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Ammophila breviligulata - Lathyrus japonicus Grassland
Translated Name: American Beachgrass - Beach Pea Grassland
Common Name: Northern Beachgrass Dune
Unique Identifier: CEGL006274
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This dune grassland of maritime beaches occurs along the North Atlantic Coast from New Jersey north to central Maine. This association primarily occurs on active maritime dunes, on both foredunes that are exposed to onshore winds and salt spray as well as more protected interdunes. The substrate is wind-deposited sand with no soil development. Ammophila breviligulata is the dominant species, often occurring monotypically. Lathyrus japonicus is a common associate and can be codominant. Other associated species include Solidago sempervirens, Lechea maritima, Aristida tuberculosa, Schizachyrium scoparium, Carex silicea, Polygonella articulata, and Artemisia stelleriana. Dwarf-shrubs, such as Hudsonia tomentosa, can occur sporadically and form locally dominant patches. Vegetation cover is often sparse, and bare sand is usually evident.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The southern analog of this dune grassland association is Ammophila breviligulata - Panicum amarum var. amarum Grassland (CEGL004043), which is differentiated by having Panicum amarum as a codominant species in addition to the presence of more southern species such as Cenchrus tribuloides and Oenothera humifusa, plus the absence of Lathyrus japonicus. These two Ammophila breviligulata-dominated associations overlap geographically in New Jersey. This association is often adjacent to Hudsonia tomentosa dwarf-shrublands and they have much species overlap; when dwarf-shrub cover exceeds 25%, the community is considered Hudsonia tomentosa - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Dwarf-shrubland (CEGL006143).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.4 - Temperate to Polar Scrub & Herb Coastal Vegetation
Division 2.B.4.Na - Eastern North American Coastal Scrub & Herb Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Coastal Dune, Grassland & Rocky Headland
Group North Atlantic Coastal Dune & Grassland
Alliance North Atlantic Beachgrass Dune Grassland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004043 Ammophila breviligulata - Panicum amarum var. amarum Grassland
CEGL006143 Hudsonia tomentosa - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Dwarf-shrubland



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
Connecticut Coastal sand dunes Undetermined   Metzler and Barrett 2006
Maine Dune grassland Equivalent   Gawler 2002
Massachusetts Maritime Dune Community Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Beach grass grassland Broader   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Coastal dune grass community Broader   Breden 1989
New York Great Lakes dunes Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
New York Maritime dunes Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Rhode Island Maritime Dune, Beach Grass Dune Association Equivalent   Enser and Lundgren 2006


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Ammophila breviligulata medium-tall grasslands
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford, CT.
Related Concept Name: Coastal dune community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Dune Grass Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Moul, E. T. 1969. Flora of Monomoy Island, Massachusetts. Rhodora 71:18-28.
Related Concept Name: Dune grass community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Nelson, B. W., and L. K. Fink. 1980. Geological and botanical features of sand beach in Maine. Bulletin No. 14. Maine Sea Grant Publications. 163 pp.
Related Concept Name: Dunegrass community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Martin, W. E. 1959b. The vegetation of Island Beach State Park, New Jersey. Ecological Monographs 29:1-46.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4? (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DEpotentially occurs, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI
Canadian Province Distribution: QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association occurs along the northern Atlantic Coast from Maine to New Jersey.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association is characterized and dominated by Ammophila breviligulata, which can occur monotypically, especially on foredunes or other areas of active and rapid sand deposition. Lathyrus japonicus is the most common associate and can be codominant. Other associated species include Solidago sempervirens, Lechea maritima, Aristida tuberculosa, Schizachyrium scoparium, Carex silicea, Polygonella articulata, and Artemisia stelleriana. Dwarf-shrubs, such as Hudsonia tomentosa, Rosa rugosa, Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica), or stunted Prunus maritima, can occur sporadically and form locally dominant patches within the grassland.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Rosa rugosa G4 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Lathyrus japonicus G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Ammophila breviligulata G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association primarily occurs on active maritime dunes, on both foredunes that are exposed to onshore winds and salt spray as well as more protected interdunes. This grassland generally occurs beyond the influence of storm tides. Substrate is sand with no soil profile development.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association occurs on the shifting sands of active dune systems. Sand is wind-deposited and tends to accumulate where vegetation slows the surface wind velocity (Martin 1959b). Rhizomes of Ammophila breviligulata stabilize the dunes, growing upward through layers of sand deposition. Ammophila breviligulata tends to grow best where there is relatively rapid sand deposition; it can grow through one meter of sand accumulation (Zaremba and Leatherman 1984). Species diversity of this association tends to increase landward in more protected areas where the substrate is more stable. This dune grassland can merge into beach strand vegetation seaward and maritime heath communities landward.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Northern Appalachian Planning Team
Element Description Edition Date: 10May2002
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid

