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Vaccinium (angustifolium, myrtilloides, pallidum) - Cladonia rangiferina Dwarf-shrubland
Translated Name: (Lowbush Blueberry, Velvetleaf Huckleberry, Blue Ridge Blueberry) - Grey-green Reindeer Lichen Dwarf-shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL006426
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These blueberry barrens, known from scattered locations in the Adirondacks, northern Maine, and Downeast Maine, occur on flat or undulating glacial outwash or till plains, sometimes as openings within wooded barrens. The soils are sandy, acidic, and very nutrient-poor. Where the substrate contains an impervious subsoil layer, the natural undulations in the substrate result in a pattern of upland and wetland pockets in an intimate network. Dwarf-shrubs are the dominant plants. Widely scattered trees may be present, but overall tree cover will be under 20%. Herbs are scattered among the blueberries, rarely totaling more than 25% cover. The bryoid layer may be extensive and is usually dominated by lichens. One or more lowbush blueberry species are the dominant shrubs: Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium myrtilloides, or Vaccinium pallidum. Minor shrubs include Aronia melanocarpa, Spiraea alba, Kalmia angustifolia, Comptonia peregrina, and Lonicera villosa. Piptatheropsis canadensis, Piptatheropsis pungens, or Oryzopsis asperifolia are characteristic herbs, although rarely abundant. Other herbs include Pteridium aquilinum, Solidago canadensis, Euthamia graminifolia, Lycopodium dendroideum, and Lycopodium digitatum. Cladonia rangiferina, Cladonia stellaris, and Cladonia pyxidata are common lichens; mosses include Polytrichum juniperinum, Polytrichum commune, Polytrichum piliferum, and Pleurozium schreberi. In the wetter pockets, Sphagnum mosses may be locally common. This association generally occurs in areas with a consistent fire history. Where fires have been particularly intense, lichens may form extensive carpets, sometimes termed "lichen barrens."



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: How the Northern Appalachian - Acadian commercial blueberry barrens fit into this concept has not been addressed; more data are needed.

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 Central Appalachian-Northeast Scrub & Grassland Macrogroup
Group Northern Atlantic Acidic Sand Barrens Scrub & Grassland
Alliance Blueberry Sandy Heath Barrens

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006622 Gaylussacia baccata - Vaccinium pallidum - Vaccinium corymbosum 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
Maine Blueberry - lichen barren Equivalent   Gawler 2002
New York Boreal heath barrens Equivalent   Edinger et al. 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Blueberry - Lichen Barren
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.561 Acadian Sub-boreal Spruce Barrens


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (29Jan2003)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, NY
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: Known from scattered locations in the Adirondacks, northern Maine, and Downeast Maine.

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: Maine-New Brunswick Foothills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Warm Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Adirondack-New England Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: White Mountain Section
Section Code: M212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Adirondack Mountain Section
Section Code: M212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Dwarf-shrubs are the dominant plants. Widely scattered trees may be present, but overall tree cover will be under 20%. Herbs are scattered among the blueberries, rarely totaling more than 25% cover. The bryoid layer may be extensive and is usually dominated by lichens. One or more lowbush blueberry species are the dominant shrubs: Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium myrtilloides, or Vaccinium pallidum (= Vaccinium vacillans). Minor shrubs include Aronia melanocarpa, Spiraea alba, Kalmia angustifolia, Comptonia peregrina, and Lonicera villosa. Piptatheropsis canadensis (= Oryzopsis canadensis), Piptatheropsis pungens (= Oryzopsis pungens), or Oryzopsis asperifolia are characteristic herbs, although rarely abundant. Other herbs include Pteridium aquilinum, Solidago canadensis, Euthamia graminifolia, Lycopodium dendroideum, and Lycopodium digitatum. Cladonia rangiferina (= Cladina rangiferina), Cladonia stellaris (= Cladonia alpestris), and Cladonia pyxidata are common lichens; mosses include Polytrichum juniperinum, Polytrichum commune, Polytrichum piliferum, and Pleurozium schreberi. In the wetter pockets, Sphagnum mosses may be locally common.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Vaccinium angustifolium GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium myrtilloides GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Cladonia rangiferina GNR Lichen Nonvascular    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: The setting is flat or undulating glacial outwash or till plains. The soils are sandy, acidic, and very nutrient-poor. Where the substrate contains an impervious subsoil layer, the natural undulations in the substrate result in a pattern of upland and wetland pockets in an intimate network. Fire is an important disturbance vector.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association generally occurs in areas with a consistent fire history. Where fires have been particularly intense, lichens may form extensive carpets, sometimes termed "lichen barrens."


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.C. Gawler (2002)
Element Description Edition Date: 21Mar2003
Element Description Author(s): S.C. Gawler

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


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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Norton, A. H. 1927. Botanical notes from the Milbridge region. Maine Naturalist 7:148-151.


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