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Pinus taeda / Morella cerifera / Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Loblolly Pine / Wax-myrtle / Royal Fern Swamp Forest
Common Name: Coastal Loblolly Pine Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006137
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This maritime/coastal wetland forest occurs in backdune depressions with high water tables and fringing estuaries from Delaware to North Carolina. Examples are characterized by a closed to partially open canopy dominated by Pinus taeda. Other canopy associates may be absent, or may include Acer rubrum, Persea palustris, or Liquidambar styraciflua. The understory is made up of vines, strongly dominated by Smilax rotundifolia, with lesser amounts of Toxicodendron radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. In addition to comprising the majority of the ground layer of these forests, these vines are relatively large-stemmed lianas that contribute significant cover to the canopy by covering the lower branches of trees. Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera) is a typical shrub of this community. The herbaceous layer is usually relatively sparse, characterized most frequently by ferns such as Woodwardia areolata, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, or Osmunda cinnamomea, and farther south (in North Carolina) by Chasmanthium laxum. Polygonum pensylvanicum may also occur. On Assateague Island National Seashore, Pinus taeda dominates the canopy, with occasional Acer rubrum. Smilax rotundifolia is the strongly dominant vine of the understory, with lesser amounts of Toxicodendron radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Morella cerifera is also a minor component of this vegetation. Trees tend to occur on slightly elevated hummocks, with standing water evident in hollows. Phragmites australis, Rubus argutus, Panicum virgatum, and Polygonum pensylvanicum also occur within this community on Assateague Island National Seashore. Tree diameters range from 12-36 cm dbh. This community occurs primarily on the bayside of the island adjacent to salt marsh. Soils are characterized by moderately shallow muck (15 cm) overlying organic matter-stained sands. This vegetation occurs adjacent to salt marshes, sometimes even forming small 'islands' within high salt marsh. In North Carolina, it may extend well inland fringing bays and sounds on wet saturated flats that are flooded by storm tides.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

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 Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain Sweetgum Depression Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006040 Pinus taeda - Quercus (falcata, nigra) / Morella cerifera / Vitis rotundifolia Forest
CEGL006238 Acer rubrum - Nyssa sylvatica - Magnolia virginiana / Viburnum nudum var. nudum / Osmunda cinnamomea Swamp Forest
CEGL006849 Pinus taeda / Morella cerifera / Spartina patens Tidal Woodland
CEGL007560 Pinus taeda - Nyssa biflora - Liquidambar styraciflua / Lyonia lucida Ruderal Wet 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
Delaware Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Pinus taeda / Morella cerifera / Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New Jersey Pinus taeda / Morella cerifera / Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Forest Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
North Carolina Estuarine Fringe Pine Forest (Loblolly Pine Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Pinus taeda / Morella cerifera / Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pinus taeda / Myrica cerifera / Juncus coriaceus - Chasmanthium laxum Saturated Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Pinus taeda / Myrica cerifera / Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis 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]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sneddon, L. A., A. Berdine, G. P. Fleming, and S. Brady. 1997. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Unpublished report to the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Pinus taeda Forested Wetland Series
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Coniferous swamp
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Shreve, F., M. A. Chrysler, F. H. Blodgett, and F. W. Besley. 1910. The plant life of Maryland. Maryland Weather Service. Special Publication, Volume III. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, MD. 533 pp.
Related Concept Name: Estuarine Fringe Loblolly Pine Forest
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.
Related Concept Name: Estuarine Fringe Pine Forest (Loblolly Pine Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Loblolly Pine: 81
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Loblolly pine association
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Brush, G. S., C. Lenk, and J. Smith. 1980. The natural forests of Maryland: An explanation of the vegetation map of Maryland. Ecological Monographs 50:77-92.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Wet Pine Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mature loblolly pine stands of wet sites
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Bratton, S. P., and K. Davison. 1987. Disturbance and succession in Buxton Woods, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Castanea 52:166-179.
Related Concept Name: Pine woodland
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.
Related Concept Name: Woodland community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.261 Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest
CES203.302 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (31Jan2005)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This community is restricted to barrier islands and coastal areas of the mainland that are directly influenced by the maritime climate. The range is restricted and includes coastal areas from Cape May, New Jersey, to northern North Carolina. As a community in large part restricted to barrier islands, it is faced with threats to barrier islands in general: intense development pressures where it remains unprotected.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MD, NC, NJ, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community ranges from the coast of Delaware and New Jersey to North 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: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Examples are characterized by a closed to partially open canopy dominated by Pinus taeda. Other canopy associates may be absent or may include Acer rubrum, Persea palustris, or Liquidambar styraciflua. The understory is made up of vines, strongly dominated by Smilax rotundifolia, with lesser amounts of Toxicodendron radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. In addition to comprising the majority of the ground layer of these forests, these vines are relatively large-stemmed lianas that contribute significant cover to the canopy by covering the lower branches of trees. Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera) is a typical shrub of this community. The herbaceous layer is usually relatively sparse, characterized most frequently by ferns such as Woodwardia areolata, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, or Osmunda cinnamomea, and farther south (in North Carolina) by Chasmanthium laxum. Polygonum pensylvanicum may also occur. On Assateague Island National Seashore, Pinus taeda dominates the canopy, with occasional Acer rubrum. Smilax rotundifolia is the strongly dominant vine of the understory, with lesser amounts of Toxicodendron radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Morella cerifera is also a minor component of this vegetation. Phragmites australis, Rubus argutus, Panicum virgatum, and Polygonum pensylvanicum also occur within this community on Assateague Island National Seashore.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus taeda G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Smilax glauca G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Smilax rotundifolia G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Morella cerifera G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Osmunda cinnamomea G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Osmunda regalis G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This maritime/coastal wetland forest occurs in backdune depressions with high water and as an estuarine fringe along bays and sounds. Tree diameters range from 12-36 cm dbh. This community occurs primarily on the bayside of islands, barrier spits and on mainlands adjacent to salt marsh. Soils are characterized by moderately shallow muck (15 cm) overlying organic matter-stained sands. This vegetation occurs adjacent to salt marshes, sometimes even forming small "islands" within high salt marsh. In North Carolina, it may extend well inland fringing bays and sounds on wet saturated flats that are flooded by storm tides. Trees tend to occur on slightly elevated hummocks, with standing water evident in hollows.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Fire may once have been an important ecological force in this community.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and A. Berdine
Element Description Edition Date: 31Jan2005
Element Description Author(s): J. Teague
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): L.A. Sneddon, mod. M.P. Schafale

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


References
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

  • Bratton, S. P., and K. Davison. 1987. Disturbance and succession in Buxton Woods, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Castanea 52:166-179.

  • Breden, T. F., Y. R. Alger, K. S. Walz, and A. G. Windisch. 2001. Classification of vegetation communities of New Jersey: Second iteration. Association for Biodiversity Information and New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton.

  • Brock, J. C., C. W. Wright, M. Patterson, A. Naeghandi, and L. J. Travers. 2007. EAARL bare earth topography - Assateague Island National Seashore. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2007-1176. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1176/start.html]

  • Brush, G. S., C. Lenk, and J. Smith. 1980. The natural forests of Maryland: An explanation of the vegetation map of Maryland. Ecological Monographs 50:77-92.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

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

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.

  • Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • Shreve, F., M. A. Chrysler, F. H. Blodgett, and F. W. Besley. 1910. The plant life of Maryland. Maryland Weather Service. Special Publication, Volume III. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, MD. 533 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., A. Berdine, G. P. Fleming, and S. Brady. 1997. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Unpublished report to the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1995c. NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.


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