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Quercus phellos / Carex (albolutescens, intumescens, joorii) / Climacium americanum Wet Forest
Translated Name: Willow Oak / (Green-white Sedge, Greater Bladder Sedge, Cypress Swamp Sedge) / American Tree Moss Wet Forest
Common Name: Piedmont Upland Depression Willow Oak Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007403
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association represents upland depression swamps found in the Piedmont of the Carolinas, Virginia, and the Potomac Valley region of Maryland. It also occurs in limited areas of the adjacent inner Coastal Plain of the Carolinas. Examples are usually dominated by an almost pure canopy of Quercus phellos, sometimes with codominant Quercus lyrata or Liquidambar styraciflua; scattered individuals of other tree species may be present. Shrubs are generally sparse and not particularly diagnostic of this community. The most characteristic component of the understory are wetland sedges such as Carex albolutescens, Carex intumescens, and Carex joorii, but a number of other species may also be encountered. Sphagnum lescurii, Climacium americanum, and Polytrichum spp. are important moss species. These ponds are important amphibian breeding areas.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Regional classification conducted by VDNH for the NCR and Mid-Atlantic national parks vegetation mapping projects contained a group of 8 Virginia plots and one Maryland plot belonging to this type. The attribution of plots in the Congaree Swamp National Monument was thought to create a contradiction as the Congaree occurrence was thought to be in a depression in a large river floodplain, not in upland depressions, but this is not correct, so there is no problem. It is a mainly Piedmont upland depression pond type, which is also found in the adjacent Inner Coastal Plain of South Carolina (TNC 1998b). This association is also known to occur in Campbell County, Virginia, in the western Piedmont. In contrast to related ponds in central Tennessee, Nyssa biflora is lacking and Cephalanthus occidentalis is uncommon. Carolina Vegetation Survey plot data exist for this association.

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.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Central Hardwood Swamp Forest
Group South-Central Flatwoods & Pond Forest
Alliance Piedmont-Cumberland Willow Oak Wet Depression Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004643 Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Viburnum prunifolium / Leersia virginica - Impatiens capensis Wet Forest
CEGL006110 Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos / Leucothoe racemosa Swamp Forest
CEGL008441 Quercus phellos - Liquidambar styraciflua / Chasmanthium laxum Cumberland / Southern Ridge and Valley Wet Forest
CEGL008484 Quercus phellos - Quercus (michauxii, shumardii) / (Quercus oglethorpensis) / Zephyranthes atamasca Gabbro 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
Alabama Quercus phellos / Carex (albolutescens, intumescens, joorii) - Chasmanthium laxum / Sphagnum lescurii Forest Equivalent Certain ALNHP unpubl. data
Maryland Quercus phellos / Carex (albolutescens, intumescens, joorii) / Climacium americanum Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
North Carolina Upland Depression Swamp Forest Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos - Liquidambar styraciflua / Smilax rotundifolia / Carex (albolutescens, festucacea) Seasonally Flooded Woodland [Provisional]
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos - Liquidambar styraciflua / Smilax rotundifolia / Carex (albolutescens, festucacea) Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos / Carex (intumescens, joorii) / Sphagnum lescurii Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos / Smilax rotundifolia / Carex (albolutescens, festucacea) 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]
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos / Smilax rotundifolia / Carex (albolutescens, festucacea) Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos / Smilax rotundifolia / Carex (albolutescens, festucacea) Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Upland Depression Swamp
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.
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: Upland Depression Swamp Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.336 Piedmont Upland Depression Swamp
CES203.262 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Depression Pond


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (25Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This was never a common community. The small size of examples and their poor drainage for development and economic uses make them a bit less susceptible to conversion than most Piedmont communities, but logging and landscape isolation degrade many that are not destroyed. Their isolated hydrology and small size means they often are exempted from wetland regulations. Much of the habitat for this community has undergone drainage and conversion. Two of the occurrences at Congaree Swamp National Monument showed evidence of drainage of the sites (TNC 1998b). Some extensive losses and degradation in the Piedmont are due to urbanization (e.g., in the vicinities of Charlotte and Butner, NC, some of the largest concentrations of this association).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GApotentially occurs, MD, NC, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This vegetation is reported from the Atlantic Coastal Plain of South Carolina and ranges through the Piedmont of the Carolinas and Virginia into the Potomac Valley of Maryland. Throughout its range, this is primarily a Piedmont type.

