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Alnus incana ssp. rugosa - Ilex mucronata / Sphagnum spp. Acidic Peatland
Translated Name: Speckled Alder - Catberry / Peatmoss species Acidic Peatland
Common Name: Northern Peatland Shrub Swamp
Unique Identifier: CEGL006158
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This alder-dominated community is associated with peatlands across northern New England and adjacent Canada. It is most often found at the landward edge of acidic peat mats (i.e., the lagg), where it receives slightly more enriched waters than those of the adjacent oligotrophic or ombrotrophic peatland. Nitrogen levels are higher than in other peatland communities, presumably as a result of nitrogen fixing by the alders. Occasionally, it occurs in a montane setting (>730 m [2400 feet]) on thin organic soils over coarse cryic soils. Tall shrubs are the dominant physiognomy, with at least 50% cover; trees may be present but are sparse. Herb cover varies from sparse to extensive depending on the shrub cover. The bryophyte layer is well-developed, usually with at least 50% cover. Alnus incana ssp. rugosa is the dominant or characteristic tall shrub; Ilex verticillata or Ilex mucronata are often present and sometimes abundant. Other shrubs include Alnus viridis, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Vaccinium corymbosum, or Spiraea tomentosa. A tree canopy is lacking, but there may be scattered trees of Acer rubrum, Picea mariana, Thuja occidentalis, or Abies balsamea. Dwarf-shrub cover is variable, with Rhododendron canadense and Chamaedaphne calyculata the most typical, and Kalmia angustifolia, Gaylussacia baccata, and Ledum groenlandicum often also present. (Ilex mucronata, Picea mariana, Thuja occidentalis, Abies balsamea, and Ledum groenlandicum drop out at the southern extent of the range.) The most characteristic herbs are Carex trisperma, Calla palustris, and Osmunda cinnamomea; other species include Triadenum virginicum, Carex intumescens, Carex magellanica ssp. irrigua, Doellingeria umbellata, Iris versicolor, Gaultheria hispidula, Lysimachia terrestris, Maianthemum trifolium, Onoclea sensibilis, Sarracenia purpurea, Thalictrum pubescens, and Trientalis borealis. The bryoid layer consists of Sphagnum spp., including Sphagnum recurvum, Sphagnum palustre, Sphagnum fallax, and Sphagnum magellanicum. The combination of Alnus incana dominance with Ilex mucronata and understory plants characteristic of peatlands is diagnostic.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.2 - Temperate to Polar Bog & Fen
Division 2.C.2.Na - North American Bog & Fen
Macrogroup North American Boreal & Subboreal Bog & Acidic Fen
Group Eastern North American Subboreal Bog & Acidic Fen
Alliance Highbush Blueberry Peat Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006062 Alnus incana - Cornus (amomum, sericea) / Clematis virginiana Shrub Swamp



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
Maine Alder shrub thicket Broader   Gawler 2002
Maine Mountain holly - alder woodland fen Equivalent   Gawler 2002
New Hampshire Alder - lake sedge intermediate fen Finer   Sperduto and Nichols 2004
New Hampshire Alder wooded fen Finer   Sperduto and Nichols 2004
New Hampshire Montane alder - heath shrub thicket Finer   Sperduto 2000
New York Shrub swamp Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Alder - sphagnum wetland Equivalent   Fike 1999
Vermont Alder Swamp Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Lagg
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Sorenson, E. R. 1986. The ecology and distribution of ribbed fens in Maine and their relevance to the Critical Areas Program. Planning report no. 81. State Planning Office, Augusta, ME. 171 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES103.581 Eastern Boreal-Sub-boreal Bog


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, NH, NY, PA, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: NBpotentially occurs, NSpotentially occurs, PEpotentially occurs, QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: This peatland lagg community occurs in northern New England and adjacent 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: Confident or certain
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: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: St. Lawrence and Champlain Valley Section
Section Code: 212E Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
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
Section Name: Adirondack Mountain Section
Section Code: M212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Tall shrubs are the dominant physiognomy, with at least 50% cover; trees may be present but are sparse. Herb cover varies from sparse to extensive depending on the shrub cover. The bryophyte layer is well-developed, usually with at least 50% cover. Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (= Alnus rugosa) is the dominant or characteristic tall shrub; Ilex verticillata or Ilex mucronata (= Nemopanthus mucronatus) are often present and sometimes abundant. Other shrubs include Alnus viridis, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (= Viburnum cassinoides), Vaccinium corymbosum, or Spiraea tomentosa. A tree canopy is lacking, but there may be scattered trees of Acer rubrum, Picea mariana, Thuja occidentalis, or Abies balsamea. Dwarf-shrub cover is variable, with Rhododendron canadense and Chamaedaphne calyculata the most typical, and Kalmia angustifolia, Gaylussacia baccata, and Ledum groenlandicum often also present. The most characteristic herbs are Carex trisperma, Calla palustris, and Osmunda cinnamomea; other species include Triadenum virginicum, Carex intumescens, Carex magellanica ssp. irrigua (= Carex paupercula), Doellingeria umbellata (= Aster umbellatus), Iris versicolor, Gaultheria hispidula, Lysimachia terrestris, Maianthemum trifolium, Onoclea sensibilis, Sarracenia purpurea, Thalictrum pubescens, and Trientalis borealis. The bryoid layer consists of Sphagnum spp., including Sphagnum recurvum, Sphagnum palustre, Sphagnum fallax, and Sphagnum magellanicum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Alnus incana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Eriophorum virginicum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This alder-dominated community is associated with peatlands across northern New England and adjacent Canada. It is most often at the landward edge of acidic peat mats (i.e., the lagg), where it receives slightly more enriched waters than those of the adjacent oligotrophic or ombrotrophic peatland. Nitrogen levels are higher than in other peatland communities, presumably as a result of nitrogen fixing by the alders. Occasionally, it occurs in a montane setting (>730 m [2400 feet]) on thin organic soils over coarse cryic 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
  • Anderson, D. S., and R. B. Davis. 1997. The vegetation and its environment in Maine peatlands. Canadian Journal of Botany 75:1785-1805.

  • 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., 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.

  • Furedi, M. A. 2011e. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Acidic Mixed Shrub - Sphagnum Wetland Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30000] (accessed February 16, 2012).

  • 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.

  • 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]

  • Sorenson, E. R. 1986. The ecology and distribution of ribbed fens in Maine and their relevance to the Critical Areas Program. Planning report no. 81. State Planning Office, Augusta, ME. 171 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.

  • 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., 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]


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