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Picea rubens - Acer rubrum / Ilex verticillata Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Red Spruce - Red Maple / Common Winterberry Swamp Forest
Common Name: Red Spruce - Red Maple / Winterberry Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006556
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This mixed woodland or forested swamp occurs in higher elevation (260-1220 m) valleys, basins, floodplains, and seepage areas along streams and wetland margins in the Central Appalachians. It is a small-patch community maintained by seepage, rainfall, and occasional low-energy overflow from streams. Slopes are gentle (0-5). The canopy is closed or occasionally open and dominated by Picea rubens, Acer rubrum, Tsuga canadensis, and Betula alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis, with associates Pinus strobus, Nyssa sylvatica, and Fraxinus nigra. The shrub layer is variable and may include Ilex verticillata, Alnus incana ssp. rugosa, Rhododendron maximum, Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium corymbosum, and Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides. The herbaceous layer is diverse and variable, typically including Glyceria melicaria, Carex trisperma, Glyceria striata, Osmunda cinnamomea, Carex leptalea, Impatiens capensis, Chelone glabra, and Caltha palustris. Well-drained hummocks may support mesophytes such as Maianthemum canadense, Dryopteris intermedia, and Oxalis montana. Sphagnum spp. and other mosses are abundant in the mucky hollows and blanket the irregular hummocks between braided seepage rills or streamlets.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High

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-North Atlantic Coastal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Group Laurentian-Acadian-Appalachian Acidic Swamp
Alliance Central 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
CEGL006198 Picea rubens - Acer rubrum / Nemopanthus mucronatus Swamp Forest
CEGL006277 Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum 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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Pennsylvania Red Spruce - Mixed Hardwood Palustrine Forest Broader   Fike 1999
West Virginia Picea rubens - Betula alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis - Tsuga canadensis / Glyceria melicaria / Sphagnum spp. moderately rich swamp Equivalent Certain WVNHP unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Picea rubens - Tsuga canadensis - Acer rubrum / Glyceria melicaria 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]
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.
Related Concept Name: Picea rubens / Vaccinium angustifolium - Epilobium leptophyllum Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1996. Ecological land units of the Laurel Fork Area, Highland County, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 114 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Bog forest association
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Darlington, H. C. 1943. Vegetation and substrate of Cranberry Glades, West Virginia. Botanical Gazette 104:371-393.
Related Concept Name: High-Elevation Seepage Swamp
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: Mixed northern swamp forest community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Robinette, S. L. 1966. Major plant communities of Cranesville Swamp, West Virginia. Arboretum Newsletter 16(1): 1-7.
Related Concept Name: Red Spruce - Mixed Hardwood Palustrine Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Red Spruce - Yellow Birch - Mannagrass Swamp
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Byers, E. A., J. P. Vanderhorst, and B. P. Streets. 2007. Classification and conservation assessment of high elevation wetland communities in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.069 High Allegheny Wetland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (07May2007)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Twelve occurrences are known from West Virginia, where the range has been searched, and this type has a state rank of S2S3. Less than six occurrences are known from Virginia, where the type is ranked S1. Pennsylvania reports 25-30 occurrences and a probable state rank of S3. It is unlikely that more than 30 additional occurrences will be found, and the typical patch size is small to very small. This vegetation type has probably always been quite rare due to the scarcity of requisite, higher-elevation wetland habitats in the Central Appalachian region. The Tsuga canadensis component of this community is highly threatened throughout the Central Appalachians by outbreaks of the exotic insect pest hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: PA, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is scattered throughout the Allegheny Plateau and high Allegheny Mountains from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and extreme west-central Virginia (Highland County). Outliers are reported from the Pocono Plateau and Ridge and Valley provinces of Pennsylvania (Fike 1999). Elevation ranges are 280-670 m on glacial deposits of the Allegheny Plateau in Pennsylvania, 770-1220 m in the unglaciated Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, and above 1060 m in the unglaciated Allegheny Mountains of Virginia.

