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Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Acer saccharum / Polystichum acrostichoides Forest
Translated Name: White Oak - Northern Red Oak - Red Hickory / Sugar Maple / Christmas Fern Forest
Common Name: Rich Low-Elevation Appalachian Oak - Hickory Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007233
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a dry-mesic to mesic, low-montane oak-hickory forest of the Ridge and Valley, Cumberland Mountains, and adjacent Southern Blue Ridge. It has moderately high species diversity, with a variable mixed overstory of Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Carya ovalis, Carya ovata, Carya alba, Liriodendron tulipifera and, less frequently, Carya cordiformis, Magnolia acuminata, Quercus velutina, and Quercus prinus. The most characteristic subcanopy species are Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Fraxinus americana, Sassafras albidum, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Ulmus rubra, Cornus florida, and Ostrya virginiana. Shrubs of various heights are commonly present; these may include Frangula caroliniana, Corylus cornuta, Corylus americana, Vaccinium stamineum, Cercis canadensis, Asimina triloba, Morus rubra, and Lindera benzoin. The herb layer is often diverse; the most constant patch-dominants include Polystichum acrostichoides, Desmodium nudiflorum, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Dichanthelium boscii, Actaea racemosa, and Ageratina altissima var. altissima. Some other herbs include Podophyllum peltatum, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Desmodium pauciflorum, Desmodium glutinosum, Galium circaezans, Uvularia perfoliata, Dioscorea quaternata, Arisaema triphyllum, Conopholis americana, Geranium maculatum, Solidago curtisii, Scutellaria elliptica, Brachyelytrum erectum, Eupatorium purpureum var. purpureum, Collinsonia canadensis, and Polymnia canadensis. Many other mesophytic and dry-mesophytic herbs occur at low cover. The canopy is generally closed (>75% cover).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This is primarily a type of the Ridge and Valley and Cumberlands (Alabama to southwestern Virginia), but it also occurs on metasedimentary substrates at low elevations on the western flank of the Blue Ridge, in northern Georgia, Tennessee, and extreme western North Carolina (Hot Springs Window). There is at least one occurrence in the upper Piedmont of Georgia. Occurrences in Kentucky and West Virginia are likely. The range of this association (CEGL007233) barely overlaps that of Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus / Collinsonia canadensis - Podophyllum peltatum Forest (CEGL007692), and where it does, it is separated from the latter by elevation and soils (G. Fleming pers. comm. 2009, Fleming and Patterson 2009a).

This association was originally described from the Tellico Pilot Project (Ridge and Valley of Tennessee, northeastern Monroe County; 26 stands sampled) as the Quercus alba - Carya ovata - Carya alba Forest, where it was recorded from slopes with northwestern, northern and eastern aspects at elevations from 250 to 300 m (820-1000 feet). The high dominance of Acer saccharum in the subcanopy of some stands is thought to be due to the mesic site conditions combined with lack of fire. Twenty-five plots from a wider geographic range were classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail classification project (Fleming and Patterson 2009a). More information is needed on the variability of this community across its range. Described from the Ridge and Valley of Tennessee, the concept is generally applied to forests in the southern Cumberlands and adjacent Southern Blue Ridge.

This is an unglaciated equivalent of a Midwestern element of glaciated landscapes, Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovata Glaciated Forest (CEGL002068) of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri north to Ontario. A related drier forest association is Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovata / Cercis canadensis - Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana Forest (CEGL007240). It may also be similar to some limestone forests in Virginia's Ridge and Valley (Acer saccharum var. saccharum - Quercus rubra - Carya [glabra, ovata] / Ageratina altissima Forest (Fleming 1999)) (G. Fleming pers. comm.). In addition, the association has been identified in the far western edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at a southerly aspect at about 570 m (1870 feet) in elevation.


