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Quercus rubra - (Quercus alba) / Ilex montana / Dennstaedtia punctilobula - Lysimachia quadrifolia Forest
Translated Name: Northern Red Oak - (White Oak) / Mountain Holly / Eastern Hay-scented Fern - Whorled Yellow Loosestrife Forest
Common Name: Central Appalachian Northern Red Oak Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL008506
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community type is known primarily from both the Northern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces in the southern part of the Central Appalachians. Stands are restricted to elevations above 915 m (3000 feet). Prevailing aspect varies, but most examples are located on gentle to only moderately steep ridge crests and upper slopes. Soils are frequently bouldery and moderately to strongly infertile, with low base status. Quercus rubra is the principal dominant species in the overstory, with Quercus alba as a frequent but usually low-cover associate, often in a subcanopy layer. Canopy trees often exhibit stunted growth and sparse cover; the stature of these so-called "red oak orchards" reflects the harsh conditions of frequent wind and destructive ice storms. The abundance of Castanea dentata in the understory suggests its former importance in stands of this type. In localized stands, Quercus velutina or Tsuga canadensis share overstory dominance with Quercus rubra. The shrub layer is generally sparse to patchy, although a less common variant contains a dense ericaceous shrub layer. Composition of the herb layer varies considerably and usually features patch-dominance by one or more ferns and graminoids.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The most constant (>60%) woody species in 53 samples classified as this association, in order of descending constancy, are Quercus rubra, Acer pensylvanicum, Ilex montana, Prunus serotina var. serotina, Betula lenta, Quercus alba, Kalmia latifolia, Castanea dentata, and Hamamelis virginiana. The most constant herbaceous species are Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Dioscorea quaternata, Carex pensylvanica, Prenanthes altissima, and Solidago curtisii.

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 Montane Oak Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007300 Quercus rubra / (Vaccinium simulatum, Rhododendron calendulaceum) / (Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Thelypteris noveboracensis) Forest
CEGL008518 Quercus rubra - Carya ovata - Fraxinus americana / Actaea racemosa - Hydrophyllum virginianum Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus rubra - Quercus alba / Ilex montana / Dennstaedtia punctilobula - Carex pensylvanica - Deschampsia flexuosa 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 rubra - Quercus alba / Rhododendron prinophyllum - Ilex montana / Calamagrostis porteri 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: Quercus rubra / Ilex montana - Menziesia pilosa / Dennstaedtia punctilobula 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: Quercus rubra / Ilex montana / Dennstaedtia punctilobula - Melanthium parviflorum Association, pro parte
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: Northern Red Oak 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: 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.596 Central and Southern Appalachian Montane Oak Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (24Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This type appears to be limited to a small geographic area of approximately 16 counties and approximately 20,000 square kilometers in northwestern Virginia and adjacent West Virginia. Within that region, it is restricted to the highest ridges, where habitats are patchy. If this type is found to be more widespread in West Virginia, Maryland, and/or Pennsylvania, a revision of the global rank may be warranted.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type appears to be limited to a small geographic area of approximately 16 counties and approximately 20,000 square kilometers in northwestern Virginia and adjacent West Virginia. Within that region, it is restricted to the highest ridges, where habitats are patchy. If this type is found to be more widespread in West Virginia, Maryland, and/or Pennsylvania, a revision of the global rank may be warranted.

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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Quercus rubra is the principal dominant species in the overstory, with Quercus alba as a frequent but usually low-cover associate, often in a subcanopy layer. Many stands have a stunted, somewhat open canopy. The abundance of Castanea dentata in the understory suggests its former importance in stands of this type. Tree associates in the canopy and subcanopy can include Acer rubrum, Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Prunus serotina, Tsuga canadensis, Quercus velutina, and Quercus prinus, which is mostly restricted to elevations lower than those at which this type prevails. The shrub layer is generally sparse to patchy; Acer pensylvanicum, Ilex montana, Kalmia latifolia, Castanea dentata, and Hamamelis virginiana are the most frequent species. Other tall shrubs occurring with lower cover and/or frequency include Ribes rotundifolium, Rubus allegheniensis, Rhododendron prinophyllum, Corylus cornuta var. cornuta, and Prunus virginiana. Vaccinium pallidum and Vaccinium stamineum are infrequent low shrubs, but sometimes comprise 10% or more of the herb layer. An uncommon variant of this community type, usually occupying sharply convex landforms with soils shallow to bedrock, contains a dense shrub layer composed largely of Kalmia latifolia. Herbaceous composition varies considerably and usually features patch-dominance by one or more of the following: Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Carex pensylvanica, Lysimachia quadrifolia, and Deschampsia flexuosa. Calamagrostis porteri is a patch-dominant grass in a very small percentage of stands. Other characteristic herbs of this community are Ageratina altissima, Agrostis perennans, Amianthium muscitoxicum, Aralia nudicaulis, Asclepias exaltata, Dioscorea quaternata, Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Hieracium paniculatum, Maianthemum canadense, Pedicularis canadensis, Potentilla canadensis, Prenanthes altissima, Prenanthes trifoliolata, Smilax herbacea, Solidago arguta var. arguta, and Solidago curtisii. Many additional herbs occur at low cover and constancy. Species richness of plot-sampled stands ranges from 13 to 62 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 40).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus rubra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus alba G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Acer pensylvanicum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Castanea dentata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ilex montana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Corylus cornuta G3 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Hamamelis virginiana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Aconitum reclinatum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Amianthium muscitoxicum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Gentiana austromontana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lysimachia quadrifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Dennstaedtia punctilobula G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Poa saltuensis G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aconitum reclinatum
  (White Monkshood)
G3  
Gentiana austromontana
  (Appalachian Gentian)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Stands are primarily restricted to elevations above 915 m (3000 feet). Prevailing aspect varies, but most examples are located on gentle to only moderately steep ridge crests and upper slopes. Soils are frequently bouldery and moderately to strongly infertile, with low base status. In the Blue Ridge, stands are underlain by mafic and felsic parent material, including metabasalt, layered pyroxene granulite, charnockite, and charnockite gneiss. The Ridge and Valley stands occur on a complex of clastic sedimentary and metasedimentary formations. Most stands likely experience frequent high winds and ice damage. The composition and structure of nearly all examples of this community type in Virginia have been altered by logging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and by the loss of Castanea dentata as an important component in the 1930s.


Dynamic Processes


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: 24Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming and K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming

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


References
  • 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., 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., 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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