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Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Acer pensylvanicum / Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Impatiens pallida Woodland
Translated Name: American Basswood - White Ash / Striped Maple / Virginia Creeper - Pale Touch-me-not Woodland
Common Name: Central Appalachian Basic Boulderfield Forest (Montane Basswood - White Ash Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL008528
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community type occurs throughout the northern Blue Ridge in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, and more locally in the western Virginia Ridge and Valley region. Sites include steep, boulder and stone slides below cliffs; boulder-filled slope concavities and hollow-heads; and other very rocky, submesic to mesic habitats at middle elevations between 760 and 1030 m (2500-3400 feet). This is an open to closed, mixed hardwood forest, with tall, well-formed trees. Because of somewhat unstable substrates and occasional exposure to severe wind and ice storms, downfalls and crown damage may be frequent in some stands. Tilia americana (including both var. americana and var. heterophylla), Fraxinus americana, and Quercus rubra are the most abundant, variably dominant or codominant canopy trees. Carya cordiformis, Robinia pseudoacacia, and Carya ovata are minor but constant canopy associates. Understory layers tend to be open, with Acer pensylvanicum, Ostrya virginiana, Sambucus racemosa (= Sambucus pubens), and Ribes rotundifolium the most characteristic species. The usually patchy herb layer varies greatly in richness and density with substrate conditions.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification of this unit is supported by 20 plots from Alleghany, Amherst, Botetourt, Greene, Madison, Page, Rappahannock, Rockbridge, and Rockingham counties, Virginia (G. Fleming pers. comm.). Boulderfield forests and woodlands have not been thoroughly inventoried in Virginia and elsewhere. The global ranges and ecological relationships of this and other units are not well known and require additional study. In particular, the distribution and status of this association (CEGL008528) in the Ridge and Valley province needs clarification. The distribution of this community type in the northern Blue Ridge appears to be centered above 760 m (2500 feet) elevation, where Liriodendron tulipifera begins to reach its upper elevational limits. Above 1000 to 1060 m (3300-3500 feet) (depending on aspect) elevation, this type is replaced by Betula alleghaniensis / Sorbus americana - Acer spicatum / Polypodium appalachianum Forest (CEGL008504).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Appalachian-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest
Group Appalachian-Allegheny Northern Hardwood - Conifer Forest
Alliance Sugar Maple - American Basswood - Northern Red Oak Rocky Forest

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



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 Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Acer pensylvanicum - Ostrya virginiana / Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Impatiens pallida Woodland Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Liriodendron tulipifera - Acer saccharum - Tilia americana / Laportea canadensis - Impatiens pallida Association, pro parte
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Acer pensylvanicum - Ostrya virginiana / Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Impatiens pallida Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Acer pensylvanicum - Ostrya virginiana / Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Impatiens pallida Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
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: Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Ostrya virginiana / Ageratina altissima Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Low-Elevation Boulderfield Forest / Woodland
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.592 Northeastern Interior Dry-Mesic Oak Forest
CES202.596 Central and Southern Appalachian Montane Oak Forest
CES202.603 North-Central Appalachian Circumneutral Cliff and Talus


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (01Oct2001)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Based on current documentation, there are probably fewer than 100 occurrences of this community rangewide. Patch sizes are not large, and the type appears to be associated with a narrow range of ecological conditions, including base-rich substrates and intermediate elevations. The Blue Ridge of Maryland and the Ridge and Valley of Virginia and West Virginia support additional occurrences, but these are unlikely to be numerous due to a general lack of suitable substrates within the critical elevation range.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community type occurs in suitable habitats throughout the northern Blue Ridge in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, and more locally in the western Virginia Ridge and Valley region. Stands assigned to this type but somewhat transitional to northern hardwood forest, Betula alleghaniensis - Quercus rubra / Acer spicatum / Dryopteris intermedia - Oclemena acuminata Forest (CEGL008502), also occur on the northwest flank of Peters Mountain in Alleghany County, Virginia. Similar forests have been observed in a few other sites of the western Virginia Ridge and Valley region.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stand physiognomy is an open to closed, mixed hardwood forest, with tall, well-formed trees. Because of somewhat unstable substrates and occasional exposure to severe wind and ice storms, downfalls and crown damage may be frequent in some stands. Tilia americana (including both var. americana and var. heterophylla), Fraxinus americana, and Quercus rubra are the most abundant, variably dominant or codominant canopy trees. More locally, Betula lenta and Acer saccharum are codominants in the mixtures, although the latter is absent from the majority of plot-sampled stands. Carya cordiformis, Robinia pseudoacacia, and Carya ovata are minor but constant canopy associates. Understory layers tend to be open, with Acer pensylvanicum, Ostrya virginiana, Sambucus racemosa (= Sambucus pubens), and Ribes rotundifolium the most characteristic species. The usually patchy herb layer varies greatly in richness and density with substrate conditions. Scrambling vines of Parthenocissus quinquefolia, along with the forbs Impatiens pallida, Laportea canadensis, and Ageratina altissima, constitute much of the herb-layer cover. Additional more-or-less constant herbs include Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Arisaema triphyllum, Asarum canadense, Dryopteris marginalis, Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Galium triflorum, Hydrophyllum virginianum, Osmorhiza claytonii, and Polymnia canadensis, all of which are well-adapted to the interstices and moss mats of very bouldery/rocky habitats. On sites with slightly better development of mineral soils, a larger variety of nutrient-demanding herbs (e.g., Caulophyllum thalictroides, Trillium grandiflorum, Viola canadensis) may be present. Species richness of plot-sampled stands ranges from 14 to 59 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 40).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Fraxinus americana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus rubra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Tilia americana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Acer pensylvanicum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Ostrya virginiana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Prunus virginiana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ribes rotundifolium G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Sambucus racemosa G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ageratina altissima G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Hydrophyllum virginianum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Impatiens pallida G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Laportea canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Panax quinquefolius G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polymnia canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Gymnocarpium appalachianum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G3 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Gymnocarpium appalachianum
  (Appalachian Oak Fern)
G3  
Panax quinquefolius
  (American Ginseng)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Sites include steep, boulder and stone slides below cliffs; boulder-filled slope concavities and hollow-heads; and other very rocky, submesic to mesic habitats at middle elevations. Most plot-sampled stands are situated between 760 and 1030 m (2500-3400 feet) elevation, but stands occasionally occur as low as 450 m (1500 feet). The community is most frequent and characteristic of sites underlain by Catoctin metabasalt (greenstone) but also occurs locally on base-rich granitic rocks of the Blue Ridge basement complex, e.g., layered pyroxene granulite, charnockite, and porphyritic leucocharnockite. Scattered boulderfield habitats for this community in the Ridge and Valley province are derived from calcareous shales and siltstones. Stands occur at lower, middle, and upper slope topographic positions. Mean slope in plots is 23. Rock cover (bedrock, boulders, and/or stones) is essentially continuous, but surficial exposure of rocks averages 50%, with leaf litter (47%) and decaying wood (3%) comprising the remainder of the substrate. Soils are mostly interstitial, have high organic content (mean = 23%), and are generally difficult to extract. Samples collected from plots are very strongly acidic (mean pH = 4.7) but have moderately high calcium, magnesium, and manganese levels (up to 4628 ppm, 372 ppm, and 269 ppm, respectively).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Juglans cinerea was formerly a frequent associate of this community but has been nearly eliminated in recent decades by a canker dieback caused by the fungus Melanconis juglandis.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming, mod. G. Fleming and P. Coulling
Element Description Edition Date: 09Aug2004
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming and P.P. Coulling
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Oct2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming

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


References
  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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