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Vaccinium angustifolium - Sorbus americana / Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Dwarf-shrubland
Translated Name: Lowbush Blueberry - American Mountain-ash / Shrubby Fivefingers Dwarf-shrubland
Common Name: Blueberry Granite Barrens
Unique Identifier: CEGL005094
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This northern or high-elevation acidic rock heath barren occurs in the glaciated northeastern states on rocky ridges, outcrops and summits. It includes patches of shrub dominance as well as areas of bedrock-dominated sparse vegetation. The soils are shallow, well-drained, dry, acidic, coarse sands. Expanses of exposed bedrock are typical, with minimal soil development restricted to crevices or shelter areas. Elevations of known examples range from almost sea level on the Maine coast to about 825 m (2700 feet) inland. The physiognomy of this community is patchy and variable, ranging from woodland to shrubland to sparsely vegetated rock. A tree canopy is absent or poorly developed, usually consisting of scattered and stunted trees with less than 10% cover. Tall shrubs are scattered, mostly in somewhat protected areas. Dwarf-shrubs are the most extensive layer, with up to 75% cover. Herbs are sparse and confined to rock crevices and depressions. The bryoid layer varies from sparse to well-developed, with both lichens and mosses represented. Tree species include Picea rubens, Abies balsamea, Quercus rubra, Pinus strobus, Betula papyrifera, Betula populifolia, or Acer rubrum. Scattered tall shrubs include Sorbus americana, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Ilex mucronata, Aronia melanocarpa, Comptonia peregrina, or Amelanchier spp. Prominent dwarf heath shrubs include Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium myrtilloides, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia baccata, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and Kalmia angustifolia. The sparse herb layer includes graminoids such as Deschampsia flexuosa, Danthonia spicata, Carex lucorum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Piptatheropsis pungens, and the forbs Sibbaldiopsis tridentata, Solidago simplex var. randii, Minuartia glabra, Maianthemum canadense, Gaultheria procumbens, Trientalis borealis, and Pteridium aquilinum. Abundant mosses and lichens form a bryophyte layer characterized by Polytrichum commune, Polytrichum juniperinum, Polytrichum piliferum, Dicranum polysetum, and Cladonia lichens. These heath balds are distinguished by the presence of boreal species such as Sorbus americana and Sibbaldiopsis tridentata combined with temperate species such as Quercus rubra, Quercus montana, Carex pensylvanica, Carex lucorum, and Betula populifolia. They can be floristically similar to (Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra) / Danthonia spicata Acidic Bedrock Scrub Grassland (CEGL005101), but those have more (albeit scattered) trees and graminoids more abundant than dwarf-shrubs.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This community is phytogeographically intermediate between the more boreal (Picea mariana, Abies balsamea) / Kalmia angustifolia - Ledum groenlandicum Dwarf-shrubland (CEGL006031) and the more Central Appalachian Vaccinium (angustifolium, myrtilloides, pallidum) Central Appalachian Dwarf-shrubland (CEGL003958).

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 Laurentian-Acadian Acidic Rocky Scrub & Grassland
Group Laurentian-Acadian Acidic Scrub & Grassland
Alliance Lowbush Blueberry - Velvetleaf Huckleberry Rocky Heath

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003958 Vaccinium (angustifolium, myrtilloides, pallidum) Central Appalachian Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL005101 (Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra) / Danthonia spicata Acidic Bedrock Scrub Grassland
CEGL006031 (Picea mariana, Abies balsamea) / Kalmia angustifolia - Ledum groenlandicum Dwarf-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
Connecticut Sand barren Undetermined   Metzler and Barrett 2006
Connecticut Subacidic rocky summit/outcrop Undetermined   Metzler and Barrett 2006
Maine Three-toothed cinquefoil - blueberry low summit bald Equivalent   Gawler and Cutko 2010
Massachusetts Acidic Rocky Summit/Rock Outcrop Community Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Red spruce - heath - cinquefoil rocky ridge Intersects   Sperduto 2000
New York Spruce-fir rocky summit Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Low heath - mountain ash shrubland Finer   Fike 1999
Vermont Boreal Outcrop Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000
Vermont Temperate Acidic Outcrop Undetermined   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Vaccinium angustifolium dwarf-shrublands
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Blueberry-mountain ash summit shrub heath
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 Acidic Rocky Summit/Rock Outcrop Community
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: Three-toothed Cinquefoil - Blueberry Low Summit Bald
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
CES201.571 Northern Appalachian-Acadian Rocky Heath Outcrop
CES202.600 Central Appalachian Pine-Oak Rocky Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (15Dec1994)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, PApotentially occurs, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: ON
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This heath barren occurs in the glaciated northeastern states from Maine to Pennsylvania and in Ontario, Canada.

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: Possible
Section Name: Maine-New Brunswick Foothills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212B Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
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: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A 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: Possible
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
Section Name: Catskill Mountain Section
Section Code: M212E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The physiognomy of this community is patchy and variable, ranging from woodland to shrubland to sparsely vegetated rock. A tree canopy is absent or poorly developed, usually consisting of scattered and stunted trees with less than 10% cover. Tall shrubs are scattered, mostly in somewhat protected areas. Dwarf-shrubs are the most extensive layer, with up to 75% cover. Herbs are sparse and confined to rock crevices and depressions. The bryoid layer varies from sparse to well-developed, with both lichens and mosses represented. Tree species include Picea rubens, Abies balsamea, Quercus rubra, Pinus strobus, Betula papyrifera, Betula populifolia, or Acer rubrum. Scattered tall shrubs include Sorbus americana, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Ilex mucronata (= Nemopanthus mucronatus), Aronia melanocarpa, Comptonia peregrina, or Amelanchier spp. Prominent dwarf heath shrubs include Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium myrtilloides, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia baccata, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and Kalmia angustifolia. The sparse herb layer includes graminoids such as Deschampsia flexuosa, Danthonia spicata, Carex lucorum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Piptatheropsis pungens (= Oryzopsis pungens), and the forbs Sibbaldiopsis tridentata, Solidago simplex var. randii, Minuartia glabra, Maianthemum canadense, Gaultheria procumbens, Trientalis borealis, and Pteridium aquilinum. Abundant mosses and lichens form a bryophyte layer characterized by Polytrichum commune, Polytrichum juniperinum, Polytrichum piliferum, Dicranum polysetum, and Cladonia lichens.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Vaccinium myrtilloides GNR Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa GNR Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This northern or high-elevation acidic rock heath barren occurs in the glaciated northeastern states on rocky ridges, outcrops and summits. It includes patches of shrub dominance as well as areas of bedrock-dominated sparse vegetation. The soils are shallow, well-drained, dry, acidic, coarse sands. Expanses of exposed bedrock are typical, with minimal soil development restricted to crevices or shelter areas. Elevations of known examples range from almost sea level on the Maine coast to about 825 m (2700 feet) inland.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.C. Gawler (2002)
Element Description Edition Date: 23Jun2006
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hill, A. F. 1923. The vegetation of the Penobscot Bay region, Maine. Proceedings of the Portland Society of Natural History 3:307-438.

  • Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

  • Lubinski, S., K. Hop, and S. Gawler. 2003. Vegetation Mapping Program: Acadia National Park, Maine. Report produced by U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Maine Natural Areas Program in conjunction with M. Story (NPS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator) NPS, Natural Resources Information Division, Inventory and Monitoring Program, and K. Brown (USGS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator), USGS, Center for Biological Informatics and NatureServe. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/ftp/vegmapping/acad/reports/acadrpt.pdf]

  • 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.

  • ONHIC [Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Unpublished data. Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario, Canada.

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

  • 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.


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