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 Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Piedmont-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Forest
Alliance Piedmont Oak - Hickory Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002067 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya alba / Cornus florida Acidic Forest
CEGL002068 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovata Glaciated Forest
CEGL006017 Acer saccharum - Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis Forest
CEGL006125 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum - Liriodendron tulipifera Forest
CEGL007231 Quercus alba - Quercus velutina - Carya (ovata, alba) - Pinus sp. Forest
CEGL007240 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovata / Cercis canadensis - Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana Forest
CEGL007692 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus / Collinsonia canadensis - Podophyllum peltatum Forest
CEGL008515 Quercus alba - Quercus prinus - Carya glabra / Cornus florida / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
CEGL008517 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum / Ostrya virginiana / Cardamine concatenata Forest
CEGL008549 Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya spp. - Fraxinus americana / Solidago sphacelata Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Carya ovata - Carya tomentosa (sic) Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Andreu, M. G., and M. L. Tukman. 1995. Forest communities of the Tellico Lake Area, East Tennessee. M.F. project report, Duke University, School of the Environment. Durham, NC. 66 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya (ovata, glabra) Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Andreu, M. G., and M. L. Tukman. 1995. Forest communities of the Tellico Lake Area, East Tennessee. M.F. project report, Duke University, School of the Environment. Durham, NC. 66 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Cercis canadensis / Amphicarpaea bracteata - Desmodium glutinosum Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Dry-Mesic Calcareous 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: IA6i. Interior Upland Dry-Mesic Oak - Hickory 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: Mesic White Oak Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mesotrophic Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.
Related Concept Name: White Oak - Northern Red Oak, RV
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 pp.
Related Concept Name: White Oak: 53
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
CES202.373 Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest
CES202.887 South-Central Interior Mesophytic Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (14Jan2000)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This is not an inherently rare forest type. It is presumed to be relatively common throughout its known range. It is at least a moderately widespread type, although its full range is not known. It occurs on a variety of aspects and elevations, and it is not restricted to any highly specific geologic substrates. It is poorly documented through EOs, and not much data are available on the specific condition of examples of this type. Some stands have been impacted by removal of more valuable timber species and loss of herbaceous species diversity from the disturbance effects of logging. In all probability, most examples which are not on public land have been repeatedly logged and their composition altered thereby. Remaining unprotected examples are threatened by timber removal, conversion to other managed forest types, and/or development into residential or commercial real estate. The Grank was formerly G3G5. Changing this to G4 helps to clarify its status.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GA, KY, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This is primarily a type of the Ridge and Valley and Cumberlands from Alabama to southwestern Virginia, but it also occurs at low elevations on the western flank of the Blue Ridge, in northern Georgia, Tennessee, and extreme western North Carolina (Hot Springs Window). There is at least one occurrence in the upper Piedmont of Georgia. Occurrences in Kentucky and West Virginia are likely.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 221J Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 231C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 231D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This is a dry-mesic to mesic, low-montane oak-hickory forest with moderately high species diversity. It has a variable mixed overstory of Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Carya ovalis, Carya ovata, Carya alba, Liriodendron tulipifera and, less frequently, Carya cordiformis, Magnolia acuminata, Quercus velutina, and Quercus prinus. Some stands may also include Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Pinus virginiana, Aesculus flava, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Tilia americana var. heterophylla, Pinus echinata, Pinus strobus, Prunus serotina, Quercus coccinea, Ulmus alata, Juglans nigra, Tsuga canadensis, and Ulmus rubra. The canopy is generally closed (>75% cover). The most characteristic subcanopy species are Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Fraxinus americana, Sassafras albidum, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Ulmus rubra, Cornus florida, and Ostrya virginiana, with Liquidambar styraciflua, Ulmus alata, and Prunus serotina present in some stands. Acer saccharum and/or Acer rubrum typically strongly dominate the subcanopy. In the Tellico Pilot Project, Acer saccharum had a relative frequency value of >90% and an average canopy cover dominance of >25%. It is speculated that this high dominance is due to the mesic site conditions and lack of fire. Scrambling and low-climbing vines of Toxicodendron radicans and Smilax rotundifolia are frequent. Shrubs of various heights are commonly present; these may include Frangula caroliniana, Corylus cornuta, Corylus americana, Vaccinium stamineum, Cercis canadensis, Asimina triloba, Morus rubra, and Lindera benzoin. The shrub and herbaceous layers tend to have a percent cover of >25%. The herb layer is often diverse; the most constant patch-dominants include Polystichum acrostichoides, Desmodium nudiflorum, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Dichanthelium boscii, Actaea racemosa, and Ageratina altissima var. altissima. Other herbs that can be important in some stands include Podophyllum peltatum, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Desmodium pauciflorum, Desmodium glutinosum, Galium circaezans, Uvularia perfoliata, Dioscorea quaternata, Arisaema triphyllum, Conopholis americana, Geranium maculatum, Solidago curtisii, Scutellaria elliptica, Brachyelytrum erectum, Eupatorium purpureum var. purpureum, Collinsonia canadensis, and Polymnia canadensis.

