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Quercus alba - Quercus prinus - Carya glabra / Cornus florida / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
Translated Name: White Oak - Chestnut Oak - Pignut Hickory / Flowering Dogwood / Blue Ridge Blueberry Forest
Common Name: Central Appalachian Acidic Oak - Hickory Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL008515
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is associated with substrates weathered from shale, sandstone, and other sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks in the Central Appalachian region. It appears to be widespread at low elevations of the Ridge and Valley province in Virginia and more local on the western flank of the Northern Blue Ridge, the northern edge of the Southern Blue Ridge, and extending into the Ridge and Valley of West Virginia and Maryland. It is rare on monadnocks of the extreme western Piedmont in southwestern Virginia. Extensive sites for this community in the Ridge and Valley occur on low shale knobs and ridges, or at the base of higher sandstone ridges, where local shale strata have been exposed by stream incision. On the Blue Ridge, stands are confined to a belt of metasedimentary rocks that overlie the plutonic basement complex on the western side of the anticlinorium. Habitats encompass dry, mostly southeast- to west-facing slopes, hollows, broad sub-level ridge crests, and occasionally dry valley bottoms at low elevations (mostly <610 m [2000 feet]). Slope shape is generally convex in at least one direction. The characteristic vegetation of this type is an open oak-hickory or oak-hickory-pine forest dominated by oaks (particularly Quercus prinus and Quercus alba), with high cover of Carya spp., especially Carya glabra. Quercus velutina, Quercus rubra, Carya alba, Pinus virginiana, and Pinus strobus are also important, sometimes codominant trees. Stands in which Quercus alba greatly dominates are also common. Total canopy cover is usually in the range of 60-80%, and dominant canopy trees typically do not much exceed, and in some situations do not reach, 20 m in height. Minor canopy associates include Carya ovalis, Pinus echinata, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus stellata. Young representatives of most canopy species are common in the understory, along with Cornus florida and Amelanchier arborea. Generally, there is only a moderate to sparse representation of ericaceous (heath family) shrubs in this community type. However, on gentle ridge crests, where litter and humus tend to accumulate, Vaccinium pallidum may dominate the shrub layer in low colonies. On the more extensive steep, convex slopes, where litter accumulations are thin and patchy, ericads are sparse and herbaceous richness tends to be moderately high, although total herb cover can be quite sparse.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The global range and status of this community type need further investigation. It may occur on a wider variety of substrates, and cover a much larger geographic area, than current documentation indicates. Twenty-one plots from the southern part of the Central Appalachians were classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail classification project (Fleming and Patterson 2009a). In a recent analysis of more than 1300 Virginia montane upland forest and woodland plots (Fleming and Patterson 2009b), this association was represented by 49 plots. The most constant species in these 49 plots are Amelanchier arborea, Quercus alba, Acer rubrum, Cornus florida, Quercus prinus, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Chimaphila maculata, Quercus velutina, and Carya glabra.

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 Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest & Woodland
Alliance Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006301 Quercus rubra - Carya (glabra, ovata) / Ostrya virginiana / Carex lucorum Forest
CEGL007233 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Acer saccharum / Polystichum acrostichoides Forest
CEGL008475 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya alba / Vaccinium stamineum / Desmodium nudiflorum Piedmont Forest
CEGL008514 Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus - Carya ovalis / (Cercis canadensis) / Solidago caesia Forest
CEGL008516 Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Carex pensylvanica - (Calamagrostis porteri) Forest



