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Umbilicaria muehlenbergii - Lasallia papulosa - (Melanelia stygia) Nonvascular Vegetation
Translated Name: Plated Rocktripe Lichen - Toadskin Lichen - (Stygian Black-parmelia) Nonvascular Vegetation
Common Name: Central Appalachian High-Elevation Acidic Boulderfield
Unique Identifier: CEGL004389
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association occurs on talus and exposed outcrops of quartzite and sandstone at 1050-1450 m (3500-4800 feet) elevation in the central Appalachians. It is dominated by Umbilicaria muehlenbergii, Lasallia papulosa, and sometimes Melanelia stygia. The highly acidic, siliciclastic rocks support numerous crustose lichens. Crevices with slight soil development have Cladina rangiferina, and very scattered vascular plants, such as Vaccinium angustifolium, Menziesia pilosa, Kalmia latifolia, Dicentra eximia, and Sorbus americana, may be established. Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus horridus) are very common, as are wood rats (Neotoma magister).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is known from Spruce Knob, Dolly Sods, and North Fork Mountain in West Virginia; Jack Mountain in Pendleton County, West Virginia, and Highland County, Virginia; and possibly over high-elevation quartzite talus in western Rockingham and Augusta counties, Virginia.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 6 - Open Rock Vegetation
Subclass 6.B - Temperate & Boreal Open Rock Vegetation
Formation 6.B.1 - Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Other Rock Vegetation
Division 6.B.1.Na - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Rock Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Group Appalachian Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Alliance Appalachian Lichen Boulderfield

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004142 Lasallia (papulosa, pensylvanica) - Dimelaena oreina - (Melanelia culbersonii) Nonvascular Vegetation
CEGL004143 Lasallia papulosa - Stereocaulon glaucescens - Chrysothrix chlorina Nonvascular Vegetation



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Lichen / Bryophyte Boulderfield
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: Lichen-dominated sandstone cliff, outcrops and talus
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.601 North-Central Appalachian Acidic Cliff and Talus


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2? (07Dec2006)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: There are probably fewer than 20 occurrences of this community rangewide. It is reported only from eastern West Virginia and western Virginia at high elevations. There are probably less than 30 acres rangewide; currently about 10 to 20 acres are documented in West Virginia. The community has probably always been rare, and there are no significant threats.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known only from high elevations of eastern West Virginia and western Virginia.

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: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Vascular plants are generally absent and lichens dominate. Umbilicaria muehlenbergii typically dominates, often with Melanelia stygia, and Lasallia papulosa is a constant codominant or associate. The highly acidic, siliciclastic rocks support numerous crustose lichens. Among the few that have been identified are Fuscidea recensa, Sarcogyne clavus, and the northern disjuncts Arctoparmelia centrifuga and Fuscidea praeruptorum. Crevices with slight soil development have Cladina rangiferina, and very scattered vascular plants, such as Vaccinium angustifolium, Menziesia pilosa, Kalmia latifolia, Dicentra eximia, and Sorbus americana may be established. Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) are very common, as are wood rats (Neotoma magister).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula lenta G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G2 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G2 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 
Vitis aestivalis G2 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 
Lasallia papulosa G2 Lichen Nonvascular    
 
 
Umbilicaria muhlenbergii G2 Lichen Nonvascular  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association typically occurs on fully exposed talus and associated outcrops of Tuscarora quartzite and sandstones of the Allegheny Formation and Pottsville Group at 1050-1450 m (3500-4800 feet) elevation. Sites may be located on sideslope talus deposits below outcrops, or on extensive, weathered-in-place boulderfields on upper slopes and ridgetops. There is little or no available soil except for occasional deposits of organic matter in crevices.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The slopes appear unstable, though the frequency of rockslides is uncertain.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 07Dec2006
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley, S.C. Gawler and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07Dec2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke, mod. S.C. Gawler and G.P. Fleming

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • 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. 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.


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