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Nyssa biflora - (Acer rubrum) / Ilex opaca / Leucothoe axillaris / Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Swamp Tupelo - (Red Maple) / American Holly / Coastal Doghobble / Prickly Bog Sedge Swamp Forest
Common Name: Swamp Tupelo Floodplain Seepage Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004427
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs in floodplain edges of brownwater floodplains in the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plains, in situations that are very rarely flooded by alluvial waters, but which receive regular seepage from adjacent upland slopes. The hydrology is constantly saturated, and soils are acidic and organic. The canopy is strongly dominated by Nyssa biflora, with some Acer rubrum, Quercus michauxii, Magnolia virginiana, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Liquidambar styraciflua. The subcanopy has abundant Ilex opaca, with some Acer rubrum and Liquidambar styraciflua. The shrub layer is dominated by Leucothoe axillaris, with Itea virginica, Clethra alnifolia, Persea palustris, and Arundinaria gigantea also present. Woody vines such as Decumaria barbara, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis sp. are locally common. The herb layer is well-developed and is dominated by species such as Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea, Carex bromoides ssp. bromoides, and Woodwardia areolata. Other herbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Ludwigia palustris, Macbridea caroliniana, Carex leptalea, Platanthera clavellata, Hydrocotyle verticillata var. verticillata, and Mitchella repens. Sphagnum spp. have substantial cover.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Few stands of this vegetation type have been studied, and rangewide information is limited (TNC 1998b).

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.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Basin Swamp & Flatwoods
Group Coastal Plain Hardwood Basin Swamp
Alliance Tupelo Nonriverine Seepage Flat Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004645 Nyssa biflora - Acer rubrum var. trilobum - Liriodendron tulipifera / Ilex coriacea - Lyonia lucida Swamp Forest
CEGL004772 Liriodendron tulipifera - Nyssa biflora - Magnolia virginiana / Toxicodendron vernix - Morella caroliniensis Swamp Forest
CEGL008477 Nyssa biflora - Liquidambar styraciflua / Magnolia virginiana / Hamamelis virginiana - Viburnum nudum Swamp 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
South Carolina Nyssa biflora - (Acer rubrum) / Ilex opaca / Leucothoe axillaris / Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea Forest Equivalent Certain SCWMRD unpubl. data



Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.252 Atlantic Coastal Plain Streamhead Seepage Swamp, Pocosin and Baygall
CES203.505 Southern Coastal Plain Seepage Swamp and Baygall


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (09Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: The specialized habitat required for this community is scarce. It is restricted to floodplain edges of brownwater floodplains in the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic coastal plains of Georgia and South Carolina. These habitats are very rarely flooded by alluvial waters, but they receive regular seepage from adjacent upland slopes. The hydrology is constantly saturated. This association is threatened by the effects of upslope timber removal and from alterations to the groundwater hydrology. Some stands have probably been impacted by removal of more valuable timber species (e.g., Quercus spp.). This would leave a forest in which earlier successional species (e.g. Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua) were more dominant. Additional current threats include deposition from increased upslope erosion, windthrow, timber removal, site conversion, microclimate modification from intensive silvicultural practices on adjacent uplands, herbicide use, and vegetation damage by feral hogs. Some examples are conserved in the Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community occurs in floodplain edges of brownwater floodplains in the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic coastal plains of Georgia and South Carolina.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy of this association is strongly dominated by Nyssa biflora, with some Acer rubrum, Quercus michauxii, Magnolia virginiana, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Liquidambar styraciflua. The subcanopy has abundant Ilex opaca, with some Acer rubrum and Liquidambar styraciflua. Some stands may have Quercus michauxii present. The shrub layer is dominated by Leucothoe axillaris, with Itea virginica, Clethra alnifolia, Persea palustris, and Arundinaria gigantea also present. Woody vines such as Decumaria barbara, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis sp. are locally common. The herb layer is well-developed and is dominated by species such as Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea, Carex bromoides ssp. bromoides, and Woodwardia areolata. Other herbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Ludwigia palustris, Macbridea caroliniana, Carex leptalea, Platanthera clavellata, Hydrocotyle verticillata var. verticillata, and Mitchella repens. Sphagnum spp. have substantial cover.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Nyssa biflora G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Ilex opaca G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Leucothoe axillaris G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Macbridea caroliniana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Macbridea caroliniana
  (Carolina Birds-in-a-nest)
G2G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occurs in floodplain edges of brownwater floodplains, in situations that are very rarely flooded by alluvial waters, but which receive regular seepage from adjacent upland slopes. The hydrology is constantly saturated, and soils are acidic and organic. At Congaree Swamp National Monument, this community is associated almost exclusively with Dorovan muck soils (TNC 1998b). At Fort Benning (Georgia/Alabama), this saturated forest type occurs in floodplain flats and along floodplain edges. It is not saturated as a result of stream or river flooding, but rather due to seepage from adjacent sloping areas. This association may occur in these situations due to a difference in soil structure such as a subsurface clay layer that could lead to the saturated soil surface. The shrub layer in these associations is open and, as a result, there is more diversity in the associated herbs. This is in contrast to Nyssa biflora - Acer rubrum var. trilobum - Liriodendron tulipifera / Ilex coriacea - Lyonia lucida Swamp Forest (CEGL004645), which is a saturated forest type that is typically found in the longleaf pine matrix in sandhill situations as small, narrow patches along small intermittent streams, and Liriodendron tulipifera - Nyssa biflora - Magnolia virginiana / Toxicodendron vernix - Morella caroliniensis / Osmunda regalis Swamp Forest (CEGL004772), which is a saturated forest that is also found in longleaf pine matrix woodland situations. It appears to be most common in areas that are more mesic than those seen in sandhill situations (for example along larger streams and creeks).


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 15Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Jan2001
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
  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 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.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. [1998]b. Classification of the vegetation of Congaree Swamp National Monument. Report to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Southern Conservation Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 67 pp.


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