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Pinus rigida / Hudsonia tomentosa Woodland
Translated Name: Pitch Pine / Woolly Beach-heather Woodland
Common Name: Pitch Pine Dune Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL006117
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This maritime pitch pine woodland occurs on coastal sand dunes from southern Maine to Cape Henlopen, Delaware. The community occurs on stabilized backdunes influenced by wind and salt spray. Substrate is dry, acidic, nutrient-poor sand. Active sand movement occurs with storm activity, causing the boundaries of the community to migrate over time. There is generally significant cover of bare sand, but where more stabilized, species diversity tends to increase. Pinus rigida dominates the canopy. Canopy associates are few but include Juniperus virginiana, and occasionally Sassafras albidum, with scattered individuals of Quercus velutina in the northern part of the range, and Quercus falcata and Pinus virginiana to the south. The shrub layer, if present, may include Hudsonia tomentosa, Morella pensylvanica, Gaylussacia baccata, Gaylussacia frondosa, Vaccinium pallidum, and occasionally Hudsonia ericoides, or Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides. Vines may be present but scarce and include Smilax rotundifolia, Smilax glauca, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Toxicodendron radicans. The herbaceous layer is sparse but can include Aralia nudicaulis, Dichanthelium ovale var. addisonii, Solidago odora, Chimaphila maculata, Lechea maritima, Pteridium aquilinum, and Trientalis borealis, Maianthemum canadense, Deschampsia flexuosa, Carex lucorum, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in the north. Lichens are common, especially Cladonia spp.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Floristically this community is similar in composition to maritime shrub forests which lack a tree canopy. Occurrences are patchy within its distributional range and are part of a coastal zone mosaic of communities.

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 North Atlantic Maritime & Coastal Plain Forest
Alliance Maritime Pine Forest & Woodland

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



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 Pitch Pine Dune Woodland Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maine Pitch pine dune woodland Broader   Gawler 2002
Massachusetts Maritime Pitch Pine Woodland on Dunes Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Jersey Coastal dune woodland Undetermined   Breden 1989
New York Maritime dunes Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Rhode Island Pitch Pine Cover Type Undetermined   Enser 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Dune Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Trudeau, P., P. J. Godfrey, and B. S. Timson. 1977. Beach vegetation and oceanic processes study of Popham State Park Beach, Reid State Park Beach, and Small Point Beach. USDA/SCS. Maine Department of Conservation. 144 pp.
Related Concept Name: Maritime forest, dune subtype
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Pine forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McDonnell, M. J. 1979. The flora of Plum Island, Essex County, Massachusetts. University of New Hampshire, Agricultural Experiment Station. Station Bulletin No. 513. Durham, NH. 110 pp.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Johnson, A. F. 1985b. A guide to the plant communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mad Printers, Mattituck, NY. 58 pp. plus plates.
Related Concept Name: Pitch Pine Dune Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna, DE.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale
CES203.302 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (31Jan2007)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This maritime woodland community is restricted to major coastal sand dune systems. It ranges from southern Maine to Cape Henlopen, Delaware; it does not occur in Connecticut or Rhode Island. Occurrences are generally small, ranging from 5 or 10 acres to a few hundred acres at maximum. Rangewide, 25-30 occurrences covering 1000-1200 acres are estimated. This community is threatened by a host of threats common to coastal dune systems in general: dune stabilization, residential and commercial development, and road expansion.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MA, ME, NJ, NY, RIpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs along the North Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to Cape Henlopen, Delaware.

