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Rubus allegheniensis - Rubus canadensis / Carex pensylvanica Shrubland
Translated Name: Allegheny Blackberry - Smooth Blackberry / Pennsylvania Sedge Shrubland
Common Name: Southern Appalachian Blackberry Bald
Unique Identifier: CEGL003892
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: Areas within open montane grasslands dominated by Rubus spp. (Rubus allegheniensis and/or Rubus canadensis) at high elevations in the Southern Blue Ridge. These shrublands also contain trace amounts of other species from the surrounding grassland, such as Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides, Agrostis perennans, Angelica triquinata, Carex debilis var. rudgei, Carex brunnescens, Carex intumescens (= var. fernaldii), and Rumex acetosella (exotic).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This vegetation type is thought to result from successional processes on natural grass balds following grazing and other disturbances, or following the cessation of natural disturbance regimes (e.g., periodic fires). This vegetation is now a natural part of high-elevation landscapes in the Southern Blue Ridge and an important part of the functioning landscape, but it is not a conservation target in and of itself.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Appalachian Rocky Felsic & Mafic Scrub & Grassland
Group Southern Appalachian Grass Bald
Alliance Southern Appalachian Blackberry Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003893 Rubus canadensis - (Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus) / Athyrium filix-femina - Solidago glomerata Shrubland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Rubus canadensis Shrubland
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: Grass Balds, BR
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 pp.
Related Concept Name: Grassy Bald
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: ID9a. Grass Bald
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Successional / Modified Terrestrial Shrubland
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
CES202.294 Southern Appalachian Grass and Shrub Bald


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (06Jan2016)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Reasons: This community is known from the highest elevations of the southern Appalachian Mountains. It has a small range, few occurrences, and is rapidly disappearing due to vegetational succession. This community supports a diverse flora with many rare, unusual, and threatened species. It is threatened by high levels of recreational use, by the introduction of exotic plant and animal species, and by successional trends of uncertain cause. Sometimes this montane shrubland is regarded as a more advanced successional stage of Carex pensylvanica Grassland (CEGL004094) or Danthonia compressa - (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata) Grassland (CEGL004242). This modified vegetation is now a natural part of high-elevation landscapes in the Southern Blue Ridge and an important part of the functioning landscape, providing habitat for many Southern Appalachian species. For conservation planning purposes, examples of this community may be best considered lower quality occurrences of CEGL004094 or CEGL004242.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community occurs only at the highest elevations of the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Occurrences in Virginia are known only from the upper slopes of Whitetop Mountain, Mount Rogers, and Wilburn Ridge in the Southern Blue Ridge.

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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: These shrublands are dominated by Rubus allegheniensis and Rubus canadensis, usually occurring within and on the edges of open montane grasslands at high elevations in the Southern Blue Ridge. Stands may contain large colonies of Carex pensylvanica under the dominant shrubs, as well as scattered individuals of other species from the surrounding grassland, such as Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides, Agrostis perennans, Angelica triquinata, Carex debilis var. rudgei, Carex brunnescens ssp. sphaerostachya, Carex intumescens, and Rumex acetosella (exotic). Virginia examples of this community are heavily dominated by Rubus canadensis and contain a wide variety of minor associates.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Rubus allegheniensis GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Rubus canadensis GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cuscuta rostrata GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Rumex acetosella GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This deciduous shrubland typically occurs at elevations from 1500-1980 m (5000-6500 feet). The developmental and ecological dynamics of this vegetation are poorly understood. Occurrences are thought to result from successional processes on natural grass balds following grazing and other disturbances, or following the cessation of natural disturbance regimes (e.g., periodic fires). Habitats are in exposed, upper-slope to crest positions, where low winter temperatures, high winds, and ice storms are characteristic. Stands occur both on edges of the natural bald on Whitetop Mountain, and in artificial balds that resulted from intensive logging, fires, and grazing on Mount Rogers and Wilburn Ridge.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S. Simon, G. Kauffman, D. Danley
Element Description Edition Date: 01Aug1994
Element Description Author(s): S. Simon, G. Kauffman, D. Danley
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 30Jan1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): Southeastern Ecology Group

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 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 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.

  • Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 pp.

  • 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.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.


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