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Quercus stellata - (Quercus marilandica) / Gaylussacia frondosa Acidic Hardpan Woodland
Translated Name: Post Oak - (Blackjack Oak) / Blue Huckleberry Acidic Hardpan Woodland
Common Name: Piedmont Acidic Hardpan Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL004413
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association occurs on acidic clay pans in flat terrain of the Piedmont. The canopy is closed to fairly open and is dominated by Quercus stellata, Quercus alba, and Quercus falcata. Other canopy trees include Pinus echinata, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus marilandica, and Quercus coccinea. The subcanopy is not distinctive. The shrub layer is characteristically well-developed and consists of short deciduous heaths, including Gaylussacia frondosa (= var. frondosa), Gaylussacia dumosa (= var. dumosa), Lyonia ligustrina var. foliosiflora, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium tenellum, and Vaccinium pallidum. The herb layer is poorly developed. Some environments are referred to as highly acidic (pH 3.7-4.0). This association is also reported from the Carolina Slate Belt (Subsection 231Af), on acidic soils such as the Meisenheimer and Zion series.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The occurrence of a number of species which are associated with xeric hardpan forest, but which now occur largely in pastures, roadsides, or other chronically disturbed areas, supports the idea of a more naturally open vegetation structure (Schafale and Weakley 1990). It is believed that periodic fires once maintained a more open canopy in these communities and could have provided habitat for rare species such as Helianthus schweinitzii and Symphyotrichum georgianum (= Aster georgianus) (Oakley et al. 1995). This association represents the "Acidic Hardpan Variant" type of Xeric Hardpan Forest. Another association, Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica - Carya (carolinae-septentrionalis, glabra) / Schizachyrium scoparium Woodland (CEGL003714), represents the "Basic Hardpan Variant" (Oakley et al. 1995). See also Quercus stellata - Carya carolinae-septentrionalis / Acer leucoderme / Piptochaetium avenaceum - Danthonia spicata Woodland (CEGL003713), the "Basic Rocky Variant" of Piedmont Xeric Hardpan Forest.

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 Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Piedmont-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Forest
Alliance Piedmont Post Oak - Hickory - Pine Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003713 Quercus stellata - Carya carolinae-septentrionalis / Acer leucoderme / Piptochaetium avenaceum - Danthonia spicata Woodland
CEGL003714 Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica - Carya (carolinae-septentrionalis, glabra) / Schizachyrium scoparium Woodland
CEGL004910 Quercus prinus - Quercus stellata - Pinus echinata / Vaccinium pallidum / Schizachyrium scoparium Scrub



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
North Carolina Xeric Hardpan Forest (Acidic Hardpan Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Xeric Hardpan Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
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.
Related Concept Name: Xeric Hardpan Forest, Acidic Hardpan Variant
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Oakley, S. C., H. E. LeGrand, Jr., and M. P. Schafale. 1995. An inventory of mafic natural areas in the North Carolina Piedmont. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 252 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.268 Piedmont Hardpan Woodland and Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (06Feb2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This type is restricted to very scattered and small sites in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The occurrence of a number of species which are associated with xeric hardpan forest, but which now occur largely in pastures, roadsides, or other chronically disturbed areas, supports the idea of a more naturally open vegetation structure (Schafale and Weakley 1990). Sites are vulnerable to logging. It is also threatened by highway construction and housing development. Fire had a poorly understood but likely important role in this community, and almost all examples have had fire excluded. It is believed that periodic fires once maintained a more open canopy in these communities and could have provided habitat for rare species such as Helianthus schweinitzii and Symphyotrichum georgianum (Oakley et al. 1995). No examples are protected on public land, although the potential for protection exists on the Uwharrie National Forest, North Carolina.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type is restricted to the Piedmont of North Carolina.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy is closed to fairly open and is dominated by Quercus stellata, Quercus alba, and Quercus falcata. Other canopy trees include Pinus echinata, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus marilandica, and Quercus coccinea. The subcanopy is not distinctive. The shrub layer is characteristically well-developed and consists of short deciduous heaths, including Gaylussacia frondosa (= var. frondosa), Gaylussacia dumosa (= var. dumosa), Lyonia ligustrina var. foliosiflora, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium tenellum, and Vaccinium pallidum. The herb layer is poorly developed.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus stellata G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Gaylussacia frondosa G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Helianthus schweinitzii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Symphyotrichum georgianum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Helianthus schweinitzii
  (Schweinitz's Sunflower)
G3 LE: Listed endangered
Symphyotrichum georgianum
  (Georgia Aster)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on acidic clay pans in flat terrain of the Piedmont. This association is also reported from the Carolina Slate Belt (Subsection 231Af), on acidic soils such as the Meisenheimer and Zion series (Oakley et al. 1995). Some of its environments are referred to as highly acidic (pH 3.7-4.0). These soils are shale-derived, and the shale saprolite is what promotes the formation of the hardpan.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): R.K. Peet, mod. M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 01Jul1996
Element Description Author(s): R.K. Peet and M.P. Schafale
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne

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.

  • Oakley, S. C., H. E. LeGrand, Jr., and M. P. Schafale. 1995. An inventory of mafic natural areas in the North Carolina Piedmont. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 252 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.

  • 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.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.


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