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Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Carex pensylvanica - (Calamagrostis porteri) Forest
Translated Name: Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak - Red Hickory / Pennsylvania Sedge - (Porter's Reedgrass) Forest
Common Name: Central Appalachian Montane Oak - Hickory Forest (Acidic Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL008516
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is currently known from the southern part of the Central Appalachians, on the northern Virginia Blue Ridge and higher ridges of the Ridge and Valley in western Virginia and adjacent West Virginia. Occurrences in western Maryland and central and western Pennsylvania should be sought. This association usually occupies middle to upper slopes and narrow ridge crests underlain by various sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including sandstone, quartzite, siltstone, metasiltstone, phyllite, acidic shale, and rarely amphibolite. Among 53 Virginia plot samples, elevation ranges from 550-1270 m (2000-4160 feet), but the type is most common between 760 and 1100 m (2500-3600 feet). The moisture potential of plot-sampling sites was assessed as submesic or subxeric. Slopes vary from steep to sublevel, with aspects ranging from northeast to west. This association has an open, mixed canopy dominated by several oaks and hickories. Trees tend to be slightly stunted (often <20 m tall) on the drier and more exposed sites. Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, and Carya ovalis are the most abundant canopy species, but Quercus alba is a constant minor associate that becomes more abundant and replaces Quercus prinus at the highest elevations. Carya ovata, Carya glabra, Fraxinus americana, and Quercus velutina are minor overstory associates. The subcanopy tends to be strongly dominated by Carya ovalis. Lower understory layers tend to be open or sparse with scattered Ostrya virginiana, Crataegus macrosperma, Amelanchier arborea, Acer pensylvanicum, and tree saplings. Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Rosa carolina, and Spiraea betulifolia var. corymbosa commonly form a patchy low-shrub layer. The herb layer is open but moderately diverse with drought-tolerant graminoids and forbs.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Although it has a similar canopy, this association differs significantly from Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus - Carya ovalis / (Cercis canadensis) / Solidago caesia Forest (CEGL008514) in its understory and herbaceous composition. It occupies drier, steeper sites and lacks (or nearly so) many characteristic low-elevation and mesophytic species of CEGL008514, e.g., Liriodendron tulipifera, Quercus alba, Cercis canadensis, Asimina triloba, Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Solidago caesia, Desmodium glutinosum, etc. Conversely, this type contains a number of montane and xerophytic species that are absent or unimportant in CEGL008514. This type occurs in the same region, at similar elevations, and on similar topographic positions as Quercus rubra - Carya ovata - Fraxinus americana / Actaea racemosa - Hydrophyllum virginianum Forest (CEGL008518). The latter, however, is associated with richer, more mesic, deeper-soiled sites over calcareous and mafic rocks. Its herb layer contrasts sharply with the dry, graminoid-dominated herb layer of this association (CEGL008516) in being dominated by large, leafy, nutrient-demanding forbs.

