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Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Red Spruce - (Eastern Hemlock) / Great Laurel Swamp Forest
Common Name: Swamp Forest - Bog (Spruce Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL006277
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This spruce-hemlock wetland forest of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains occurs on relatively flat terrain in poorly drained bottomlands of small streams at high elevations (above 1067 m [3500 feet] elevation in the Southern Blue Ridge to above 610 m [2000 feet] in the Central Appalachians). Small patches of this community also occur in the High Alleghany Plateau of Pennsylvania and New York. It historically occurred in Tennessee. Soils are seasonally to semipermanently saturated due to a high water table or seepage from adjacent slopes. The tree canopy is dominated by Picea rubens or mixtures of Picea rubens and Tsuga canadensis. Other tree species that may occur in the canopy or subcanopy include Tsuga canadensis, Betula alleghaniensis, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Taxus canadensis, and Amelanchier arborea. This forest often has a dense shrub layer dominated by Rhododendron maximum, with other associates often including Kalmia latifolia, Ilex verticillata, Ilex collina, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), and Vaccinium spp. The herbaceous layer is sparse, with the majority of herbaceous species restricted to openings, and includes Carex trisperma, Carex folliculata, Glyceria melicaria, Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda regalis, and Maianthemum canadense. Listera smallii, Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Huperzia lucidula, and Dryopteris campyloptera are characteristic herbs. The bryophyte layer is of variable cover but is dominated by Sphagnum. The absence of Abies balsamea and the importance of Rhododendron maximum differentiate this forest from Picea rubens - Abies balsamea / Gaultheria hispidula / Osmunda cinnamomea / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest (CEGL006312).



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: This community is rare in the Southern Blue Ridge, and remaining examples are in poor condition throughout its range. It is known from the Blue Ridge of North Carolina (Alarka Laurel, Long Hope Valley), and was historic in Tennessee.

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 Laurentian-Acadian-North Atlantic Coastal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Group Laurentian-Acadian-Appalachian Acidic Swamp
Alliance Central Appalachian Red Spruce Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006312 Picea rubens - Abies balsamea / Gaultheria hispidula / Osmunda cinnamomea / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006556 Picea rubens - Acer rubrum / Ilex verticillata Swamp Forest
CEGL006588 Picea rubens / Rhododendron maximum - Kalmia latifolia / Eriophorum virginicum / Sphagnum spp. Swamp 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
Maryland Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Saturated Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New York Spruce-fir swamp Intersects Certain Edinger et al. 2002
North Carolina Swamp Forest--Bog Complex (Spruce Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Pennsylvania Red Spruce Palustrine Forest Equivalent   Fike 1999
Tennessee Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Saturated Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data
West Virginia Picea rubens - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. - Bazzania trilobata swamp Equivalent Certain Byers et al. 2007


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Saturated Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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: Picea rubens - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. - Bazzania trilobata swamp
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Byers, E. A., J. P. Vanderhorst, and B. P. Streets. 2007. Classification and conservation assessment of high elevation wetland communities in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins.
Related Concept Name: Tsuga canadensis - Picea rubens Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Walton, D., N. Putnam, and P. Trianosky. 1997. A classification of the terrestrial plant communities of West Virginia. Second draft. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins, WV.
Related Concept Name: High Elevation Saturated Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Wichmann, B. 2009. Vegetation of geographically isolated montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Masters thesis, North Carolina State, Raleigh. [http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-05152009-120239/unrestricted/etd.pdf]
Related Concept Name: High-Elevation Seepage Swamp
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: IIE1a. Southern Appalachian Bog Complex
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: Oligotrophic Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.
Related Concept Name: Red Spruce Palustrine Forest
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.
Related Concept Name: Red Spruce-Northern Hardwoods (17)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: USFS [U.S. Forest Service]. 1988. Silvicultural examination and prescription field book. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Atlanta, GA. 35 pp.
Related Concept Name: Red Spruce: 32
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Red spruce-hemlock/great laurel swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Spruce forest community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Robinette, S. L. 1966. Major plant communities of Cranesville Swamp, West Virginia. Arboretum Newsletter 16(1): 1-7.
Related Concept Name: Swamp Forest-Bog Complex (Spruce Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998a. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain wetlands. February 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
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
CES202.069 High Allegheny Wetland
CES202.300 Southern and Central Appalachian Bog and Fen
CES202.604 North-Central Appalachian Acidic Swamp


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2? (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, NC, NY, PA, TNpotentially occurs, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This red spruce wetland forest occurs in small patches in the southern and central Appalachian Mountains north to the High Alleghany Plateau.