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: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Division Name: Subtropical Division
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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: There is generally significant cover of bare sand, but where more stabilized, species diversity tends to increase. Pinus rigida dominates the canopy and averages 10-15 m in height, but is quite variable, ranging from 1 m in an unusual shrub form in Delaware to over 20 m. Canopy associates are few but include Juniperus virginiana, and occasionally Sassafras albidum, with scattered individuals of Quercus velutina in the northern part of the range, and Quercus falcata and Pinus virginiana to the south. At Cape Henlopen, the subcanopy is sparse but may also include Quercus marilandica, Quercus stellata, Nyssa sylvatica, and Prunus serotina. The shrub layer, if present, may include Hudsonia tomentosa, Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica), Gaylussacia baccata, Gaylussacia frondosa, Vaccinium pallidum, and occasionally Hudsonia ericoides, or Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (= Viburnum cassinoides). Vines may be present but scarce and include Smilax rotundifolia, Smilax glauca, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Toxicodendron radicans. The herbaceous layer is sparse but can include Aralia nudicaulis, Dichanthelium ovale var. addisonii, Solidago odora, Chimaphila maculata, Lechea maritima, Pteridium aquilinum, and Trientalis borealis, Maianthemum canadense, Deschampsia flexuosa, Carex lucorum, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in the north. Lichens are common; at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, species included Cladonia strepsilis, Cladonia terrae-novae (= Cladina terrae-novae), and Cladonia squamosa. This community may contain Carex silicea which is uncommon in Maine.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus rigida G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Hudsonia tomentosa G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Carex silicea G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: The community occurs on backdunes that are more stabilized than foredunes. Active sand movement occurs with storm activity, causing the boundaries of the community to migrate over time. This community occurs on stabilized, parabolic dunes. The substrate is wind- and wave-deposited sand which is characteristically excessively well-drained and nutrient-poor. Maritime occurrences are subjected to a number of environmental stresses such as high winds, "sand-blasting " by salt spray, shifting substrate and both water and nutrient stress. All of these factors appear to be important in structuring the form and composition of the community.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Active sand movement occurs with storm activity, causing the boundaries of the community to migrate over time.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
Element Description Edition Date: 09May2002
Element Description Author(s): M. Anderson and S.L. Neid
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2007
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
  • Bennett, K. A., K. E. Clancy, C. M. Heckscher, W. A. McAvoy, E. F. Zuelke, and L. E. Broaddus. 1998. A Natural Heritage survey of Cape Henlopen State Park, Sussex County, Delaware. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 136 pp.

  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna, DE.

  • 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.

  • Dowhan, J. J., and R. Rozsa. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk Country, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116:265-282.

  • 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.

  • Enser, R. W., and J. A. Lundgren. 2006. Natural communities of Rhode Island. A joint project of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Natural History Survey, Kingston. 40 pp. [www.rinhs.org]

  • Gawler, S. C. 2001. Natural landscapes of Maine: Natural community profiles. Open (non-forested) types. Final review draft, July 2001. Maine Natural Areas Program. Department of Conservation. Augusta, ME.

  • 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.

  • Godfrey, P. J., M. Benedict, and M. Soukup. 1978. A guide to the ecology of Cape Cod National Seashore (Mary 1978 draft). National Park Service Cooperative Research Unit, Institute for Man and Environment, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Johnson, A. F. 1985b. A guide to the plant communities of the Napeague Dunes, Long Island, New York. Mad Printers, Mattituck, NY. 58 pp. plus plates.

  • Klopfer, S. D., A. Olivero, L. Sneddon, and J. Lundgren. 2002. Final report of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Project at Fire Island National Seashore. Conservation Management Institute, GIS & Remote Sensing Division, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. 193 pp.

  • Martin, W. E. 1959b. The vegetation of Island Beach State Park, New Jersey. Ecological Monographs 29:1-46.

  • McDonnell, M. J. 1979. The flora of Plum Island, Essex County, Massachusetts. University of New Hampshire, Agricultural Experiment Station. Station Bulletin No. 513. Durham, NH. 110 pp.

  • Motzkin, G., and D. R. Foster. 2002. Grasslands, heathlands and shrublands in coastal New England: Historical interpretations and approaches to conservation. Journal of Biogeography 29:1569-1590. [http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/sites/harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/files/publications/pdfs/Motzkin_JBiogeography_2002_Grasslands.pdf]

  • Nelson, B. W., and L. K. Fink. 1980. Geological and botanical features of sand beach in Maine. Bulletin No. 14. Maine Sea Grant Publications. 163 pp.

  • RINHP [Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Natural communities of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program, Department of Environmental Management, Providence.

  • Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 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.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2014. Classification of the natural communities of Massachusetts. Version 2.0. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA. [http://www.mass.gov/nhesp/http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/natural-communities/classification-of-natural-communities.html]

  • Trudeau, P., P. J. Godfrey, and B. S. Timson. 1977. Beach vegetation and oceanic processes study of Popham State Park Beach, Reid State Park Beach, and Small Point Beach. USDA/SCS. Maine Department of Conservation. 144 pp.


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