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 Oak - Hickory Forest & Woodland
Alliance Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006216 Quercus alba - Carya glabra - Fraxinus americana / Muhlenbergia sobolifera - Elymus hystrix Forest
CEGL006301 Quercus rubra - Carya (glabra, ovata) / Ostrya virginiana / Carex lucorum Forest
CEGL008514 Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus - Carya ovalis / (Cercis canadensis) / Solidago caesia Forest
CEGL008515 Quercus alba - Quercus prinus - Carya glabra / Cornus florida / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
CEGL008518 Quercus rubra - Carya ovata - Fraxinus americana / Actaea racemosa - Hydrophyllum virginianum Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer saccharum - Carya glabra - Ostrya virginiana Alliance: Quercus alba - Carya ovata / Carex pensylvanica - Carex woodii Association
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Elymus hystrix Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus montana - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Vaccinium stamineum / Solidago ulmifolia Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2007a. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report, volume 1.1. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 103 pp. plus appendices and GIS products.
Related Concept Name: Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Cornus florida / Desmodium nudiflorum Association: Helianthus divaricatus - Carex pensylvanica - Dichanthelium boscii - Arabis laevigata Subassociation, pro parte
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Solidago (ulmifolia, arguta) - Galium latifolium 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.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Quercus rubra - Quercus alba - Carya (ovata, ovalis) / Ostrya virginiana / Carex pensylvanica Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Mixed Oak / Oak - Hickory 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.
Related Concept Name: White Oak - Black Oak - Northern Red Oak: 52
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.592 Northeastern Interior Dry-Mesic Oak Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (23Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Although currently known from a relatively small geographic range, this community type covers substantial areas at low to middle elevations of both the Northern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MDpotentially occurs, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is currently known from the southern part of the Central Appalachians, on the northern Virginia Blue Ridge and higher ridges of the Ridge and Valley in western Virginia and adjacent West Virginia. A few small occurrences have been documented on the northern edges of both the Southern Blue Ridge and Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley ecoregions. Occurrences in western Maryland and central and western Pennsylvania should be sought. Within the known range, this unit can be a large-patch community type in localities of optimal habitat.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association has an open, mixed canopy dominated by several oaks and hickories. Trees tend to be slightly stunted (often <20 m tall) on the drier and more exposed sites. Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, and Carya ovalis are the most abundant canopy species, but Quercus alba is a constant minor associate that becomes more abundant and replaces Quercus prinus at the highest elevations. Carya ovata, Carya glabra, Fraxinus americana, and Quercus velutina are minor overstory associates. The subcanopy tends to be strongly dominated by Carya ovalis. Lower understory layers tend to be open or sparse with scattered Ostrya virginiana, Crataegus macrosperma, Amelanchier arborea, Acer pensylvanicum, and tree saplings. Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Rosa carolina, and Spiraea betulifolia var. corymbosa commonly form a patchy low-shrub layer. The herb layer is open but moderately diverse with drought-tolerant graminoids and forbs. Many stands have strong patch-dominance by sedges and grasses, among which the most important species are Carex pensylvanica, Calamagrostis porteri, Dichanthelium boscii, Festuca subverticillata, and Deschampsia flexuosa. Among the most abundant forbs are Ageratina altissima var. altissima, Solidago ulmifolia, Solidago arguta var. arguta, Houstonia longifolia, Uvularia perfoliata, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Paronychia canadensis, and Galium latifolium. Forbs tend to be patchy or scattered but may dominate on straight or concave slopes. Additional herbs occurring more-or-less frequently include Symphyotrichum undulatum (= Aster undulatus), Eurybia macrophylla (= Aster macrophyllus), Agrostis perennans, Helianthus divaricatus, Heuchera americana, Scrophularia lanceolata, Doellingeria infirma (= Aster infirmus), Eupatorium sessilifolium, Asclepias quadrifolia, Penstemon canescens, Arabis laevigata, Cunila origanoides, Carex virescens, Silene stellata, Carex laxiflora, Pycnanthemum incanum, Potentilla canadensis, Polygonum scandens var. cristatum, Vicia caroliniana, Carex cephalophora, Galium circaezans, Bromus pubescens, and Danthonia spicata. Many other herbs occur at low constancy and cover. Species richness of 53 plot-sampled stands ranges from 30 to 103 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 62).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya ovalis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Carya ovata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus rubra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer pensylvanicum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Acer rubrum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Ostrya virginiana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Vaccinium stamineum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Galium latifolium G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Helianthus divaricatus G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Heuchera caroliniana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Houstonia longifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Penstemon canescens G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Phlox buckleyi G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Scrophularia lanceolata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago arguta G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago ulmifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus trachycaulus G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Heuchera caroliniana
  (Carolina Alumroot)
G3  
Phlox buckleyi
  (Swordleaf Phlox)
G2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Occurrences are strongly associated with middle- to higher-elevation upper slopes and ridge crests underlain by various sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including sandstone, quartzite, siltstone, metasiltstone, phyllite, acidic shale, and rarely amphibolite. Among 54 Virginia plot samples, elevation ranges from 550-1270 m (1800-4160 feet), but the type is most common between 760 and 1100 m (2500-3600 feet). The type usually occupies middle to upper slopes and narrow ridge crests. The moisture potential of plot-sampling sites was assessed as submesic or subxeric. Slopes tend to be convex and vary from steep to sublevel (mean = 16), with aspects ranging from northeast to west. Surface cover of outcrops and boulders averages about 5%, and loose channery is abundant at sites underlain by siltstone, metasiltstone, and shale. Substantial areas of exposed mineral soil are often present. Soil samples collected from plots are strongly to extremely acidic, with moderately low base cation levels, except manganese.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Fire (at least historically), windthrow, ice storms, herbivory by white-tailed deer, and periodic drought stress are natural disturbances that probably influence this community type. The frequent structure exhibited by this association (open understory and dense graminoid herb layer) could possibly be an artifact of frequent historical fires and/or livestock grazing, but such disturbances ceased a considerable time ago on most sites. Oak recruitment is generally poor on most sites, but hickory recruitment is abundant. On the more mesic sites (concave slopes, etc.), the understory often contains Acer rubrum and other shade-tolerant mesophytic trees, which have probably invaded following a period of fire exclusion.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming, mod. G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 23Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming and P.P. Coulling

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


References
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • 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.

  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2007a. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report, volume 1.1. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 103 pp. plus appendices and GIS products.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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