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Quercus muehlenbergii - Quercus (alba, rubra) - Carya cordiformis / Viburnum prunifolium Forest
Translated Name: Chinquapin Oak - (White Oak, Northern Red Oak) - Bitternut Hickory / Blackhaw Forest
Common Name: Southern Appalachian Limestone Rich Cove Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004793
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These are rich forests of moderately steep slopes in the Ridge and Valley and adjacent provinces over various limestone and dolomitic formations. The canopy ranges from closed to partly open and is dominated by a mixture of Quercus muehlenbergii, other oaks (particularly Quercus alba and Quercus rubra), and several hickories (Carya cordiformis, Carya glabra, and Carya ovalis). Fraxinus americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer saccharum, Quercus velutina, Ulmus rubra, Tilia americana, and Juglans nigra may also be present in the canopy. Disturbed stands may have a higher proportion of Fraxinus americana, Celtis occidentalis, and other early-successional species in the overstory. The relatively open subcanopy may contain Acer saccharum, Aesculus flava, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, as well as smaller individuals of Fraxinus americana and Carya spp. Viburnum prunifolium, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Cornus florida, Ulmus rubra, Ostrya virginiana, Viburnum prunifolium, and Asimina triloba are present as tall shrubs or small trees. Low shrubs include Rhus aromatica var. aromatica, Dirca palustris, Staphylea trifolia, and Toxicodendron radicans. Herbs present include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Asclepias quadrifolia, Bromus pubescens, Brachyelytrum erectum, Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis, Collinsonia canadensis, Dichanthelium boscii, Dioscorea quaternata, Desmodium glutinosum, Elymus hystrix var. hystrix, Euphorbia mercurialina, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Geranium maculatum, Hexastylis arifolia var. ruthii, Houstonia longifolia, Hydrophyllum virginianum, Maianthemum racemosum, Oxalis grandis, Packera obovata, Polystichum acrostichoides, Sanicula odorata, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thaspium barbinode, Viola x palmata, and Viola pubescens. Some small patches of Arundinaria gigantea are also present in stands at the southern end of the range.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: This association has been observed on The Nature Conservancy's Powell River Preserve and in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, both in Claiborne County, Tennessee, as well as in a number of Virginia sites in the Ridge and Valley province. Quantitative data from northwestern Virginia, eastern and southern West Virginia, and western Maryland have been analyzed for the National Park Service.

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-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Northeastern Chinquapin Oak - Red-cedar Alkaline Forest & Woodland
Alliance Chinquapin Oak Calcareous Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006017 Acer saccharum - Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis Forest
CEGL007215 Quercus rubra - Quercus muehlenbergii / Hamamelis virginiana / Polymnia canadensis Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Fraxinus americana - Carya cordiformis - Quercus muhlenbergii / Staphylea trifolia / Hydrophyllum virginianum Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and J. T. Weber. 2003. Inventory, classification, and map of forested ecological communities at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 03-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 101 pp. plus appendix.
Related Concept Name: Quercus muhlenbergii - Quercus (alba, rubra) - Carya cordiformis / Viburnum prunifolium 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]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Dry-Mesic Calcareous Forest
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.
Relationship: B - Broader
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: IA6j. Interior Calcareous Oak-Hickory Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.592 Northeastern Interior Dry-Mesic Oak Forest
CES202.602 Central Appalachian Alkaline Glade and Woodland
CES202.886 Southern Appalachian Oak Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (01Oct2006)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is potentially widespread across the Ridge and Valley province of four states. However, this region has a long and extensive history of settlement and agriculture. As a result, few high-quality occurrences of this community exist, and most contemporary stands have been impacted by multiple disturbances, including clearing, cutting, and grazing. Moreover, the fertile soils occupied by this community are particularly prone to invasion by aggressive introduced weeds, whose abundance degrades the quality of many existing stands.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: KY, MD, TN, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is found in the Ridge and Valley and adjacent areas of Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, with small disjunct occurrences in the northern Virginia Triassic (Culpeper) Basin.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 221J Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stands are dominated by a mixture of Quercus muehlenbergii, other oaks (particularly Quercus alba and Quercus rubra), and several hickories (Carya cordiformis, Carya glabra, and Carya ovalis). Fraxinus americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer saccharum, Quercus velutina, Ulmus rubra, Tilia americana, and Juglans nigra may also be present in the canopy. Disturbed stands may have a higher proportion of Fraxinus americana, Celtis occidentalis, and other early-successional species in the overstory. The relatively open subcanopy may contain Acer saccharum, Aesculus flava, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, as well as smaller individuals of Fraxinus americana and Carya spp. Viburnum prunifolium, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Cornus florida, Ulmus rubra, Ostrya virginiana, Viburnum prunifolium, and Asimina triloba are present as tall shrubs or small trees. Low shrubs include Rhus aromatica var. aromatica, Dirca palustris, Staphylea trifolia, and Toxicodendron radicans. Herbs present include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Asclepias quadrifolia, Bromus pubescens, Brachyelytrum erectum, Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis, Collinsonia canadensis, Dichanthelium boscii, Dioscorea quaternata, Desmodium glutinosum, Elymus hystrix var. hystrix, Euphorbia mercurialina, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Geranium maculatum, Hexastylis arifolia var. ruthii, Houstonia longifolia, Hydrophyllum virginianum, Maianthemum racemosum, Oxalis grandis, Packera obovata, Polystichum acrostichoides, Sanicula odorata, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thaspium barbinode, Viola x palmata, and Viola pubescens. Some small patches of Arundinaria gigantea are also present in stands at the southern end of the range. Additional species characteristic of plot samples at the northern end of the range are Festuca subverticillata, Viola sororia, Cardamine concatenata, Geum canadense, Arisaema triphyllum, Actaea racemosa, Dicentra cucullaria, Claytonia virginica, Polygonum virginianum, Corydalis flavula, Eurybia divaricata, Podophyllum peltatum, and Viola striata. Several species that are more typical of basic mesic forests (e.g., Asarum canadense, Jeffersonia diphylla, Hybanthus concolor, and Dicentra canadensis) occasionally exhibit strong patch-dominance in this community, although none of these species occurs with high constancy. In Lee County, VA, Hydrastis canadensis frequently forms large clones in this forest. Additional, relatively inconstant herbs that occasionally cover >1% of an individual stand include Sanicula odorata, Bromus pubescens, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Galium concinnum, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (= Hepatica americana), Polymnia canadensis, Stellaria pubera, and Carex jamesii. Many additional herbs occur at low cover and constancy.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus muehlenbergii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy
 
