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Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos / Leucothoe racemosa Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Sweetgum - Red Maple - Willow Oak / Swamp Doghobble Swamp Forest
Common Name: Sweetgum - Red Maple Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006110
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is a seasonally flooded forest of shallow basins and other depressions of the Coastal Plain of the Chesapeake Bay region. The substrate is characterized by mineral soils, generally acidic, gleyed to mottled, sandy or clay loams. Characteristic tree species include Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Nyssa sylvatica, which are nearly constant in the canopy. Associates include Ilex opaca, Magnolia virginiana, Nyssa biflora, Sassafras albidum, Quercus palustris, Pinus taeda, and Quercus phellos, and occasionally Quercus falcata, Quercus lyrata, or Betula nigra. The shrub layer is characterized by Leucothoe racemosa, Vaccinium corymbosum, Clethra alnifolia, Lindera benzoin, Ilex verticillata, and Rhododendron viscosum. Smilax rotundifolia is a particularly characteristic vine. The herbaceous layer is generally sparse but may include Mitchella repens, Osmunda cinnamomea, Chasmanthium laxum, Woodwardia areolata, Onoclea sensibilis, Osmunda regalis, Carex albolutescens, Carex debilis var. debilis, Scirpus cyperinus, Juncus effusus, and Polygonum spp. Carex joorii is inconstant but locally abundant in some stands in the southern part of the range.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification of this type is supported by two regional analyses of Maryland and Virginia plot data conducted by VDNH for the NCR vegetation mapping project. It is represented by 15 plots from the greater NCR region and an additional 57 plots from The Peninsula in York County, Virginia (Grafton Ponds complex). Delaware examples contain Quercus spp. and Magnolia virginiana. In Maryland, Clethra alnifolia is more prominent than Leucothoe racemosa, and Quercus phellos is less characteristic than Nyssa sylvatica.

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 Basin Swamp & Flatwoods
Group Coastal Plain Hardwood Basin Swamp
Alliance Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain Sweetgum Depression Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004644 Quercus (phellos, michauxii) / Ilex opaca var. opaca / Clethra alnifolia / Woodwardia areolata Wet Forest
CEGL006240 Quercus palustris - (Quercus bicolor) - Acer rubrum / Vaccinium corymbosum / Osmunda cinnamomea Wet Forest
CEGL007403 Quercus phellos / Carex (albolutescens, intumescens, joorii) / Climacium americanum Wet 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
Delaware Red Maple-Sweetgum Swamp Broader   Coxe 2009
Maryland Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos / Leucothoe racemosa Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New Jersey Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos / Leucothoe racemosa Forest Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Red maple-sweetgum swamp Equivalent   Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Sweetgum - Willow Oak Coastal Plain Palustrine Forest Equivalent   Fike 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua - (Quercus phellos) / Vaccinium corymbosum 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.
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 rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua - Nyssa sylvatica Swamp Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Acer rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua / Leucothoe racemosa Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sneddon, L. A., and M. G. Anderson. 1994. A classification scheme for Coastal Plain pondshore and related vegetation from Maine to Virginia. Supplement to Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 77 (Abstract).
Related Concept Name: Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos - Liquidambar styraciflua / Leucothoe racemosa Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sneddon, L., M. Anderson, and K. Metzler. 1996. Community alliances and elements of the Eastern Region. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Heritage Task Force, Boston, MA. 235 pp.
Related Concept Name: Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Quercus phellos / Leucothoe racemosa 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.
Related Concept Name: Liquidambar-Acer hardwood swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pinus taeda - Quercus phellos / Ilex opaca / Chasmanthium laxum Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Rawinski, T. J. 1997. Vegetation ecology of the Grafton Ponds, York County, Virginia, with notes on waterfowl use. Natural Heritage Technical Report 97-10. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 42 pp. plus appendix.
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos - Acer rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua / Vaccinium (corymbosum, formosum, fuscatum) Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
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]
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain Depression Wetland
Relationship: B - Broader
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]
Related Concept Name: Red Maple - Sweetgum Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Hunt, D. 1998. Official NY designation of red maple - sweetgum swamp community. Unpublished memorandum. New York Natural Heritage Program, Latham, NY. 1 p. plus attachments.
Related Concept Name: Sweet Gum - Red Maple - Mid-successional Forest (LA2)
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Sweet Gum - Red Maple - Willow Oak - Holly Palustrine Forest (LA1)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Sweetgum - Red Maple Depression Swamp
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.
Related Concept Name: Upland Depression Swamp
Relationship: B - Broader
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.070 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Riparian and Floodplain
CES203.518 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Pond
CES203.520 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Basin Swamp and Wet Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (06Jan2012)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association occurs naturally in small patches and is restricted to southeastern New York, and the coastal plain of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The New York Natural Heritage Program notes that the acreage of this type likely declined from historical numbers as a result of increasing development and agriculture. The principal causes of wetland loss in the Northeast prior to the mid-1800s include conversion of wetlands to agriculture, the construction of impoundments for hydropower and water supply, and the cutting of swamp timber for lumber, fence posts, and fuel wood (Golet et al. 1993). Extensive historical extirpation of red maple-sweetgum swamps has been cited by Stevens (1992). More wetlands are being drained and filled for development as undeveloped uplands in the metropolitan New York City area have become very scarce. Reportedly, no old-growth examples remain north of Richmond County (Stevens 1992). The Virginia Natural Heritage Program has observed that although occurrences are fairly numerous, they are small and widely degraded by ditching and draining, clearcutting, and outright clearing and conversion to agriculture. This type may actually be more threatened by these kinds of disturbances than more deeply flooded depressions (e.g., CEGL006223 or CEGL006242) because they are drier and easier to drain. In addition, willow oaks attain great size in these habitats and are prime targets for logging (G. Fleming pers. comm. 2011).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is a seasonally flooded forest of shallow basins and depressions in the mid-Atlantic region. It is primarily associated with the Coastal Plain but occurs locally in gentle, highly acidic terrain of the eastern Piedmont in central and southern Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A 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: Characteristic tree species include Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Nyssa sylvatica, which are nearly constant in the canopy. Quercus phellos is an important associate or codominant in many stands. Other associates include Ilex opaca, Magnolia virginiana, Nyssa biflora, Sassafras albidum, Quercus palustris, Pinus taeda, and occasionally Quercus falcata, Quercus lyrata, or Betula nigra. The shrub layer is characterized by Leucothoe racemosa, Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium fuscatum, Vaccinium formosum, Clethra alnifolia, Lindera benzoin, Ilex verticillata, and Rhododendron viscosum. Smilax rotundifolia is a particularly characteristic vine, often forming dense tangles among the shrubs. The herbaceous layer is generally sparse but may include Mitchella repens, Osmunda cinnamomea, Chasmanthium laxum, Woodwardia areolata, Onoclea sensibilis, Osmunda regalis, Carex albolutescens, Carex debilis var. debilis, Scirpus cyperinus, Juncus effusus, and Polygonum spp. Carex joorii is inconstant but locally abundant in some stands in the southern part of the range.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This type occurs in seasonally flooded shallow basins or depressions. Substrates are acidic, gleyed to mottled, sandy or clay loams. Sites are commonly flooded by perched groundwater to depths up to about 50 cm during the winter and early part of the growing season, but commonly are drawn down by late summer. Soils collected from 12 Virginia plot samples were extremely acidic (mean pH = 4.1) with very low cation levels and total base saturation.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
Element Description Edition Date: 15Feb2007
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon, E. Largay and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Jan2012
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
  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.

