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Acer saccharum - Fraxinus spp. - Tilia americana / Matteuccia struthiopteris - Ageratina altissima Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Sugar Maple - Ash species - American Basswood / Ostrich Fern - White Snakeroot Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Terrace Hardwood Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006114
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These rich floodplain forests are found on slightly elevated alluvial terraces and active floodplains of larger rivers throughout the glaciated Northeast. The setting is a raised river terrace; however, this forest may occur very close to the riverbank, if the water channel is well-entrenched, and may even be on sloping banks along some river reaches. The alluvial soils are coarse and less regularly inundated than the soils supporting silver maple floodplain forests. Many of our examples occur on circumneutral to slightly calcareous soils. The canopy is closed to somewhat open, and unlike lower elevation floodplain forests, a subcanopy is often present. Shrubs are occasional but do not form high cover. The herb layer is well-developed and seasonally variable, with spring ephemerals giving way to taller ferns, graminoids and forbs. Bryoids are very minor. The canopy dominants can vary from site to site but are usually some combination of Acer saccharum, Tilia americana, Quercus rubra, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Prunus serotina. Minor canopy associates include Acer saccharinum, Juglans cinerea, Fraxinus nigra, and Acer rubrum. Shrubs include Corylus americana, Viburnum lentago, and Prunus virginiana; vines, such as Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus spp., or Vitis spp., may be locally common. The herb layer usually features Matteuccia struthiopteris and a mixture of other ferns, forbs and graminoids. Characteristic species include Ageratina altissima, Allium tricoccum, Allium canadense, Athyrium filix-femina, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Carex gracillima, Carex intumescens, Carex sprengelii, Deparia acrostichoides, Elymus virginicus, Elymus riparius, Elymus wiegandii, Onoclea sensibilis, Sanguinaria canadensis, Solidago flexicaulis, Solidago rugosa, and Solidago gigantea, in addition to abundant spring ephemerals in the early growing season. Exotic species, such as Lysimachia nummularia, Glechoma hederacea, and Hesperis matronalis, may be abundant, especially in disturbed areas. These terrace forests are distinguished from lower floodplain forests by the reduced importance of Acer saccharinum; they differ from enriched northern hardwood forests, e.g., Acer saccharum - Fraxinus americana / Acer spicatum / Caulophyllum thalictroides Forest (CEGL006636) and Acer saccharum - Tilia americana / Acer pensylvanicum / Caulophyllum thalictroides Forest (CEGL006637), in their alluvial soils and flooding regime; also, Matteuccia struthiopteris is generally not found in enriched northern hardwood forests.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Drastically reduced from original extent, as most make excellent fertile farmland. Originally probably a large patch type; now small patch.

