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Picea mariana - Picea rubens / Pleurozium schreberi Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Black Spruce - Red Spruce / Schreber's Big Red-stem Moss Swamp Forest
Common Name: Northern Spruce - Fir Flats
Unique Identifier: CEGL006361
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This closed-canopy spruce-fir forest occurs in northern New England on imperfectly drained flats or stream drainages, often where cold air accumulates. This association is typically found along streams, swamp borders, low flats alongside lakes, or adjacent to boreal heathlands. Soils are acidic silts, loams, or sandy loams and imperfectly drained. In most settings they are seasonally wet; some may remain saturated. Only rarely are they peaty. The canopy is generally closed, but blowdown gaps are common. The dominant understory feature is the extensive bryoid layer. Shrubs are sparse, except in gaps. Herbs are well represented although rarely dense. The canopy is dominated by some combination of Picea rubens, Picea mariana, and Abies balsamea. Associates include Betula alleghaniensis, Abies balsamea, Acer rubrum, or Thuja occidentalis. In the southern portion of this type's range, Tsuga canadensis and Prunus serotina may be present in the canopy. Characteristic shrubs include Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Kalmia angustifolia, Amelanchier bartramiana, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Vaccinium myrtilloides. The herbaceous layer is characterized by Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda claytoniana, Gaultheria hispidula, Maianthemum canadense, Cornus canadensis, Coptis trifolia, Clintonia borealis, and Dalibarda repens. A well-developed bryophyte layer is characteristic of this association and includes Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Bazzania trilobata, and species of Sphagnum.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is differentiated by the characteristic presence of Picea rubens, Amelanchier bartramiana, and Dalibarda repens. Black spruce - red spruce flats with a woodland canopy and a well-developed heath shrub layer are differentiated as spruce - heath barrens, Picea mariana - Picea rubens / Rhododendron canadense / Cladonia spp. Swamp Woodland (CEGL006421).

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.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Laurentian-Acadian Flooded & Swamp Forest
Group Laurentian-Acadian Acidic Swamp
Alliance Northern Appalachian Red Spruce Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002447 Picea mariana / Pleurozium schreberi Forest
CEGL006312 Picea rubens - Abies balsamea / Gaultheria hispidula / Osmunda cinnamomea / Sphagnum spp. Swamp 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
Maine Spruce - fir - cinnamon fern forest Broader   Gawler 2002
New Hampshire Montane black spruce - red spruce forest Equivalent   Sperduto 2000
New York Balsam flats Intersects   Edinger et al. 2002
New York Spruce flats Intersects   Edinger et al. 2002
Vermont Lowland Spruce-Fir Forest Intersects   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Black Spruce (eastern type): 12
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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: Spruce Flat
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Oosting, H. J., and J. F. Reed. 1944. Ecological composition of pulpwood forests in northwestern Maine. American Midland Naturalist 31:182-210.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.562 Acadian Sub-boreal Spruce Flat
CES201.565 Acadian Low-Elevation Spruce-Fir-Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, NH, NY, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: NB, ON, QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This spruce forest occurs in northern New England.

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: Aroostook Hills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lake Superior Section
Section Code: 212I Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Northern Superior Uplands Section
Section Code: 212L Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Minnesota and Ontario Section
Section Code: 212M Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section
Section Code: 212N 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: White Mountain Section
Section Code: M212A 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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy is generally closed, but blowdown gaps are common. The dominant understory feature is the extensive bryoid layer. Shrubs are sparse, except in gaps. Herbs are well-represented although rarely dense. The canopy is dominated by some combination of Picea rubens, Picea mariana, and Abies balsamea. Associates include Betula alleghaniensis, Abies balsamea, Acer rubrum, or Thuja occidentalis. In the southern portion of this type's range, Tsuga canadensis and Prunus serotina may be present in the canopy. Characteristic shrubs include Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (= Viburnum cassinoides), Kalmia angustifolia, Amelanchier bartramiana, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Vaccinium myrtilloides. The herbaceous layer is characterized by Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda claytoniana, Gaultheria hispidula, Maianthemum canadense, Cornus canadensis, Coptis trifolia, Clintonia borealis, and Dalibarda repens. A well-developed bryophyte layer is characteristic of this association and includes Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Ptilium crista-castrensis, Bazzania trilobata, and species of Sphagnum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies balsamea GNR Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea mariana GNR Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Picea rubens GNR Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pleurozium schreberi GNR Moss Nonvascular  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This closed-canopy spruce-fir forest occurs in northern New England on imperfectly drained flats or stream drainages, often where cold air accumulates. This association is typically found along streams, swamp borders, low flats alongside lakes, or adjacent to boreal heathlands. Soils are acidic silts, loams, or sandy loams and imperfectly drained. In most settings they are seasonally wet; some may remain saturated. Only rarely are they peaty.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon, K. Metzler, and M. Anderson
Element Description Edition Date: 24Jan2003
Element Description Author(s): S.C. Gawler

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


References
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.

  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

  • Cogbill, C. V., and P. S. White. 1991. The latitude-elevation relationship for spruce-fir forest and treeline along the Appalachian mountain chain. Vegetatio 94:153-175.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Heimburger, C. C. 1934. Forest type studies in the Adirondack region. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station Memorandum 165:1-122.

  • Oosting, H. J., and J. F. Reed. 1944. Ecological composition of pulpwood forests in northwestern Maine. American Midland Naturalist 31:182-210.

  • Pease, A. S. 1964. A flora of northern New Hampshire. New England Botanical Club, Cambridge, MA. 278 pp.

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Royte, J. L., D. D. Sperduto, and J. P. Lortie. 1996. Botanical reconnaissance of Nancy Brook Research Natural Area. General Technical Report NE-216. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Radnor, PA. 23 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.

  • 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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