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Gaylussacia baccata - Vaccinium angustifolium - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi / Schizachyrium littorale Dwarf-shrubland
Translated Name: Black Huckleberry - Lowbush Blueberry - Bearberry / Shore Little Bluestem Dwarf-shrubland
Common Name: Sandplain Heathland
Unique Identifier: CEGL006066
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association includes sandplain heathlands of the northeastern Atlantic coast dominated by heath shrubs. They occur on nutrient-poor, sandy/gravelly moraine and outwash plains near the coast and are affected by onshore winds and salt spray. Dwarf-shrubs are often dominant, especially Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium pallidum, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and Gaylussacia baccata. Associated species include Vaccinium myrtilloides, Hudsonia ericoides, Comptonia peregrina, Kalmia angustifolia, Baptisia tinctoria, or Rubus hispidus. Corema conradii may be locally abundant. The herbaceous layer is similar to sandplain grasslands, only less diverse. Common species include Deschampsia flexuosa, Schizachyrium littorale, Carex pensylvanica, Lespedeza spp., Solidago puberula, Viola sagittata var. ovata, Eurybia spectabilis, Viola pedata, Comandra umbellata, Epigaea repens, Tephrosia virginiana, Gaultheria procumbens, Juncus greenei, Ionactis linariifolius, Helianthemum dumosum, Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae, Sericocarpus asteroides, Solidago nemoralis, Euthamia spp., and others. Graminoids do not form extensive turf. Small to locally abundant patches of tall shrubs are often present, including Quercus ilicifolia, Aronia arbutifolia, Corylus cornuta, Prunus maritima, Rubus flagellaris, Rosa carolina, Rosa virginiana, or Morella pensylvanica.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This sandplain heathland association is similar to sandplain grassland, Morella pensylvanica / Schizachyrium littorale - Danthonia spicata Shrub Grassland (CEGL006067), but differs in that shrubs are more abundant and the herbaceous layer is less abundant and less diverse. Soils tend to be less nutrient-poor than sandplain grasslands and likely have been disturbed less frequently.

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 Coastal Sandplain Heath & Grassland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006067 Morella pensylvanica / Schizachyrium littorale - Danthonia spicata Shrub Grassland
CEGL006393 Vaccinium angustifolium / Schizachyrium scoparium - Carex lucorum Shrub Grassland
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
Massachusetts Sandplain Heathland Equivalent   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New York Maritime heathland Equivalent   Edinger et al. 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Bearberry heathland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Dunwiddie, P. W., R. E. Zaremba, and K. A. Harper. 1996. A classification of coastal heathlands and sandplain grasslands in Massachusetts. Rhodora 98(894):117-145.
Related Concept Name: Broom crowberry heathland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Dunwiddie, P. W., R. E. Zaremba, and K. A. Harper. 1996. A classification of coastal heathlands and sandplain grasslands in Massachusetts. Rhodora 98(894):117-145.
Related Concept Name: Huckleberry-scrub oak heathland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Dunwiddie, P. W., R. E. Zaremba, and K. A. Harper. 1996. A classification of coastal heathlands and sandplain grasslands in Massachusetts. Rhodora 98(894):117-145.
Related Concept Name: Moorland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Lundgren, J. 2000. Lower New England - Northern Piedmont Ecoregion Forest Classification. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Science, Boston, MA. 72 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.269 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Pitch Pine Barrens
CES203.895 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Heathland and Grassland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (10May2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MA, NY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Currently described from Massachusetts and New York.

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: 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: Dwarf-shrubs are often dominant, especially Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium pallidum, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and Gaylussacia baccata. Associated species include Vaccinium myrtilloides, Hudsonia ericoides, Comptonia peregrina, Kalmia angustifolia, Baptisia tinctoria, or Rubus hispidus. Corema conradii may be locally abundant. The herbaceous layer is similar to sandplain grasslands, only less diverse. Common species include Deschampsia flexuosa, Schizachyrium littorale, Carex pensylvanica, Lespedeza spp., Solidago puberula, Viola sagittata var. ovata (= Viola fimbriatula), Eurybia spectabilis (= Aster spectabilis), Viola pedata, Comandra umbellata, Epigaea repens, Tephrosia virginiana, Gaultheria procumbens, Juncus greenei, Ionactis linariifolius, Helianthemum dumosum, Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae, Sericocarpus asteroides, Solidago nemoralis, Euthamia spp., and others. Graminoids do not form extensive turf. Small to locally abundant patches of tall shrubs are often present, including Quercus ilicifolia, Aronia arbutifolia, Corylus cornuta, Prunus maritima, Rubus flagellaris, Rosa carolina, Rosa virginiana, or Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium angustifolium G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Gaylussacia baccata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Helianthemum dumosum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium ssp. littorale G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Helianthemum dumosum
  (Bushy Rockrose)
G3  
Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae
  (Northern Blazingstar)
G5?T3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on nutrient-poor, sandy/gravelly moraine and outwash plains near the coast and are affected by onshore winds and salt spray.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community occurs in association with sandplain grasslands, maritime/coastal forests and shrublands.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 10May2002
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid and L.A. Sneddon
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10May2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): Reschke 1990

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


References
  • Dunwiddie, P. W., R. E. Zaremba, and K. A. Harper. 1996. A classification of coastal heathlands and sandplain grasslands in Massachusetts. Rhodora 98(894):117-145.

  • Dunwiddie, P. W., W. A. Patterson, J. L. Rudnicky, and R. E. Zaremba. 1997. Vegetation management in coastal grasslands on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts: Effects of burning and mowing from 1982-1993. Pages 85-98 in: P. D. Vickery and P. W. Dunwiddie, editors. Grasslands of northeastern North America. Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln.

  • 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.

  • Gwilliam, E. 1998. Unpublished data. USDI National Park Service, Cape Cod National Seashore, MA.

  • Lundgren, J. 2000. Lower New England - Northern Piedmont Ecoregion Forest Classification. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Science, Boston, MA. 72 pp.

  • Lundgren, J. A. 1998. Natural communities of coastal Massachusetts: Inventory and assessment. Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Boston, MA.

  • 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]

  • 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]

  • Thompson, J. E. 1997. Ecological communities of the Montauk Peninsula, Suffolk County, New York. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy. Long Island Chapter, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

  • Zaremba, R. E. 1989. A comparison of maritime heathlands of holocene deposits to related communities in Massachusetts and New York. Draft report for The Nature Conservancy, Albany, NY.


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