A stand on the western edge of the Blue Ridge (Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee, M221Dd418, Dry Branch #1) contains Quercus alba, Carya ovata, Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra, Aesculus flava, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Juglans nigra, and Quercus stellata in the canopy; Ostrya virginiana, Cercis canadensis, Ulmus rubra, Fraxinus americana, Ulmus alata, Quercus prinus, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana in the subcanopy; Frangula caroliniana as a tall shrub; Symphoricarpos orbiculatus and Vaccinium stamineum in the low-shrub stratum; Parthenocissus quinquefolia as a woody vine; and Bromus pubescens, Elymus hystrix, Carex sp., Carex pensylvanica, Sedum ternatum, Asplenium platyneuron, Hybanthus concolor, Carex communis, Dichanthelium boscii (= Panicum boscii), Asplenium resiliens, Symphyotrichum undulatum (= Aster undulatus), Dioscorea quaternata, Solidago caesia, Galium circaezans, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Pellaea atropurpurea, Verbesina occidentalis, Scutellaria elliptica, Arabis sp., Agrimonia sp., Geum sp., Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Conyza canadensis, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, Maianthemum racemosum, Monarda fistulosa, Sanicula canadensis, Solidago erecta (= Solidago speciosa var. erecta), Viola x palmata, and Thalictrum sp. as herbs.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)    
 
 
Carya ovata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)    
 
 
Carya glabra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Carya ovalis G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Fagus grandifolia G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus rubra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer saccharum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Fraxinus americana G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Scutellaria pseudoserrata G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polystichum acrostichoides G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Scutellaria pseudoserrata
  (Falseteeth Skullcap)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Most examples occur between 460 and 850 m (1500-2800 feet) (mean = 615 m [2018 feet]), with a few sites as low as 260 m (850 feet). It occupies a variety of sites, slope positions and aspects, most commonly northwestern to eastern. Most, if not all, sample sites for this type are underlain by sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks, including shale, metashale, siltstone, calcareous sandstone, and interbedded limestone and sandstone. Soil samples collected from plots have moderately high mean high calcium and magnesium, and manganese content.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Disturbances from fires and mudslides were observed in many of the Tellico Pilot Project sites of this type. Mesic site conditions can limit fire disturbance. Without disturbance this community may develop into an Acer saccharum or Acer rubrum forest type, as the subcanopy is strongly dominated by one or both of those species.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Andreu and M. Tukman (1995)
Element Description Edition Date: 22Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): M. Andreu, M. Tukman, M. Pyne and G. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Jan2000
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
  • 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.

  • Andreu, M. G., and M. L. Tukman. 1995. Forest communities of the Tellico Lake Area, East Tennessee. M.F. project report, Duke University, School of the Environment. Durham, NC. 66 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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. 1999. Plant communities of limestone, dolomite, and other calcareous substrates in the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-4. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 218 pp. plus appendices.

  • 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. 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, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

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

  • Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

  • Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.

  • Schotz, A., M. Hall, and R. D. White, Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Russell Cave National Monument. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 108 pp.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • 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.

  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.


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