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


References
  • Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.

  • 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.

  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

  • Dowhan, J. J., and R. Rozsa. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk Country, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116:265-282.

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

  • Edinger, G. J., A. L. Feldmann, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gateway National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/107. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 283 pp.

  • Edinger, G. J., A. L. Feldmann, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008b. Vegetation classification and mapping at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/124. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 126 pp.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Enser, R. W., and J. A. Lundgren. 2006. Natural communities of Rhode Island. A joint project of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Natural History Survey, Kingston. 40 pp. [www.rinhs.org]

  • Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Johnson, A. F. 1981b. Plant communities of the Napeague Dunes. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 108:76-84.

  • Johnson, A. F. 1985b. A guide to the plant communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mad Printers, Mattituck, NY. 58 pp. plus plates.

  • Klopfer, S. D., A. Olivero, L. Sneddon, and J. Lundgren. 2002. Final report of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Project at Fire Island National Seashore. Conservation Management Institute, GIS & Remote Sensing Division, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. 193 pp.

  • Largay, E. F., and L. A. Sneddon. 2017. Vegetation mapping and classification of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2017/1529. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Lubinski, S., K. Hop, and S. Gawler. 2003. Vegetation Mapping Program: Acadia National Park, Maine. Report produced by U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Maine Natural Areas Program in conjunction with M. Story (NPS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator) NPS, Natural Resources Information Division, Inventory and Monitoring Program, and K. Brown (USGS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator), USGS, Center for Biological Informatics and NatureServe. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/ftp/vegmapping/acad/reports/acadrpt.pdf]

  • Martin, W. E. 1959b. The vegetation of Island Beach State Park, New Jersey. Ecological Monographs 29:1-46.

  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford, CT.

  • Moul, E. T. 1969. Flora of Monomoy Island, Massachusetts. Rhodora 71:18-28.

  • NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service]. 2001b. Soil survey of Gateway National Recreation Area, New York and New Jersey. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDI National Park Service, Gateway National Recreation Area in partnership with Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station and New York City Soil and Water Conservation District.

  • NatureServe. 2009. Vegetation of the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. International Ecological Classification Standard: Terrestrial Ecological Classifications. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, VA. U.S.A. Data current as of 1 December 2009.

  • Nelson, B. W., and L. K. Fink. 1980. Geological and botanical features of sand beach in Maine. Bulletin No. 14. Maine Sea Grant Publications. 163 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 pp.

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2014. Classification of the natural communities of Massachusetts. Version 2.0. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA. [http://www.mass.gov/nhesp/http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/natural-communities/classification-of-natural-communities.html]

  • Zaremba, R. E., and S. P. Leatherman. 1984. Overwash processes and foredune ecology, Nauset Spit, Massachusetts. Miscellaneous Paper EL-84-8. Prepared by Massachusetts Audubon Society and University of Massachusetts under cooperative agreement between USDI National Park Service, North Atlantic Region, Boston, MA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering Research Center. Published by U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS. 232 pp.


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