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Taxodium ascendens / Woodwardia virginica Swamp Woodland
Translated Name: Pond-cypress / Virginia Chainfern Swamp Woodland
Common Name: Pond-cypress Swamp Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL004441
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This open-structured savanna or woodland encompasses very acidic, species-poor stands in which Taxodium ascendens dominates the open canopy. The subcanopy stratum is usually poorly developed. Nyssa biflora, Pinus taeda, Pinus serotina, Liquidambar styraciflua, and other wetland trees or shrubs may or may not be present. The shrub stratum is usually poorly developed as well, though scattered to moderately dense shrubs sometimes occur. Shrubs include Ilex amelanchier, Leucothoe racemosa, Cyrilla racemiflora, and Lyonia lucida. The herb stratum is dominated by Woodwardia virginica.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: See Nifong (1982) and Carter (1978).

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 Pond-cypress Basin Swamp
Group Pond-cypress Basin Swamp
Alliance Pond-cypress Mixed Shrub Depression Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004087 Taxodium ascendens / Carex striata - Iris tridentata - (Woodwardia virginica) Swamp Woodland
CEGL004089 Taxodium ascendens - Nyssa biflora / Carex striata - Rhynchospora (careyana, cephalantha) Stringer Swamp Woodland
CEGL004475 Woodwardia virginica / Sphagnum cuspidatum Marsh



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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 Savanna (Acid Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cypress Savanna
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: Small Depression Drawdown Meadow/Savanna (Acid Cypress Savanna Subtype)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.245 Atlantic Coastal Plain Clay-Based Carolina Bay Wetland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2? (31Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This community type appears to be rare, occurring only in highly acid, seasonally flooded depressions in North Carolina and South Carolina. Such southeastern Coastal Plain depressional wetlands have been strongly impacted by wetland drainage, other hydrologic alteration, timber harvest, fire suppression, and fragmentation of the landscapes in which they occur. These communities are apparently dependent on a combination of flooding and fire to maintain their open savanna structure. After several years without flooding due to drought, young pine and hardwoods begin to invade many sites.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: As far as is known, this community type occurs only in highly acid, seasonally flooded depressions in North Carolina and South Carolina where it is restricted to the region of clay-based Carolina bays on the southern part of the inner Coastal Plain. They are more numerous and widespread in South Carolina (Bennett and Nelson 1991).

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: These woodlands have an open to sparse canopy dominated by Taxodium ascendens, with or without Nyssa biflora, Pinus taeda, Pinus serotina, Liquidambar styraciflua, and other wetland trees or shrubs; rarely lacking a canopy. Shrubs include Ilex amelanchier, Leucothoe racemosa, Cyrilla racemiflora, and Lyonia lucida. The herb stratum may be dominated by Woodwardia virginica. Other important herbs include Panicum hemitomon, Panicum verrucosum, Dichanthelium spp., Saccharum alopecuroidum (= Erianthus alopecuroides), Carex striata (= Carex walteriana), Woodwardia virginica, Rhynchospora inundata, Rhynchospora tracyi, Rhynchospora corniculata, other Rhynchospora spp., Scleria muehlenbergii (= Scleria reticularis var. pubescens), Andropogon virginicus, Eleocharis melanocarpa, Lachnanthes caroliana, Leersia hexandra, Boltonia sp., Sagittaria isoetiformis, Utricularia inflata, and Pluchea rosea (Schafale and Weakley 1990).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Taxodium ascendens G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Woodwardia virginica G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community is associated with clay-based Carolina bays and possibly other wet clayey depressions. It is found on wetland soils with a clay hardpan, generally McColl (Typic Fragiaquult) and Rains (Typic Paleaquult) series.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: These communities are apparently dependent on a combination of flooding and fire to maintain their open savanna structure. After several years without flooding due to drought, young pine and hardwoods begin to invade many sites. It remains to be seen if subsequent flooding in wetter years will eliminate them. Cypress savannas undoubtedly burned periodically under natural conditions, and this would have helped restrict the establishment of woody species. The frequency of natural burning is not known. Because the natural fire season was primarily in the summer when bays are often dry, cypress savannas may have burned fairly frequently. Peroni (1988) found that the physiognomy of cypress savannas had remained relatively constant for the past 50 years despite grazing and lack of fire.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale and A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 26Jan2005
Element Description Author(s): R.E. Evans and M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 21Apr2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. 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
  • Bennett, S. H., and J. B. Nelson. 1991. Distribution and status of Carolina bays in South Carolina. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Nongame and Heritage Trust Section, Columbia. 88 pp.

  • Carter, J. H., III. 1978. Reconnaissance surveys of Carolina bays. Report to North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

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

  • Nifong, T. D. 1982. The clay subsoil bays of North Carolina. Report to North Carolina Natural Heritage Program and North Carolina Nature Conservancy.

  • Peroni, P. A. 1988. A vegetation history of the North Carolina Nature Conservancy clay-based Carolina Bay Preserve with recommendations for future research. Report to North Carolina Nature Conservancy.

  • 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.

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


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