  • 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.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • 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. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • 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, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

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

  • Golet, F. C., A. J. K. Calhoun, W. R. DeRagon, D. J. Lowry, and A. J. Gold. 1993. Ecology of red maple swamps in the glaciated Northeast: A community profile. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, DC. 151 pp.

  • 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.

  • Hunt, D. 1998. Official NY designation of red maple - sweetgum swamp community. Unpublished memorandum. New York Natural Heritage Program, Latham, NY. 1 p. plus attachments.

  • Lea, C., L. A. Sneddon, and E. Eastman. 2012. Vegetation classification and mapping at Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Maryland. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2012/550. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • McCoy, K. M., and G. P. Fleming. 2000. Ecological communities of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Army. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 156 pp. plus appendices.

  • NatureServe. 2009. Vegetation of the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. International Ecological Classification Standard: Terrestrial Ecological Classifications. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, VA. U.S.A. Data current as of 1 December 2009.

  • 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, K. D. 2008e. Vegetation classification and mapping at Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/127. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 235 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1997. Vegetation ecology of the Grafton Ponds, York County, Virginia, with notes on waterfowl use. Natural Heritage Technical Report 97-10. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 42 pp. plus appendix.

  • Rhoads, A. F., and T. A. Block. 2011a. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Sweetgum - Willow Oak Coastal Plain Palustrine Forest Factsheet. Morris Arboretum. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30025] (accessed January 31, 2012)

  • Sneddon, L. A., and M. G. Anderson. 1994. A classification scheme for Coastal Plain pondshore and related vegetation from Maine to Virginia. Supplement to Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 77 (Abstract).

  • Sneddon, L., M. Anderson, and K. Metzler. 1996. Community alliances and elements of the Eastern Region. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Heritage Task Force, Boston, MA. 235 pp.

  • Stevens, G. 1992. Assessment of wetland delineation on the Great Sweet-gum Swamp Site, Village of Scarsdale, NY. Unpublished report. Hudsonia Ltd., Annandale, NY. June 30. 12 pp.

  • Taverna, K. and K. D. Patterson. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2008/126. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 277 pp.

  • 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.

  • Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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