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Betula nigra - Platanus occidentalis / Impatiens capensis Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: River Birch - American Sycamore / Jewelweed Floodplain Forest
Common Name: River Birch Low Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006184
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This Mid-Atlantic floodplain forest of large and moderately large rivers occurs on sandy, gravelly, well-drained soils of levees, gravel bars, braided channels and other areas of frequent flooding. The tree canopy is well-developed and dominated by Betula nigra and Platanus occidentalis, with associates including Acer negundo and occasionally Acer saccharinum and Fraxinus pennsylvanica. The shrub layer can include Cornus amomum, Cornus sericea, and Lindera benzoin. The vine and herb layers are lush and diverse and may include Boehmeria cylindrica, Elymus hystrix, Stellaria pubera, Impatiens capensis, Impatiens pallida, Laportea canadensis, Pilea pumila, Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis rotundifolia or Vitis riparia, Chasmanthium latifolium (= Uniola latifolia), Podophyllum peltatum, Polygonum virginianum, Apocynum cannabinum, and Urtica sp. Exotic species are typical and may include Lysimachia sp., Microstegium vimineum, Lonicera japonica, Lonicera morrowii, Polygonum cuspidatum, Phalaris arundinacea, and Alliaria petiolata.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Central Hardwood Floodplain Forest
Group Silver Maple - Sugarberry - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Appalachian-Piedmont River Birch - Sycamore Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002086 Betula nigra - Platanus occidentalis Floodplain Forest
CEGL003896 Platanus occidentalis - Betula nigra - Salix (caroliniana, nigra) Floodplain Forest
CEGL006036 Platanus occidentalis - Fraxinus pennsylvanica Floodplain Forest
CEGL006603 Platanus occidentalis - (Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera) / Asimina triloba Floodplain Forest
CEGL006976 Betula nigra - Acer rubrum - (Liquidambar styraciflua) / Microstegium vimineum Ruderal Floodplain Forest



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
Delaware River Birch Low Floodplain Forest Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Betula nigra - Platanus occidentalis / Impatiens pallida Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New York Floodplain forest Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Sycamore - Mixed Hardwood Floodplain Forest Broader Certain Zimmerman et al. 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Betula nigra - Platanus occidentalis / Impatiens pallida Forest
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: Platanus occidentalis - Acer negundo / Asarum canadense Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Platanus occidentalis - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Acer negundo / Lindera benzoin Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Sycamore - (River Birch) - Box-Elder Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Sycamore - Mixed Hardwood Floodplain Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Podniesinski, G., and G. Wagner. 2002. Classification, assessment, and protection of forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh, PA, and The Nature Conservancy, Middletown, PA. 159 pp.
Related Concept Name: Sycamore-river birch-jewelweed floodplain forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES203.070 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Riparian and Floodplain


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3Q (20May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association occurs on the northern range limit of Betula nigra and is apparently limited in distribution to a few large mid-Atlantic rivers. Occurrences are generally from 10s to 200 acres in size. The ecological integrity of this vegetation is threatened by the easy dispersal of exotic species via alluvial flooding. However, the taxonomy of this association remains in question, and its relationship to other associations of this alliance requires further study.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is common in the Mid-Atlantic states.

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: 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: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B 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: Catskill Mountain Section
Section Code: M212E 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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The tree canopy is well-developed and dominated by Betula nigra and Platanus occidentalis, with associates including Acer negundo and occasionally Acer saccharinum and Fraxinus pennsylvanica. The shrub layer can include Cornus amomum, Cornus sericea, and Lindera benzoin. The vine and herb layers are lush and diverse and may include Boehmeria cylindrica, Elymus hystrix, Stellaria pubera, Impatiens capensis, Impatiens pallida, Laportea canadensis, Pilea pumila, Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis rotundifolia or Vitis riparia, Chasmanthium latifolium (= Uniola latifolia), Podophyllum peltatum, Polygonum virginianum, Apocynum cannabinum, and Urtica sp. Exotic species are typical and may include Lysimachia sp., Microstegium vimineum, Lonicera japonica, Lonicera morrowii, Polygonum cuspidatum, Phalaris arundinacea, and Alliaria petiolata.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula nigra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Platanus occidentalis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Cornus amomum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lonicera morrowii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vitis rotundifolia G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Alliaria petiolata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Boehmeria cylindrica G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Impatiens capensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Polygonum cuspidatum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Microstegium vimineum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Phalaris arundinacea G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Lonicera japonica G3 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This Mid-Atlantic floodplain forest of large and moderately large rivers occurs on sandy, gravelly, well-drained soils of levees, gravel bars, braided channels and other areas of frequent flooding.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
Element Description Edition Date: 23Aug2006
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and E. Largay
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): L.A. Sneddon

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


References
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • 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. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). 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.

  • 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.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, M. Furedi, B. A. Eichelberger, A. Feldmann, G. Edinger, E. Eastman, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping at Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/133. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 370 pp.

  • Podniesinski, G., and G. Wagner. 2002. Classification, assessment, and protection of forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh, PA, and The Nature Conservancy, Middletown, PA. 159 pp.

  • Robichaud, B., and M. F. Buell. 1973. Vegetation of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ. 340 pp.

  • Thomson, D., A. M. Gould, and M. A. Berdine. 1999. Identification and protection of reference wetland natural communities in Maryland: Potomac watershed floodplain forests. The Biodiversity Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division. Annapolis. 119 pp.

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011l. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Sycamore - Mixed Hardwood Floodplain Forest Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30019] (accessed January 31, 2012)

  • 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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