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Quercus rubra - (Quercus montana) / Vaccinium spp. / Deschampsia flexuosa Woodland
Translated Name: Northern Red Oak - (Chestnut Oak) / Blueberry species / Wavy Hairgrass Woodland
Common Name: Red Oak / Heath Woodland Rocky Summit
Unique Identifier: CEGL006134
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This dry, acidic oak woodland occurs on rocky upper slopes and summits from New England south to the highest peaks in West Virginia. Typical settings are low- to mid-elevation summits and south-facing, upper slopes. Elevations of known occurrences range from near sea level to about 610 m (0-2000 feet) in New England, and to 1370 m (4500 feet) in West Virginia. Soils are shallow, well-drained, acidic, nutrient-poor gravels and coarse sands, often with prominent exposed bedrock. Canopy cover is variable, ranging from open and patchy to closed depending on site conditions. It overtops a dwarf-shrub layer that is frequently extensive and a sparse tall-shrub layer. Herb cover is patchy and variable. Bryoid cover is minor, scattered patches on the rocky substrate. The canopy is dominated by scattered, often stunted Quercus rubra with minor associates depending on geography and often including Quercus velutina, Quercus montana, Betula populifolia, Betula papyrifera, Betula lenta, and Acer rubrum or Quercus coccinea in more coastal regions. Quercus rubra tends to be the only oak at the northern end of the range. Pinus strobus, Pinus rigida, or other conifers may be present, but only in minor amounts. The dwarf-shrub layer is strongly dominated by heaths, especially Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium myrtilloides, and Gaylussacia baccata with Gaylussacia frondosa, Comptonia peregrina, and Kalmia angustifolia also common. Tall shrubs may include Quercus ilicifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Amelanchier spp., and Prunus pensylvanica. The herbaceous layer is composed of Deschampsia flexuosa, Danthonia spicata, Carex lucorum, Pteridium aquilinum, Comandra umbellata, Melampyrum lineare, Polygala paucifolia, Epigaea repens, Gaultheria procumbens, and Aralia nudicaulis. The bryophyte layer includes Polytrichum commune, Leucobryum glaucum, and others.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

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 Appalachian Oak / Chestnut Forest
Alliance Northern Red Oak - Chestnut Oak Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL005101 (Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra) / Danthonia spicata Acidic Bedrock Scrub Grassland
CEGL006506 Quercus rubra - Acer rubrum - Betula spp. - Pinus strobus Ruderal Forest
CEGL006584 Betula alleghaniensis - Quercus rubra / Polypodium virginianum Talus Woodland
CEGL006585 Quercus rubra - Betula lenta / Polypodium virginianum Woodland



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
Connecticut Quercus velutina - Quercus prinus / Gaylussacia baccata community Broader   Metzler and Barrett 2001
Maine Oak - pine woodland Equivalent   Gawler 2002
Massachusetts Mixed Oak Forest/Woodland Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Dry Appalachian oak forest Intersects   Sperduto and Nichols 2004
New Hampshire Red oak - pine rocky ridge Finer   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Quercus rubra - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium spp. / Deschampsia flexuosa Woodland Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Appalachian oak-hickory forest Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
New York Chestnut oak forest Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Dry oak - heath woodland Broader Certain Fike 1999
Vermont Dry Oak Forest Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Northern Red Oak: 55
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.
Related Concept Name: Red oak woodlands
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: NAP [Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Working Group]. 1998. Northern Appalachian-Boreal Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Red oak-chestnut oak acid mid-high elevation, rocky slopes
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: SNE circumneutral rocky summit/rock outcrop community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.571 Northern Appalachian-Acadian Rocky Heath Outcrop
CES202.596 Central and Southern Appalachian Montane Oak Forest
CES202.600 Central Appalachian Pine-Oak Rocky Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (20May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: There are nearly 300 estimated occurrences of this vegetation rangewide, occupying over 3000 square km. However, threats to this association are many. Continued residential and commercial development, road construction, and lack of land-use planning will continue to decrease the amount of this vegetation if left unchecked. As a large-patch to matrix-forming vegetation type, one of the largest threats is fragmentation. In addition, repeated gypsy moth infestations can damage, if not destroy, this vegetation. Invasive species, however, are not generally a threat.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, VT
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This red oak woodland occurs on low- to mid-elevation summits and south-facing, steep upper slopes from New England south to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D 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: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Possible
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: Vermont-New Hampshire Upland Section
Section Code: M212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Adirondack Mountain Section
Section Code: M212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Catskill Mountain Section
Section Code: M212E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Tug Hill Plateau Section
Section Code: M212F Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
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: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy is dominated by scattered, often stunted Quercus rubra with minor associates depending on geography and often including Quercus velutina, Quercus montana (= Quercus prinus), Betula populifolia, Betula papyrifera, Betula lenta, and Acer rubrum with Quercus coccinea in more coastal regions. Pinus strobus, Pinus rigida, or other conifers may be present, but only in minor amounts. The dwarf-shrub layer is strongly dominated by heaths, especially Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium myrtilloides, and Gaylussacia baccata with Gaylussacia frondosa, Comptonia peregrina, and Kalmia angustifolia also common. Tall shrubs may include Quercus ilicifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Amelanchier spp., and Prunus pensylvanica. The herbaceous layer is composed of Deschampsia flexuosa, Danthonia spicata, Carex lucorum, Pteridium aquilinum, Comandra umbellata, Melampyrum lineare, Polygala paucifolia, Epigaea repens, Gaultheria procumbens, and Aralia nudicaulis. The bryophyte layer includes Polytrichum commune, Leucobryum glaucum, and others.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus rubra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus ilicifolia G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Gaylussacia baccata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Vaccinium angustifolium G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium myrtilloides G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Rumex acetosella G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pteridium aquilinum G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Poa compressa G4 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 