 
Cercis canadensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Allium oxyphilum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Monarda fistulosa ssp. 1 G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Bromus pubescens G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Allium oxyphilum
  (Lillydale Onion)
G2  
Monarda fistulosa ssp. 1
  (Smoke Hole Bergamot)
G5T1T2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This type is strongly associated with carbonate rock substrates and calcareous soils of the Ridge and Valley province. A few rare, disjunct Piedmont stands also occur in the northern Virginia Triassic (Culpeper) Basin in association with bluffs of calcareous siltstone. Examples of this community in Tennessee and southwestern Virginia occur on gentle to steep, south- to east-facing slopes underlain by limestone. Sites are submesic, with locally shallow soils over flat-lying limestones. Plot-sampled stands in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland are located on gentle to steep slopes with variable aspects. Underlying bedrock in all but one case is limestone or dolomite. Middle and upper slope topographic positions are prevalent, but stands also occur on lower gorge slopes. Most sites have been disturbed in the past by cutting, clearing, and/or grazing. Surface substrate at sampling sites are not very rocky (mean cover of bedrock and loose rocks = 6%), have an average of 17% bare mineral soil, and are mostly covered by leaf litter and other organic matter. Soil samples collected from plots are nearly circumneutral (mean pH = 6.6) with very high calcium (mean = 3374 ppm) and magnesium (mean = 408 ppm) content, as well as nearly complete (97%) total base saturation. Habitats are subjectively assessed as submesic to mesic.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Contemporary examples of this vegetation type are probably quite different from mature stands that existed prior to the extensive post-settlement landscape alterations that occurred in the fertile limestone portions of the Ridge and Valley province. Codominance by trees such as Celtis occidentalis and Fraxinus americana is generally regarded as an indicator of heavy past disturbances and secondary succession. In a large and relatively mature stand (Frederick County, Virginia) that had experienced past cutting but no agricultural impacts, the overstory codominants were (in roughly descending order of importance) Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovalis, and Fraxinus americana; Quercus velutina was also common in certain parts of the site that seemed a little drier and stonier. The ubiquity of invasive weeds (e.g., Alliaria petiolata and Lonicera japonica) in most sampled and observed stands adds to the evidence that most examples are degraded. Moreover, at least in Virginia, where almost all of the prime habitats for this vegetation are located on private lands, inventory and documentation of the type have been very poor. All of these factors make characterization difficult. However, existing data and observations suggest that the type is widely distributed in the Ridge and Valley from western Maryland to Tennessee. Although opportunistic, early- and mid-successional species such as Celtis occidentalis and Fraxinus americana may persistently codominate many stands; oaks and hickories are likely to be the climax species in the absence of human disturbances.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Pyne and C.S. Major, mod. G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 29Jan2008
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne, R. White, G.P. Fleming and S.C. Gawler
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Oct2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • 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. 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 J. T. Weber. 2003. Inventory, classification, and map of forested ecological communities at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 03-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 101 pp. plus appendix.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping of Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/106. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.

  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.

  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.


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