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Betula alleghaniensis - Fagus grandifolia / Viburnum lantanoides / Eurybia chlorolepis - Dryopteris intermedia Forest
Translated Name: Yellow Birch - American Beech / Hobblebush / Appalachian Heartleaf Aster - Intermediate Woodfern Forest
Common Name: Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest (Typic Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL007285
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a broadly defined association meant to cover typical "northern hardwood forests" over 1220 m (4000 feet) elevation of the Southern Blue Ridge and the highest adjacent ridges of the Virginia Ridge and Valley. This deciduous forest association occurs on exposed landforms such as open, north-facing slopes. The canopy is dominated by various mixtures of Betula alleghaniensis, Fagus grandifolia, and sometimes Aesculus flava. In the northern part of the range, Acer saccharum can codominate in the canopy. Other canopy trees may be present but are of minor importance (e.g., Prunus serotina, Quercus rubra, Halesia tetraptera var. monticola). Common subcanopy trees include Acer pensylvanicum, Acer spicatum, Amelanchier laevis, and Acer saccharum. A shrub stratum may be absent to moderately dense. Viburnum lantanoides is a typical shrub. Other possible shrub species include, but are not limited to, Hydrangea arborescens, Ilex montana, Rubus canadensis, and Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (= Sambucus racemosa var. pubens). Herbaceous cover can be dominated by sedges or ferns or be composed of a mixture of sedges, ferns, and other forbs. Typical herbaceous species include Ageratina altissima var. roanensis, Eurybia chlorolepis (= Aster chlorolepis), Arisaema triphyllum, Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (= Athyrium asplenioides), Carex pensylvanica, Dryopteris intermedia, Solidago curtisii (= Solidago caesia var. curtisii), Stellaria pubera, Stellaria corei, and Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus (= Streptopus roseus).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

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-Allegheny Northern Hardwood - Conifer Forest
Alliance Central & Southern Appalachian Buckeye - Northern Hardwood Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004417 Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum - Aesculus flava / Acer pensylvanicum / Trillium grandiflorum Forest
CEGL004973 Aesculus flava - Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum / Caulophyllum thalictroides - Actaea podocarpa Forest
CEGL006045 Acer saccharum - Betula alleghaniensis - Prunus serotina Forest
CEGL008502 Betula alleghaniensis - Quercus rubra / Acer spicatum / Dryopteris intermedia - Oclemena acuminata 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
North Carolina Northern Hardwood Forest (Typic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Tennessee Betula alleghaniensis - Fagus grandifolia - Aesculus flava / Viburnum lantanoides / Eurybia chlorolepis - Dryopteris intermedia Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer saccharum - Aesculus flava - Betula alleghaniensis / Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides - Ageratina altissima var. roanensis 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: Fagus grandifolia - Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum / Viburnum lantanoides / Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum - Viola rotundifolia 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: IA4e. Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwoods Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Northern Hardwood 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 Hardwood Forest (Typic Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
Related Concept Name: Northern Hardwoods Community: Beech - Maple Subtype
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rheinhardt, R. D., and S. A. Ware. 1984. The vegetation of the Balsam Mountains of southwestern Virginia: A phytosociological study. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 111:287-300.
Related Concept Name: Sugar Maple - Beech - Yellow Birch: 25
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
CES202.029 Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (14Dec1998)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This is a broadly defined association meant to cover typical "northern hardwood forests" of the Southern Blue Ridge. If needed, more subassociations may be recognized based on differences related to geology and other environmental variables. Even if broadly defined, this type is limited in distribution to western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia, and in extent by its requirement for higher elevations (typically over 1220 m [4000 feet]). Most of the area of this community type is on public lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service (Pisgah, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Jefferson national forests) and National Park Service (Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway). Most sites for this community are relatively secure from most threats. Exotics plants and animals, such as garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and the gypsy moth may represent significant threats to this community.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: The type is nearly endemic to high elevations of the Southern Blue Ridge in eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and southwestern Virginia. In the Virginia Blue Ridge, it is prevalent in the Mount Rogers - Whitetop Mountain area and at high elevations of the Iron Mountains. Local outliers also occur at the highest elevations of Clinch Mountain in the adjacent Ridge and Valley province.