Vegetation Structure Summary: The open and patchy canopy overtops a sparse tall-shrub layer, and the dwarf-shrub layer is frequently extensive. Herb cover is patchy and variable. Bryoid cover is minor, with scattered patches on the rocky substrate.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This red oak woodland occurs on rocky upper slopes and summits from New England south to the highest peaks in West Virginia. Typical settings are low- to mid-elevation summits and south-facing, upper slopes. Elevations of known occurrences range from near sea level to about 610 m (0-2000 feet) in New England, and to 1370 m (4500 feet) in West Virginia. Soils are shallow, well-drained, acidic, nutrient-poor gravels and coarse sands, often with prominent exposed bedrock.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Droughty soils and increased light on the forest floor due to relatively open canopy allow drier species to predominate. Fire may be necessary to maintain Quercus rubra over time at more dry-mesic sites.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 25Oct2018
Element Description Author(s): S.C. Gawler, S.L. Neid 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
  • Breden, T. F., Y. R. Alger, K. S. Walz, and A. G. Windisch. 2001. Classification of vegetation communities of New Jersey: Second iteration. Association for Biodiversity Information and New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton.

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

  • 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. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

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

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P. 1985. A study of the dwarf pine forest and Carex polymorpha Muhl. on Panther Knob, West Virginia. Final report prepared for The Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Field Office. 149 pp.

  • Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Lubinski, S., K. Hop, and S. Gawler. 2003. Vegetation Mapping Program: Acadia National Park, Maine. Report produced by U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Maine Natural Areas Program in conjunction with M. Story (NPS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator) NPS, Natural Resources Information Division, Inventory and Monitoring Program, and K. Brown (USGS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator), USGS, Center for Biological Informatics and NatureServe. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/ftp/vegmapping/acad/reports/acadrpt.pdf]

  • Lundgren, J. 1999a. Lower New England - Northern Piedmont Ecoregion Forest Classification. December 1999 Draft. 63 pp.

  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford, CT.

  • NAP [Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Working Group]. 1998. Northern Appalachian-Boreal Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Northern Appalachian Ecology Working Group. 2000. Northern Appalachian / Boreal Ecoregion community classification (Review Draft). The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Conservation Science Center, Boston, MA. 117 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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.

  • Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.

  • Sechler, F. C., G. J. Edinger, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, L. A. Sneddon, C. Lea, and J. Von Loh. 2014. Vegetation classification and mapping at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, New York. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NETN/NRTR--2014/873, National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 392 pp.

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 pp.

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2014. Classification of the natural communities of Massachusetts. Version 2.0. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA. [http://www.mass.gov/nhesp/http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/natural-communities/classification-of-natural-communities.html]

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.


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