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Pinus echinata - Quercus prinus - Quercus stellata / Vaccinium pallidum / Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia Woodland
Translated Name: Shortleaf Pine - Chestnut Oak - Post Oak / Blue Ridge Blueberry / Common Silk-grass Woodland
Common Name: Virginia Shield Pine - Oak Barrens
Unique Identifier: CEGL004445
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community represents "shield barrens" of sandstone areas in southwestern Virginia. These are fire-maintained shortleaf pine - oak woodlands found on edaphically extreme sites. The natural woodland condition is uncommon. The canopy of this association is dominated by Pinus echinata, Quercus prinus, and Quercus stellata. A dominant shrub is Vaccinium pallidum. Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia is a characteristic herb.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Additional examples of this community type should be sought elsewhere in the Cumberland Mountains of Virginia and Kentucky. Although this vegetation is primarily controlled by edaphic stresses, occasional fires may also play an important ecological role.

Conceptual overlap between this community and Pinus rigida / Schizachyrium scoparium - Sorghastrum nutans - Baptisia tinctoria Woodland (CEGL003617), known only from Pine Mountain, Kentucky, and Pinus echinata / Schizachyrium scoparium Appalachian Woodland (CEGL003560), of somewhat broader distribution in the Southern Appalachians, needs resolution.


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
CEGL003560 Pinus echinata / Schizachyrium scoparium Appalachian Woodland
CEGL003617 Pinus rigida / Schizachyrium scoparium - Sorghastrum nutans - Baptisia tinctoria Woodland
CEGL003706 Quercus prinus / Cornus florida - Amelanchier arborea / Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia Woodland
CEGL007500 Pinus echinata - Quercus stellata - Quercus prinus / Danthonia spicata Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Pinus echinata - Quercus montana - Carya alba / Sorghastrum nutans - Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia - Solidago odora Woodland
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: Pinus echinata - Quercus prinus - Carya glabra / Sorghastrum nutans - Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia - Solidago odora Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Acidic Woodland
Relationship: B - Broader
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]

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? (22Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: The type is known only from one general area on Pine Mountain (in the Cumberland Mountains on the Virginia-Kentucky stateline), where it occurs in association with unusual, edaphic habitats. The final resolution of its rank and its rarity depends on the determination of its total global range. It is vulnerable to logging, development, invasion by exotic plant species, and fire exclusion. Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) populations seem to have undergone rangewide declines in the vigor and extent. Stands of this association are threatened by the effects of continued fire suppression, which would inhibit the reproduction of Pinus echinata and cause the grass component of the herbaceous layer to deteriorate.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: KYpotentially occurs, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known only from the Virginia slopes of Pine Mountain in the Cumberland Mountains on the Virginia-Kentucky stateline, but most likely also occurs on the Kentucky flank of this ridge. Its status elsewhere in the Cumberland Mountains and adjacent parts of the Ridge and Valley province is unknown.

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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stand physiognomy is a very open woodland with <50% canopy cover of trees generally <15 m tall. Pinus echinata and Quercus prinus are the dominant canopy species, with Carya glabra and Oxydendrum arboreum abundant in lower tree layers. Additional scattered trees include Amelanchier arborea, Quercus velutina, Quercus stellata, Quercus coccinea, Acer rubrum, and Liriodendron tulipifera. The shrub layer is rather sparse (25-40% cover), with scattered clumps of tree saplings, Rhus copallinum, Cornus florida, Rhododendron catawbiense, Rhododendron cumberlandense, Kalmia latifolia, Vaccinium pallidum, and Vaccinium stamineum. The herb layer varies from sparse on outcrops to dense and prairie-like on larger soil mats. Sorghastrum nutans and Schizachyrium scoparium are the characteristic grasses of these mats. The occurrence of several species with strong Coastal Plain / Piedmont affinities (in Virginia), including Solidago odora, Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia, Danthonia sericea, Eupatorium album, Dichanthelium laxiflorum, and Sericocarpus linifolius, is notable. Additional characteristic herbs include Carex pensylvanica, Helianthus microcephalus, Clitoria mariana, Symphyotrichum patens (= Aster patens), Coreopsis major, Lysimachia tonsa, Scleria oligantha, Ionactis linariifolius, and many others. Species richness of two plot-sampled stands (n = 60 and 69 taxa per 400 m2) is exceptionally high for pine-oak vegetation in the Cumberland Mountains.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus prinus G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pyrularia pubera G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Robinia hispida G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Chrysopsis mariana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Cleistes bifaria G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eupatorium album G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Eupatorium rotundifolium var. ovatum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago odora G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Danthonia sericea G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Stands occupy steep, southeast-facing, chevron-shaped sandstone outcrops produced by stream incision at the heads of large hollows on Pine Mountain (in the Cumberland Mountains on the Virginia-Kentucky stateline). Two plot-sampled stands are located in upper-slope topographic positions at about 600 m (2000 feet) elevation. Extensive soil mats are developed on the upslope and downslope edges of the outcrops, but such mats are smaller and more patchy over most of these habitats. Soil chemistry data are not available. Sites are generally xeric and have evidence (charred wood) of past fires.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling
Element Description Edition Date: 01Oct2001
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming, 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. 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.

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

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.


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