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Fagus grandifolia - Acer barbatum - Quercus muehlenbergii / Sanguinaria canadensis Forest
Translated Name: American Beech - Southern Sugar Maple - Chinquapin Oak / Bloodroot Forest
Common Name: Basic Mesic Ravine Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007181
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These rich mesophytic to submesophytic forests of calcareous ravines are found in the southeastern Virginia Coastal Plain and possibly the adjacent Piedmont. Habitats are north- to east-facing slopes and adjacent low interfluves downcut into Tertiary shell deposits or lime sands, including the Pliocene marine shell deposits of the calcium-rich Yorktown Formation. The canopies of stands of this association are typically dominated by variable combinations of Fagus grandifolia, Acer barbatum, Quercus rubra, Quercus muehlenbergii, Tilia americana var. americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Quercus alba. Although generally not as constant or abundant as Fagus grandifolia, Acer barbatum, and Quercus muehlenbergii occur in over two-thirds of the plot samples and are good diagnostic species. Characteristic or locally important understory species include Asimina triloba, Magnolia tripetala, Ulmus rubra, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Cornus alternifolia, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, and Carpinus caroliniana. Common herbs are Polystichum acrostichoides, Asarum canadense, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (= Hepatica americana), Arisaema triphyllum, Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Cardamine concatenata, Sanguinaria canadensis, Adiantum pedatum, Packera aurea (= Senecio aureus), and Luzula acuminata var. carolinae. The grass Brachyelytrum erectum is abundant and characteristic of more submesic habitats (e.g., convex north slopes) occupied by the type. Related vegetation occurs in the southern Piedmont of Virginia (Charlotte County).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification of this type is based on quantitative analysis of a 1250-plot regional dataset produced for the NCR and Mid-Atlantic National Parks vegetation mapping project. In this analysis, this association was represented by 22 plots from the southeastern Virginia Coastal Plain and was distinct from the related Fagus grandifolia - Liriodendron tulipifera - Carya cordiformis / Lindera benzoin / Podophyllum peltatum Forest (CEGL006055) of the adjacent Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain from central Virginia north to New Jersey. Forests of rich ravines of the southern Virginia Piedmont have similar canopies, but their understories are dominated by Aesculus sylvatica; based on limited data, these represent Fagus grandifolia - Quercus rubra / Aesculus sylvatica / Actaea racemosa - Adiantum pedatum Forest (CEGL008466). This association is mostly a small-patch vegetation type. See Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis / Bromus pubescens - Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Aquilegia canadensis Forest (CEGL007748) for related, more xerophytic forests of south-facing ravine slopes in the same region.

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-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest
Group Appalachian-Central Interior Mesic Forest
Alliance Piedmont-Ridge and Valley Beech - Red Oak Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006055 Fagus grandifolia - Liriodendron tulipifera - Carya cordiformis / Lindera benzoin / Podophyllum peltatum Forest
CEGL007748 Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis / Bromus pubescens - Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Aquilegia canadensis Forest
CEGL008466 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus rubra / Aesculus sylvatica / Actaea racemosa - Adiantum pedatum Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer barbatum - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus muehlenbergii / Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Acer barbatum - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus muhlenbergii / Polystichum acrostichoides - Hepatica americana Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Fagus grandifolia - Acer barbatum - Quercus muhlenbergii / Sanguinaria canadensis Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
Related Concept Name: Basic Mesic 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: Basic Mesic Forest, Coastal Plain Calcareous Ravine Type
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.069 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Calcareous Ravine
CES203.242 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2? (08Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This association is restricted to the southeastern Virginia Coastal Plain, on north- to east-facing slopes and adjacent low interfluves downcut into Tertiary shell deposits or limesands, including the Pliocene marine shell deposits of the calcium-rich Yorktown Formation. Many herbaceous species found in this association are either at or near their northern range limit or are disjunct from a primary range farther west. Some stands have been impacted by removal of more valuable timber species (e.g., Acer barbatum, Quercus alba, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus rubra). In addition, timber harvest degrades this community by allowing additional light and aggressive growth of invasive alien plants which thrive in well-lit, calcareous situations, including Lonicera japonica. A few examples are protected in Colonial National Park, Virginia, but others (including the best examples) are highly threatened by timber removal and development.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known from Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, and York counties and the City of Suffolk in southeastern Virginia.

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: The canopies of stands of this association are typically dominated by variable combinations of Fagus grandifolia, Acer barbatum, Quercus rubra, Quercus muehlenbergii, Tilia americana var. americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Quercus alba. Although generally not as constant or abundant as Fagus grandifolia, Acer barbatum, and Quercus muehlenbergii occur in more than two-thirds of the plot samples and are good diagnostic species. Characteristic or locally important understory species include Asimina triloba, Magnolia tripetala, Ulmus rubra, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Cornus alternifolia, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, and Carpinus caroliniana. Common herbs are Polystichum acrostichoides, Asarum canadense, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (= Hepatica americana), Arisaema triphyllum, Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Cardamine concatenata, Sanguinaria canadensis, Adiantum pedatum, Packera aurea (= Senecio aureus), and Luzula acuminata var. carolinae. The grass Brachyelytrum erectum is abundant and characteristic of more submesic habitats (e.g., convex north slopes) occupied by the type. A number of herbaceous species found in this association are either at or near their northern range limit or are disjunct from a primary range farther west. Species in this group include Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Malaxis spicata, Ponthieva racemosa, Panax quinquefolius, Actaea pachypoda, Solidago flexicaulis, Desmodium glutinosum, Mitella diphylla, Thalictrum dioicum, Prenanthes trifoliolata, Aralia racemosa, Scutellaria ovata, Deparia acrostichoides, and Diplazium pycnocarpon. More floristic information is available in Ware and Ware (1992).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer barbatum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Fagus grandifolia G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus muehlenbergii G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus rubra G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Asimina triloba G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Cercis canadensis var. canadensis G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Cornus alternifolia G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Magnolia tripetala G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Ulmus rubra G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy      
 
 
Ilex opaca var. opaca G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Actaea racemosa G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Arisaema triphyllum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Asarum canadense G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Cardamine concatenata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Packera aurea G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Sanguinaria canadensis G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Adiantum pedatum G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Polystichum acrostichoides G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Brachyelytrum erectum G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Luzula acuminata var. carolinae G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: These rich mesophytic to submesophytic forests of calcareous ravines are found in the southeastern Virginia Coastal Plain. Habitats are north- to east-facing slopes and adjacent low interfluves downcut into Tertiary shell deposits or limesands, including the Pliocene marine shell deposits of the calcium-rich Yorktown Formation. Soils are highly calcareous, with mean calcium levels >2200 ppm in 22 analyzed samples.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 23Jul2007
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming and L.A. Sneddon
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Feb2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): 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
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 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. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. 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, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/129. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 369 pp.

  • Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

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

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.

  • Ware, D. M. E., and S. Ware. 1992. An Acer barbatum-rich ravine forest community in the Virginia coastal plain. Castanea 57:110-122.


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