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
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D 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
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: This upland depression swamp forest is usually dominated by an almost pure canopy of Quercus phellos, sometimes with codominant Quercus lyrata, and with Quercus bicolor or Liquidambar styraciflua. In addition, Pinus taeda, Ulmus alata, Quercus stellata, Nyssa biflora, Quercus nigra, Quercus pagoda, Diospyros virginiana, Magnolia virginiana, Quercus michauxii, Ulmus alata, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, and other species may be present. Generally there are patchy or peripheral herbaceous and vine/liana layers of Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Carex joorii, Rhynchospora glomerata, Mitchella repens, Gelsemium sempervirens, Juncus coriaceus, Smilax tamnoides (= Smilax hispida), Smilax bona-nox, Trachelospermum difforme, Ampelopsis arborea, Smilax tamnoides, Vitis rotundifolia, Toxicodendron radicans, Bignonia capreolata, and likely others. Shrubs include Ilex decidua, Ilex verticillata, Nyssa sylvatica, Vaccinium fuscatum, Carpinus caroliniana, and abundant Smilax rotundifolia. Common herbs include Carex albolutescens, Carex brevior, Carex caroliniana, Carex crinita, Carex festucacea, Carex intumescens, Carex joorii, Carex louisianica, Carex typhina, Carex squarrosa, Carex pellita (mafic only), Glyceria striata, Scirpus cyperinus, Juncus tenuis, Juncus coriaceus, Chasmanthium laxum, and Trachelospermum difforme. Sphagnum lescurii and Climacium americanum are important moss species. Other Sphagnum spp. and Polytrichum spp. are also found. Exotic plants, especially Lonicera japonica, sometimes become dense in peripheral zones.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Liquidambar styraciflua G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus bicolor G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus lyrata G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus phellos G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy
 
 
Nyssa sylvatica G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ilex decidua G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ilex verticillata G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Vaccinium fuscatum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Smilax rotundifolia G2 Liana Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Trachelospermum difforme G2 Liana Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Carex albolutescens G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex brevior G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex caroliniana G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex crinita G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex festucacea G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex intumescens G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex joorii G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex louisianica G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex squarrosa G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex typhina G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Chasmanthium laxum G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Glyceria striata G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Juncus coriaceus G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Juncus tenuis G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Scirpus cyperinus G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Lonicera japonica G2 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 
Climacium americanum G2 Moss Nonvascular    
 
 
Sphagnum lescurii G2 Moss Nonvascular    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This upland depression swamp forest of the Piedmont and inner Coastal Plain is found in small depressional features with hydrologic regimes controlled by fluctuating groundwater or seasonal pooling of rainwater over impermeable substrates. Sites are usually located on areas underlain by fine-grained mafic rocks, slate, or metasiltstone, and typically have dense clay subsoils that impede drainage. They are typically flooded to a depth up to about 50 cm during the winter and early part of the growing season but draw down by late summer. Below the surficial organic matter, soils are usually gleyed or mottled and have a sticky consistency. Although the parent material is often basic, the soils of these swamps are largely leached of bases and are extremely acidic with moderately low cation levels and base saturation. Occurrences on mafic and acidic substrates appear to be indistinguishable. These are important amphibian breeding areas, but they depend on having intact upland areas as habitat for the adults.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: At Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, this community occurs on about a dozen small depressional features, referred to as "isolated, upland, depressional wetlands." All sites are below three acres in size and are usually oval to circular in shape. In the Piedmont, examples in which the canopy is heavily disturbed sometimes develop successional stands dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua or Acer rubrum.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 16Feb2007
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2001
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
  • ALNHP [Alabama Natural Heritage Program]. 2002. Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge: Natural community and rare plant survey. Alabama Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Montgomery.

  • ALNHP [Alabama Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Unpublished data on file. Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Auburn University.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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 K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • 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.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/125. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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