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Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia / Magnolia virginiana / Carex lonchocarpa Wet Forest
Translated Name: Sweetgum - Laurel Oak / Sweetbay / Southern Long Sedge Wet Forest
Common Name: Sweetgum Seepage Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004631
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These forests occur on flat, low seepage areas in the Southeastern Coastal Plain. The soil is a very poorly drained clay loam with organic material or peat development. This environment is nearly constantly saturated, but it is only rarely flooded. These forests have well-developed canopy, subcanopy, shrub, herbaceous, and vine/liana strata. The canopy is dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus laurifolia, and Acer rubrum. These species are dominant in the subcanopy as well, along with Magnolia virginiana, Ilex opaca var. opaca, and Carpinus caroliniana. Other species that may be present in these strata include Ulmus americana, Ulmus alata, and Salix nigra. The shrub layer contains Acer rubrum, Magnolia virginiana, Ilex decidua, Arundinaria gigantea, and other species. Herbaceous dominants include Saururus cernuus, Carex debilis, Carex intumescens, Carex lonchocarpa, Dichanthelium sp., and Hypericum sp. Other herbaceous species of this community are Asclepias perennis, Boehmeria cylindrica, Onoclea sensibilis, Viola affinis, Viola x primulifolia, Commelina communis, Mitchella repens, Leersia lenticularis, and others. This community currently is known only from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The relationship of examples of this association to Liquidambar-dominated successional examples of Nyssa-dominated seepage forests is not completely clear. Nyssa is not particularly commercially valuable, so its removal (unless to effect clearing for attempted agriculture) does not seem logical. Small-scale examples of related vegetation (e.g., seepage forest dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua) have been encountered at Fort Benning, Georgia (Training Compartments G4, G7) (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data); it is not sure how these should be accommodated, as they seem successional. Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia / Magnolia virginiana / Carex lonchocarpa Wet Forest (CEGL004631) was described in 1998 based on data from the Congaree Swamp National Monument (TNC 1998b). Global range needs assessment. Nominal Carex changed to Carex lonchocarpa (= Carex folliculata var. australis).

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 Hardwood - Loblolly Pine Nonriverine Wet Flatwoods
Alliance Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Wet Flatwoods Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007449 Quercus michauxii - Quercus pagoda / Clethra alnifolia - Leucothoe axillaris Wet Flatwoods Forest
CEGL007737 Quercus michauxii / Carpinus caroliniana - Ilex opaca / Leucothoe racemosa Floodplain Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Thompson, A. J. 1998. An ecological inventory and classification of an old-growth floodplain forest in the southeastern United States. M.S. thesis, University of Georgia, Athens. 111 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.505 Southern Coastal Plain Seepage Swamp and Baygall


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (15Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This forest type occurs in a specialized environment and may always have been somewhat limited in its distribution and its frequency on the landscape. It is restricted to low, flat, seepage areas in the Atlantic and adjacent East Gulf coastal plains, in an environment that is nearly constantly saturated but only rarely flooded. Occurrences are vulnerable to changes in hydrology or to the effects of timber removal. Some unprotected stands have been impacted by removal of more valuable timber species and the loss of herbaceous species diversity by the disturbance effects of logging. An outstanding example would need to be well-situated in a matrix of upland and bottomland hardwood forest, and well-buffered from disturbances or hydrologic alterations. Some examples are conserved in the Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NCpotentially occurs, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This seepage forest community is currently known only from the Atlantic and adjacent East Gulf coastal plains of the southeastern United States.

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 canopy of this seepage forest is dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus laurifolia, and Acer rubrum. These species are dominant in the subcanopy as well, along with Magnolia virginiana, Ilex opaca, and Carpinus caroliniana. Other species that may be present in these strata include Ulmus americana, Ulmus alata, and Salix nigra. The shrub layer contains Acer rubrum, Magnolia virginiana, Ilex decidua, Arundinaria gigantea, and other species. Herbaceous dominants include Saururus cernuus, Carex debilis, Carex intumescens, Carex lonchocarpa, Dichanthelium sp., and Hypericum sp. Other herbaceous species of this community are Asclepias perennis, Boehmeria cylindrica, Onoclea sensibilis, Viola affinis, Viola x primulifolia, Commelina communis, Mitchella repens, Leersia lenticularis, and others (TNC 1998b).

Apparently related vegetation has been encountered at Fort Benning, Georgia (G4, G7). One of these stands is apparently (winter data) dominated by Liquidambar styraciflua and Liriodendron tulipifera with some Magnolia virginiana and Acer rubrum (in the subcanopy). Shrubs include Ilex opaca, Cyrilla racemiflora, Itea virginica, and Viburnum nudum. In addition, Woodwardia areolata is present in the herbaceous stratum.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: These forests occur on flat, low seepage areas in the Atlantic and adjacent East Gulf coastal plains of the southeastern United States. The soil is a very poorly drained clay loam with organic matter or peat development (TNC 1998b). This environment is nearly constantly saturated but is only rarely flooded. At Fort Benning, Georgia (East Gulf Coastal Plain), it is not entirely clear what the origin of this vegetation is, and whether or not it represents a disturbed or early-successional example of what could be a Nyssa-dominated seepage forest.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley and M.P. Schafale, mod. S. Landaal
Element Description Edition Date: 26Nov1997
Element Description Author(s): S. Landaal
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Oct2002
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
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. [1998]b. Classification of the vegetation of Congaree Swamp National Monument. Report to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Southern Conservation Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 67 pp.

  • Thompson, A. J. 1998. An ecological inventory and classification of an old-growth floodplain forest in the southeastern United States. M.S. thesis, University of Georgia, Athens. 111 pp.


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