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: Over most of this community's range, the canopy is dominated by various mixtures of Betula alleghaniensis, Fagus grandifolia and, less commonly, Aesculus flava. In Virginia stands of this type (primarily from the Mount Rogers - Whitetop massif), Acer saccharum is generally a codominant canopy tree in mixed stands with Fagus grandifolia and Betula alleghaniensis and with Aesculus flava less important. Other canopy trees, including Prunus serotina, Quercus rubra, and Halesia tetraptera var. monticola, may be present but are of minor importance. Common subcanopy trees include Acer pensylvanicum, Acer spicatum, Amelanchier laevis, and Acer saccharum. The shrub stratum may vary from nearly undeveloped to moderately dense. Viburnum lantanoides is a typical shrub, except in the northern portion of the range, where it varies from infrequent to locally dominant. Other potential shrub components include, but are not limited to, Hydrangea arborescens, Ilex montana, Rubus canadensis, and Sambucus racemosa (= Sambucus pubens). Herbaceous cover is variably dominated by sedges, ferns and forbs. Typical herbaceous species include Ageratina altissima var. roanensis, Eurybia chlorolepis (= Aster chlorolepis), Arisaema triphyllum, Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (= Athyrium asplenioides), Carex pensylvanica, Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum, Dryopteris intermedia, Solidago curtisii (= Solidago lancifolia), Stellaria pubera, Stellaria corei, Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus (= Streptopus roseus), and Viola blanda var. blanda.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aesculus flava G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Betula alleghaniensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fagus grandifolia G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Magnolia fraseri G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies fraseri G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Acer pensylvanicum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Acer saccharum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Acer spicatum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Ilex montana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ilex collina G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Rhododendron vaseyi G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Rubus canadensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Viburnum lantanoides G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Arnoglossum muehlenbergii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cardamine clematitis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Erythronium umbilicatum ssp. monostolum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eurybia chlorolepis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Gentiana austromontana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hypericum graveolens G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hypericum mitchellianum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Prenanthes roanensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Rugelia nudicaulis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solidago glomerata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Stachys clingmanii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Viola blanda G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Viola rotundifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex manhartii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex misera G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Glyceria nubigena G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Gymnoderma lineare G3 Lichen Nonvascular      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Abies fraseri
  (Fraser Fir)
G2  
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis
  (Appalachian White Snakeroot)
G5T3T4  
Cardamine clematitis
  (Small Mountain Bittercress)
G3  
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum
  (Blue Ridge Sedge)
G5T3T4  
Carex manhartii
  (Manhart's Sedge)
G3G4  
Carex misera
  (Wretched Sedge)
G3  
Erythronium umbilicatum ssp. monostolum
  (Dimpled Trout-lily)
G5T3  
Gentiana austromontana
  (Appalachian Gentian)
G3  
Glyceria nubigena
  (Smoky Mountains Mannagrass)
G2G3  
Gymnoderma lineare
  (Rock Gnome Lichen)
G3 LE: Listed endangered
Hypericum graveolens
  (Mountain St. John's-wort)
G3  
Hypericum mitchellianum
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Ilex collina
  (Long-stalk Holly)
G3  
Prenanthes roanensis
  (Roan Mountain Rattlesnake-root)
G3  
Rhododendron vaseyi
  (Pink-shell Azalea)
G3  
Rugelia nudicaulis
  (Rugel's Ragwort)
G3  
Solidago glomerata
  (Skunk Goldenrod)
G3  
Stachys clingmanii
  (Clingman's Hedge-nettle)
G2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This deciduous forest association occurs at high elevations (typically over 1220 m [4000 feet]) in the Southern Appalachians, on exposed landforms such as open, north-facing slopes. Virginia examples of the type occur at elevations from 1100-1585 m (3600-5200 feet). Mean elevation of 28 plot-sampled Virginia stands is 1340 m (4400 feet). Habitats include a wide range of slope positions and aspects. Surface cover of bedrock and boulders is typically less than 25%, but occasionally higher. Soil samples collected from plot-sampling sites are consistently extremely acidic (mean pH = 3.8) with low base status.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Southern Blue Ridge Planning Team and K.D. Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 23Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming, P. Coulling, K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Dec1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

  • Brown, D. M. 1941. Vegetation of Roan Mountain: A phytosociological and successional study. Ecological Monographs 11:61-97.

  • 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.

  • McLeod, D. E. 1988. Vegetation patterns, floristics, and environmental relationships in the Black and Craggy mountains of North Carolina. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 222 pp.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • Newell, C. L., R. K. Peet, and J. C. Harrod. 1997. Vegetation of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, North Carolina. Unpublished report to USDA Forest Service. University of North Carolina, Curriculum in Ecology & Department of Biology, Chapel Hill, NC. 282 pp. plus maps.

  • 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.

  • Rheinhardt, R. D., and S. A. Ware. 1984. The vegetation of the Balsam Mountains of southwestern Virginia: A phytosociological study. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 111:287-300.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.


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