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Taxodium distichum - Nyssa biflora / Fraxinus caroliniana / Lyonia lucida Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Bald-cypress - Swamp Tupelo / Carolina Ash / Shining Fetterbush Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Atlantic Coastal Plain Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004733
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association includes very wet forests of the southeastern Coastal Plain in North Carolina and South Carolina that are flooded by river overbank flow for long periods. It occurs along Coastal Plain streams which lack clay sediment, where Nyssa aquatica is not a significant component of the canopy. This community occupies the most acidic and clay-free streams and consequently is found within coarse-sandy landscapes. Forests are dominated by combinations of Nyssa biflora, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

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.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest
Group Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southern Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004289 Taxodium ascendens / Fraxinus caroliniana - Cephalanthus occidentalis - (Planera aquatica) Floodplain Woodland
CEGL007054 Nyssa biflora - (Taxodium distichum) / Clethra alnifolia - Viburnum nudum / Woodwardia areolata 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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
North Carolina Cypress--Gum Swamp (Blackwater Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cypress--Gum Swamp (Acid Blackwater Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Cypress--Gum Swamp (Blackwater Subtype)
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: Swamp Woodlands
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCrain, G. R., and B. H. Church. 1985. An analysis of past and present plant community patterns in Moores Creek National Battlefield along with associated impacts affecting distribution and restoration. Prepared by Resource Management Co., Raleigh, NC, under Purchase Order Number PX-5550-3-0062 for the USDI, National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, GA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.247 Atlantic Coastal Plain Blackwater Stream Floodplain Forest
CES203.249 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Blackwater River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (31Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This cypress-gum swamp occurs in the most acidic landscapes of the southeastern Coastal Plain in North Carolina and South Carolina. There are over 20 occurrences recorded in North Carolina, totaling less than 10,000 acres, though additional occurrences exist. Nearly all examples have been altered by timber harvest, and many have also been altered by sedimentation and hydrologic changes to upstream areas in the watershed.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This cypress-gum swamp occurs in the most acidic landscapes of the southeastern Coastal Plain in North Carolina and South Carolina.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stands are dominated by combinations of Nyssa biflora, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens. Nyssa aquatica is not a significant component of the canopy. The subcanopy and shrub layers may be poorly developed or dense at some sites. Fraxinus caroliniana, Nyssa biflora, Acer rubrum, and Ilex opaca var. opaca are the most typical species, with Persea palustris and Magnolia virginiana occurring less frequently. Characteristic shrubs include Cyrilla racemiflora, Clethra alnifolia, Lyonia lucida, Leucothoe racemosa, Itea virginica, and Ilex myrtifolia. Scrambling vines may be common and may include Smilax walteri, Smilax laurifolia, Smilax rotundifolia, Vitis rotundifolia, Toxicodendron radicans, and Berchemia scandens. The herb layer varies from nearly absent to moderate in cover. Species include Saururus cernuus, Carex gigantea, Polygonum punctatum, Centella erecta, Hydrocotyle prolifera, Dulichium arundinaceum, and Woodwardia areolata. Tillandsia usneoides, Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. michauxiana, and Phoradendron leucarpum (= Phoradendron serotinum) are often common epiphytes. Herbs more typical of drier sites may occur on stumps or logs.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Nyssa biflora G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)  
 
 
Taxodium ascendens G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Taxodium distichum G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fraxinus caroliniana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Lyonia lucida G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occurs along Coastal Plain streams which lack clay sediment, where Nyssa aquatica is not a significant component of the canopy. It occupies the most acidic and clay-free streams and consequently is found within coarse-sandy landscapes. The type can occur in small to large patches, and occurs commonly both in sloughs of large blackwater rivers and filling the entire floodplain of small streams. Soils are often organic. In the upper portions of blackwater rivers, it often is confined to narrow sloughs but may occur intermittently in larger basins. Downstream on blackwater rivers, it may cover much of the floodplain. Where it occurs along small to medium streams, it tends to fill the full width of a featureless, muck-filled floodplain. These may have a distinct channel, a network of anastomosing channels, or have no visible channel at all.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community type forms a stable climax but is slow to recover from logging. In most places, Taxodium has regenerated poorly and stands have become dominated by Nyssa. Taxodium is extremely long-lived, and reproduction may be intermittent or tied to unusual conditions. Because of low canopy diversity, pests or diseases of a particular species may have major effects on the community. For example, complete spring defoliation of Nyssa biflora by caterpillars was observed two years in a row on the Waccamaw River. Because blackwater rivers carry little inorganic sediment, flooding does not provide as substantial a nutrient input as in brownwater systems, but it may still be significant. The infertile, acidic soils and wetland produce slow tree growth, and only very old trees generally attain large size. River channel shifts may disturb small areas.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 15Dec2011
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley

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


References
  • McCrain, G. R., and B. H. Church. 1985. An analysis of past and present plant community patterns in Moores Creek National Battlefield along with associated impacts affecting distribution and restoration. Prepared by Resource Management Co., Raleigh, NC, under Purchase Order Number PX-5550-3-0062 for the USDI, National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, GA.

  • McManamay, R. H., A. Curtis, and M. W. Byrne. 2012. Vegetation mapping at Moores Creek National Battlefield. Natural Resource Data Series NPS/SECN/NRDS--2012/319. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 173 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. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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.

  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Sieren, D. J. 1984. A floristic study of the vascular plants on 11.77 acres of Moores Creek National Battlefield. Prepared under Purchase Order Number PX-5550-3-0062 for the USDI, National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, GA.

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


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