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 Flooded & Swamp Forest
Group Silver Maple - Green Ash - Black Ash Floodplain Forest
Alliance Sugar Maple - American Basswood Mesic Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006147 Acer saccharinum - (Populus deltoides) / Matteuccia struthiopteris - Laportea canadensis Floodplain Forest
CEGL006314 Liriodendron tulipifera - Fraxinus spp. / Lindera benzoin - Viburnum prunifolium / Podophyllum peltatum Floodplain Forest
CEGL006405 Tilia americana - Acer saccharum - Acer nigrum / Laportea canadensis Floodplain Forest
CEGL006459 Acer saccharum - Fraxinus americana / Carpinus caroliniana / Podophyllum peltatum 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
Connecticut Acer saccharum - Fraxinus americana / Carex sprengalii community Equivalent   Metzler and Barrett 2001
Maine Hardwood river terrace forest Equivalent   Gawler 2002
Massachusetts High-terrace Floodplain Forest Equivalent   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Sugar maple - silver maple - white ash floodplain forest Equivalent   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Floodplain forest Broader   Breden 1989
New York Floodplain forest Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Sugar Maple - Mixed Hardwood Floodplain Forest Broader   Zimmerman et al. 2012
Vermont Sugar Maple-Ostrich Fern Riverine Floodplain Forest Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer saccharum - Acer saccharinum - Fraxinus americana variant (Type 5)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sperduto, D. D., and K. F. Crowley. 2002a. Floodplain forests in New England: Analysis and proposed classification. In collaboration with natural heritage programs in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 19 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Riverine floodplain forest: terraces
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: NAP [Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Working Group]. 1998. Northern Appalachian-Boreal Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: SNE Riverside/streamside mesic, deciduous forest
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: Sugar Maple - Basswood: 26
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.587 Laurentian-Acadian Floodplain Forest
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, MA, MD, ME, NH, NY, PA, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: NB, QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association occurs in the glaciated Northeast from New Brunswick, Canada, 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: Aroostook Hills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212A Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
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: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F 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
Section Name: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Possible
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: Vermont-New Hampshire Upland Section
Section Code: M212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy is closed to somewhat open, and unlike lower-elevation floodplain forests, a subcanopy is often present. Shrubs are occasional, but do not form high cover. The herb layer is well-developed and seasonally variable, with spring ephemerals giving way to taller ferns, graminoids, and forbs. Bryoids are very minor. The canopy dominants can vary from site to site, but are usually some combination of Acer saccharum, Tilia americana, Quercus rubra, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Prunus serotina. Minor canopy associates include Acer saccharinum, Juglans cinerea, Fraxinus nigra, and Acer rubrum. Shrubs include Corylus americana, Viburnum lentago, and Prunus virginiana; vines such as Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus spp., or Vitis spp. may be locally common. The herb layer usually features Matteuccia struthiopteris and a mixture of other ferns, forbs, and graminoids. Characteristic species include Ageratina altissima (= Eupatorium rugosum), Allium tricoccum, Allium canadense, Athyrium filix-femina, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Carex gracillima, Carex intumescens, Carex sprengelii, Deparia acrostichoides, Elymus virginicus, Elymus riparius, Elymus wiegandii (= Elymus canadensis var. wiegandii), Onoclea sensibilis, Sanguinaria canadensis, Solidago flexicaulis, Solidago rugosa, and Solidago gigantea in addition to abundant spring ephemerals in the early growing season. Exotic species, such as Lysimachia nummularia, Glechoma hederacea, and Hesperis matronalis, may be abundant, especially in disturbed areas.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer saccharum GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fraxinus americana GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fraxinus pennsylvanica GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Tilia americana GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Corylus americana GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Prunus virginiana GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Viburnum lentago GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling      
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans GNR Liana Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ageratina altissima GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Glechoma hederacea GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hesperis matronalis GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lysimachia nummularia GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Matteuccia struthiopteris GNR Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: These rich floodplain forests are found on slightly elevated alluvial terraces as well as active floodplains of larger rivers throughout the glaciated Northeast. The setting is a raised river terrace; however, this forest may occur very close to the riverbank if the water channel is well entrenched, and may even be on sloping banks along some river reaches. The alluvial soils are coarse and less regularly inundated than the soils supporting silver maple floodplain forests. Many of our examples occur on circumneutral to slightly calcareous soils.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Northern Appalachian Planning Team
Element Description Edition Date: 27Jan2003
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
  • 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.

  • 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, F. C. Sechler, E. Eastman, E. Largay, L. A. Sneddon, C. Lea, and J. Von Loh. 2014b. Vegetation inventory: Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NETN/NRTR--2014/869, National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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., and P. Stango, III. 2003. Shrubland tidal wetland communities of Maryland's Eastern Shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 118 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.

  • 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.

  • NAP [Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Working Group]. 1998. Northern Appalachian-Boreal Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service]. 2004a. Soil survey of Saratoga County, New York. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 590 pp.

  • PNHP [Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program]. 2002. Classification, assessment and protection of forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna Drainage. U.S. EPA Wetlands Protection State Development Grant no. CD-993731. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, Ecological Services Section. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg, PA.

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

  • Rhoads, A. F., and T. A. Block. 2008a. Natural areas inventory update, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Montgomery County Planning Commission, Norristown, PA.

  • Sperduto, D. D., and K. F. Crowley. 2002a. Floodplain forests in New England: Analysis and proposed classification. In collaboration with natural heritage programs in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 19 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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]

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011j. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Sugar Maple - Mixed Hardwood Floodplain Forest Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30017] (accessed January 31, 2012)

  • 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]

  • Zimmerman, E., and G. Podniesinski. 2008. Classification, assessment and protection of floodplain wetlands of the Ohio Drainage. U.S. EPA Wetlands Protection State Development Grant no. CD-973081-01-0. Report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Office of Conservation Science. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh, PA.


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