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: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212G 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: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B 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: Catskill Mountain Section
Section Code: M212E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community generally occurs as an open canopy woodland dominated by Picea rubens, with an open to dense shrub layer, interspersed with small, open Sphagnum-herb-dominated depressions. Other tree species that may occur in the canopy or subcanopy include Tsuga canadensis, Betula alleghaniensis, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Pinus strobus, and Amelanchier arborea. A dense shrub layer, dominated by Kalmia latifolia and Rhododendron maximum or Rhododendron catawbiense, is usually present. Other characteristic shrubs include Ilex verticillata, Ilex collina, Taxus canadensis, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), and Vaccinium spp. The herbaceous layer is sparse and patchy and generally restricted to openings with plenty of light. Characteristic herbs include Carex trisperma, Carex folliculata, Glyceria melicaria, Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Listera smallii, Maianthemum canadense, and Houstonia serpyllifolia. Sphagnum patches may occur scattered beneath the canopy as well as in small depressions. Other nonvascular plants include Bazzania trilobata and Leucobryum glaucum. This community is habitat for species endemic to the Southern Blue Ridge or that have the bulk of their worldwide distribution there, including Rhododendron catawbiense, Ilex collina, Listera smallii, and Houstonia serpyllifolia.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Picea rubens G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Rhododendron catawbiense G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Rhododendron maximum G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ilex collina G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Houstonia serpyllifolia G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Listera smallii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex trisperma G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Bazzania trilobata G2 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular    
 
 
Sphagnum palustre G2 Moss Nonvascular    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis
  (Appalachian White Snakeroot)
G5T3T4  
Ilex collina
  (Long-stalk Holly)
G3  

Vegetation Structure
Stratum Growth Form
Height of Stratum (m)
Cover
Class
%
Min
Cover %
Max
Cover %
Tree canopy Other/unknown
 
 
 
 
Tall shrub/sapling Shrub
 
 
 
 
Nonvascular Other/unknown
 
 
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occurs in poorly drained bottomlands of small streams at high elevations: 1300-1400 m (4200-4500 feet) in North Carolina, 770-1150 m (2500-3800 feet) in West Virginia. It also occurs in isolated upland depressions on ridgetops in the High Alleghany Plateau of Pennsylvania and New York. Flooding is rare and soils are seasonally to semipermanently saturated due to a high water table or seepage from adjacent slopes.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The factors responsible for creating and maintaining this community are not well known, although beaver activity may play a role. The frequency and role of flooding is not known. This community may represent late successional stage of primary succession from once extensive, open bog areas and will remain in a forest condition unless the canopy is removed by tree blowdown or logging.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): E.A. Byers et al. (2007)
Element Description Edition Date: 27Oct2014
Element Description Author(s): M.G. Anderson, K.D. Patterson and E. Largay

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.

  • Anderson, L. E. 1990a. A checklist of Sphagnum in North America north of Mexico. The Bryologist 93:500-501.

  • Anderson, L. E., H. A. Crum, and W. R. Buck. 1990. List of mosses of North America north of Mexico. The Bryologist 93:448-499.

  • Byers, E. A., J. P. Vanderhorst, and B. P. Streets. 2007. Classification and conservation assessment of high elevation wetland communities in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins.

  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • 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. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Eichelberger, B. 2011b. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Red Spruce Palustrine Forest Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=16031] (accessed: February 01, 2012)

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2013. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 13-16. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 36 pp.

  • Francl, K. E., W. M. Ford, and S. B. Castleberry. 2004. Characterization of high elevation Central Appalachian wetlands. Research Paper NE-725. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA. 26 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, M. Furedi, B. A. Eichelberger, A. Feldmann, G. Edinger, E. Eastman, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping at Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/133. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 370 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J., G. P. Fleming, and F. V. Judge. 1994. Forest vegetation of the Ramsey's Draft and Little Laurel Run Research Natural Areas, Virginia: Baseline ecological monitoring and classification. Natural Heritage Technical Report 94-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 45 pp. plus appendices.

  • Richardson, C. J., and J. W. Gibbons. 1993. Pocosins, Carolina bays, and mountain bogs. Pages 257-310 in: W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

  • Robinette, S. L. 1966. Major plant communities of Cranesville Swamp, West Virginia. Arboretum Newsletter 16(1): 1-7.

  • Schafale, M. 1998a. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain wetlands. February 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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.

  • Stotler, R., and B. Crandall-Stotler. 1977. A checklist of liverworts and hornworts of North America. The Bryologist 80:405-428.

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

  • USFS [U.S. Forest Service]. 1988. Silvicultural examination and prescription field book. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Atlanta, GA. 35 pp.

  • Walton, D., N. Putnam, and P. Trianosky. 1997. A classification of the terrestrial plant communities of West Virginia. Second draft. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins, WV.

  • Weakley, A. S., and M. P. Schafale. 1994. Non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge: Diversity in a threatened ecosystem. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 77:359-383.

  • Wichmann, B. 2009. Vegetation of geographically isolated montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Masters thesis, North Carolina State, Raleigh. [http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-05152009-120239/unrestricted/etd.pdf]

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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