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus montana - Carya glabra / Carex pensylvanica Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus montana - Carya glabra / Cornus florida / Vaccinium pallidum / Carex pensylvanica Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus montana - Carya glabra / Vaccinium pallidum / Carex pensylvanica Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2007a. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report, volume 1.1. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 103 pp. plus appendices and GIS products.
Related Concept Name: Quercus alba - Quercus prinus - Carya glabra / Cornus florida / Vaccinium pallidum / Carex pensylvanica Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Cornus florida / Desmodium nudiflorum Association: Helianthus divaricatus - Carex pensylvanica - Dichanthelium boscii - Arabis laevigata Subassociation, pro parte
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Acidic Oak - Hickory 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.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: White Oak - Black Oak - Northern Red Oak: 52
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
CES202.591 Central Appalachian Dry Oak-Pine Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (02Oct2006)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Although currently known from a relatively small geographic range, this community type covers extensive areas at low elevations in the Central Appalachians of Virginia and Maryland. It is very likely that this vegetation is more widely distributed in the Central Appalachians.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community type is associated with substrates weathered from shale, sandstone, and similar sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks (e.g., siltstone, metasiltstone, phyllite) in the Central Appalachians. It appears to be widespread at low elevations of the Ridge and Valley province in Maryland and Virginia, and more local on the western flank of the Northern Blue Ridge and the northern edge of the Southern Blue Ridge. It is rare on monadnocks of the extreme western Piedmont in southwestern Virginia. Within its known distribution, this is a matrix community type in localities of optimal habitat.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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
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: The characteristic vegetation of this type is an open oak-hickory or oak-hickory-pine forest dominated by oaks (particularly Quercus prinus and Quercus alba), with high cover of Carya spp., especially Carya glabra. Quercus velutina, Quercus rubra, Carya alba, Pinus virginiana, and Pinus strobus are also important, sometimes codominant trees. Stands in which Quercus alba greatly dominates are also common. Total canopy cover is usually in the range or 60-80%, and dominant canopy trees typically do not much exceed, and in some situations do not reach, 20 m in height. Minor canopy associates include Carya ovalis, Pinus echinata, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus stellata. Young representatives of most canopy species are common in the understory, along with Acer rubrum, Cornus florida, and Amelanchier arborea. At the richer end of the soil spectrum, nutrient-demanding species such as Cercis canadensis, Acer saccharum, Ostrya virginiana, Fraxinus americana, and Ulmus rubra may be present in the understory but rarely have more than 5% cover in a 400-square-meter plot. Generally, there is only a moderate to sparse representation of ericaceous (heath family) shrubs in this community. However, on gentle ridge crests, where litter and humus tend to accumulate, Vaccinium pallidum may dominate the shrub layer in low colonies. Frequent, non-ericaceous low shrubs include Viburnum acerifolium and Rosa carolina. On the more extensive steep, convex slopes, where litter accumulations are thin and patchy, ericads are sparse and herbaceous richness tends to be moderately high, although total herbaceous cover can be quite sparse. The most constant and characteristic graminoids are Carex pensylvanica, Danthonia spicata, Dichanthelium boscii, and Deschampsia flexuosa. Characteristic forbs are Antennaria plantaginifolia, Chimaphila maculata, Desmodium rotundifolium, Galium circaezans, Houstonia longifolia, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Polygonatum biflorum, Potentilla canadensis, Scutellaria elliptica, Symphyotrichum undulatum, Vicia caroliniana, and several Lespedeza spp. Species richness of 35 plot-sampled stands used in the NCR Parks analysis ranges from 27 to 73 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 46). Species richness of 49 Virginia plots ranges from 29 to 105 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 63).

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    
 
 
Carya glabra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus prinus G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus velutina G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus virginiana G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Amelanchier arborea G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Cornus florida G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Berberis canadensis G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Antennaria plantaginifolia G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Clematis coactilis G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Heuchera caroliniana G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Houstonia longifolia G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza hirta G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza procumbens G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza repens G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza violacea G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza virginica G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Onosmodium virginianum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Potentilla canadensis G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Danthonia spicata G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Dichanthelium boscii G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Berberis canadensis
  (American Barberry)
G3  
Clematis coactilis
  (Virginia White-hair Leatherflower)
G3  
Heuchera caroliniana
  (Carolina Alumroot)
G3  
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides
  (Basil Mountainmint)
G1G2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community is associated with submesic to subxeric sites on shale, siltstone, metasiltstone, phyllite, sandstone, and deep alluvial fan material washed from these substrates. Extensive sites in the Ridge and Valley occur on low shale knobs and ridges, or at the base of higher sandstone ridges, where local shale strata have been exposed by stream incision. On the Blue Ridge, stands are confined to a belt of metasedimentary rocks that overlie the plutonic basement complex on the western side of the anticlinorium. Habitats encompass dry and dry-mesic, mostly southeast- to west-facing slopes, hollows, broad sublevel ridge crests, and occasionally dry valley bottoms at low elevations (mostly <610 m [2000 feet]). Slope shape is generally convex in at least one direction. The prevalent soils are loams of the Weikert-Berks-Rough complex. Although ranging from strongly to extremely acidic, soil samples collected from plots have slightly higher mean pH, calcium, and magnesium levels, and much lower iron and aluminum than those of more xerophytic oak/heath types. Occasional sites on the Martinsburg shale formation may be moderately calcareous. On steep slopes, the surface cover of mineral soil may be significant (up to 57% in plots) due to erosional processes.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Increment cores taken from old trees in the Peters Mountain area of Alleghany County (James River Ranger District) (e.g., a 44-cm (17-inch) dbh Quercus alba about 225 years old, a 49-cm (19-inch) dbh Quercus alba about 155 years old, and a 46-cm (18-inch) dbh coppice sprout of Quercus prinus about 175 years old) indicate slow growth rates in stands of this type (Fleming and Moorhead 2000). Data collected from throughout the Peters Mountain study area also indicate that Castanea dentata was much less important in pre-blight forests on shale compared to those on the area's sandstone ridges (Fleming and Moorhead 2000). Periodic drought stress and frequent low-intensity fires are natural disturbances that regenerate the oak component of this community. Due to the contemporary reduction or exclusion of fire from most sites, stands of this association exhibit poor oak recruitment and have become susceptible to invasion by Acer rubrum, Pinus strobus, and other shade-tolerant mesophytic trees.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming and P.P. Coulling
Element Description Edition Date: 22Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming and P.P. Coulling
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Oct2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling, mod. G. Fleming

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


References
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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 K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2007a. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report, volume 1.1. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 103 pp. plus appendices and GIS products.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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