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: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212G 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: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: In Pennsylvania, stands of this community type have a closed canopy of Acer rubrum and Picea rubens, with associates of Pinus strobus, Tsuga canadensis, Nyssa sylvatica, Betula alleghaniensis, Betula populifolia, Fraxinus nigra, and Larix laricina. The shrub layer is often dense and may include Ilex verticillata, Vaccinium corymbosum, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Nemopanthus mucronatus, and Rhododendron viscosum. The herb layer is typically dominated by ferns and graminoids, particularly Carex trisperma, Carex folliculata, Glyceria striata, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, and Osmunda cinnamomea; Gaultheria hispidula, Coptis trifolia, and Viola spp. are frequent forbs. Well-drained hummocks may support mesophytes such as Maianthemum canadense and Trientalis borealis. Some pools may be dominated by bryophytes of the genera Sphagnum, Mnium, Fissidens, and Thuidium. Virginia examples are very small (<2 ha or 5 acres) and lack several species of pronounced northern distribution. Canopies are generally codominated by Picea rubens, Acer rubrum, and Tsuga canadensis, with Picea rubens usually the most abundant of the three. Betula alleghaniensis is the only other canopy tree recorded in plots. Shrub layers are very sparse, although Vaccinium angustifolium locally forms dense, low patches on better-drained hummocks and flats. Except in the more deeply flooded pools, herbaceous cover is moderately dense to dense. Variably dominant herbs include Glyceria melicaria, Osmunda cinnamomea, Viola cucullata, Carex leptalea, Impatiens capensis, Glyceria striata, and Packera aurea (= Senecio aureus). Other frequent or locally important herbs are Caltha palustris, Cardamine pensylvanica, Carex baileyi, Carex prasina, Carex stipata, Carex trisperma, Chelone glabra, Cinna latifolia, Platanthera clavellata, Veratrum viride, and Viola macloskeyi ssp. pallens. Well-drained hummocks and mounds may support extensive colonies of Dryopteris intermedia, Lycopodium dendroideum, Maianthemum canadense, Oxalis montana, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Schizachne purpurascens. Species richness in five plot-sampled Virginia stands ranged from 39 to 55 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 48).

In West Virginia, canopies are open to closed and dominated by Picea rubens, Tsuga canadensis, and Betula alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis, with occasional additions of Acer rubrum, Fraxinus nigra, Abies balsamea, Pinus strobus, or Nyssa sylvatica. The shrub layers are characterized by Alnus incana ssp. rugosa, Rhododendron maximum, the regenerating canopy species, and occasionally Ilex verticillata. The herbaceous layer is diverse and variable. Herbaceous species with high constancy include Glyceria melicaria, Impatiens capensis, Osmunda cinnamomea var. cinnamomea, Chrysosplenium americanum, Polygonum sagittatum, Leersia oryzoides, Chelone glabra, Symplocarpus foetidus, Maianthemum canadense, Caltha palustris var. palustris, Onoclea sensibilis, Carex leptalea ssp. leptalea, Oxalis montana, and Dryopteris intermedia. Nonvascular plants are dominated by Sphagnum spp. carpeting the mucky hollows, Rhizomnium appalachianum in the seepy areas, and Hypnum imponens and Dicranum scoparium blanketing the woody hummocks. Mean species richness of all vascular plants and any nonvascular plants with cover >1% ranges from 29-61 (mean = 43) taxa per 400 square meters, with nearly 20% of the diversity in the bryophyte layer.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer rubrum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Picea rubens G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Ilex collina G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Ilex verticillata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Pyrola elliptica G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Cardamine pensylvanica G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Hasteola suaveolens G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hypericum mitchellianum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polemonium vanbruntiae G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Viola cucullata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lycopodium dendroideum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex baileyi G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex stipata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Cinna latifolia G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Glyceria melicaria G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachne purpurascens G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Hypericum mitchellianum
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Ilex collina
  (Long-stalk Holly)
G3  
Polemonium vanbruntiae
  (Bog Jacob's-ladder)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Sites are located in valleys, basins, floodplains, and seepage areas along the headwaters of streams. Slopes are gentle (0-5), and habitats are characterized by strong hummock-and-hollow microtopography, with Sphagnum-covered mounds, mucky pools, and braided seepage rills or streamlets. Soils may have shallow to deep organic horizons and are acidic, with variable base status.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This is a small-patch woodland/forest community. It is maintained by seepage flow from surrounding upland forest, rainfall, and occasional low-energy stream overflow. Nutrient cycling occurs from the decay of fallen trees, litter, herbaceous vegetation, and overflow deposition/outwash.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): E.A. Byers et al. (2007)
Element Description Edition Date: 07May2007
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming, P. Coulling, E.A. Byers
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07May2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming, mod. E.A. Byers

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


References
  • Byers, E. A., J. P. Vanderhorst, and B. P. Streets. 2007. Classification and conservation assessment of high elevation wetland communities in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins.

  • Darlington, H. C. 1943. Vegetation and substrate of Cranberry Glades, West Virginia. Botanical Gazette 104:371-393.

  • DeMeo, T., D. McCay, D. Walton, and J. Concannon. 1998. Terrestrial ecological classification of the Monongahela National Forest. USDA Forest Service, Elkins, WV.

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

  • Eichelberger, B. 2011n. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Red Spruce - Mixed Hardwood Palustrine Forest Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=16030] (accessed February 15, 2012)

  • 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. 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. 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1996. Ecological land units of the Laurel Fork Area, Highland County, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 114 pp. plus appendices.

  • Francl, K. E. 2003. Community characterization of high elevation Central Appalachian wetlands. Ph.D. disseration, University of Georgia, Athens.

  • Robinette, S. L. 1964. Plant ecology of an Allegheny mountain swamp. M.S. thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown.

  • Robinette, S. L. 1966. Major plant communities of Cranesville Swamp, West Virginia. Arboretum Newsletter 16(1): 1-7.

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.

  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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