dominated by Pinus echinata in the canopy. The subcanopy includes Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Quercus marilandica, Quercus stellata, Nyssa sylvatica, and Liquidambar styraciflua. Shrubs are Vaccinium arboreum, Chionanthus virginicus, Smilax glauca, and Crataegus uniflora. Herbs include Danthonia sericea, Coreopsis major, Schizachyrium scoparium, Andropogon gyrans, and Liatris microcephala. This example is adjacent to a "glade." An additional sample from the Cherokee National Forest in Monroe County, Tennessee, is a frequently burned woodland occurring on a steep slope underlain by phyllite. The canopy is dominated by Pinus echinata (10-25% cover). Other canopy components include Pinus rigida, Pinus virginiana, and Quercus alba. The open subcanopy is characterized by Quercus marilandica, Quercus alba, and Quercus stellata. The open shrub layer includes Calycanthus floridus and Ceanothus americanus. Some of the more prominent members of the dense and diverse herbaceous layer include Schizachyrium scoparium, Sorghastrum nutans, Pityopsis graminifolia, Tephrosia virginiana, Liatris scariosa, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Symphyotrichum undulatum (= Aster undulatus), Helianthus divaricatus, and Galactia volubilis.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus echinata G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Vaccinium hirsutum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Picoides borealis
  (Red-cockaded Woodpecker)
G3 LE: Listed endangered
Vaccinium hirsutum
  (Hairy Blueberry)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: One stand attributed to this type from the Cherokee National Forest in Monroe County, Tennessee, is a frequently burned woodland occurring on a steep slope underlain by phyllite (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Nearby stands on similar topographic positions often have a very different composition and lack the open woodland character. In Georgia, these adjacent stands are often densely dominated by Pinus virginiana. Young Pinus strobus seedlings are becoming established underneath the canopy and are anticipated to move into the gaps caused by the dying and declining canopy species. The dense shaded environment of these stands suppresses fine fuels provided by herbaceous species and are consequently difficult to burn.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Southeastern Ecology Group and Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 31Dec2014
Element Description Author(s): Southeastern Ecology Group
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): K.D. 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
  • Campbell, Julian J. N. Personal communication. Kentucky Field Office, The Nature Conservancy.

  • Dellinger, Bob. Personal communication. Ecologist. USDI National Park Service, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN.

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

  • Wooster, Keith. Personal communication. Biologist. U.S. Forest Service, Chattahoochee National Forest, Chattsworth, GA.


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