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Juniperus virginiana - Fraxinus americana / Danthonia spicata - Poa compressa Woodland
Translated Name: Eastern Red-cedar - White Ash / Poverty Oatgrass - Canada Bluegrass Woodland
Common Name: Traprock Ridge
Unique Identifier: CEGL006002
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This traprock ridge open woodland is known from mountainous sites in New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and may occur in southeastern New York. The vegetation occurs primarily on exposed outcrops of basaltic rock in the Connecticut Valley of New England and the Piedmont physiographic province in New Jersey. While most sites are on igneous rock, along the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it occurs on conglomerates of the Shawangunk Formation. Sites supporting this community are upper slopes of basalt, diorite, or conglomerate ridges from 365-1050 m elevation, characteristically south- or west-facing and range in slope from 5-30°. Most sites have minimal soil development. Tree cover is sparse, ranging from 5-30% cover (average 20%) with Juniperus virginiana being the most constant canopy tree. Other woody species sometimes present include Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra, Quercus montana, Ostrya virginiana, and Carya glabra. The actual canopy composition reflects, to some extent, the surrounding forest. The scattered shrub layer often includes Rosa carolina, Juniperus communis var. depressa, Quercus montana, Quercus ilicifolia, Rhus typhina, Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium angustifolium, Viburnum rafinesqueanum, and Prunus virginiana. The herbaceous layer usually covers 12-50% of the ground and is dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium, Deschampsia flexuosa, and Danthonia spicata, with their relative abundance varying from site to site. Numerous other herbaceous species occur in this community type, including Carex pensylvanica, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Hypericum gentianoides, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Corydalis sempervirens, Solidago nemoralis, Poa compressa, Maianthemum racemosum, Uvularia perfoliata, Aquilegia canadensis, Asclepias verticillata, Polygonum scandens, Krigia virginica, and Houstonia longifolia. No species is restricted to this community, but the assemblage listed above is very characteristic.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: In general, this community is similar to a number of other sparse woodland ridgetop communities. New Jersey occurrences are floristically related to ridgetop sparse woodlands in Virginia (e.g., greenstone glades) but appear to share more species with the northern occurrences with which they have been grouped here. However, further research may indicate that the New Jersey occurrences represent a unique vegetation assemblage. In Massachusetts, this community typically occurs as herbaceous (and probably successional) patches within a hickory-hop hornbeam forest. New York contains some examples of this community which they classify under the name "red cedar rocky summit community." In New Hampshire, this type only occurs in the Pawtuckaway Mountains, where the stand clings to exposed south- to southeast-facing mafic outcrops in several locations in the ring dike complex.

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 Chinquapin Oak - Red-cedar Alkaline Forest & Woodland
Alliance Red-cedar Calcareous Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006180 Juniperus virginiana - Ostrya virginiana / Carex eburnea Woodland



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
Connecticut Juniperus virginiana / Danthonia spicata community Equivalent   Metzler and Barrett 2001
Connecticut Subacidic rocky summit/outcrop Undetermined   Metzler and Barrett 2006
Massachusetts Circumneutral Rocky Summit/Rock Outcrop Community Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New York Red cedar rocky summit Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Red-cedar - prickly pear shale shrubland Equivalent   Fike 1999
Vermont Red Cedar Woodland Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Eastern Redcedar: 46
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.
Related Concept Name: SNE circumneutral rocky summit/rock outcrop community
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: Traprock Glade / Savanna
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Walz, K. S. 1996. Final report: Ecological community inventory of High Mountain Park, Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Field Office, Chester. 120 pp.
Related Concept Name: Traprock Outcrop Community
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Walz, K. S. 1996. Final report: Ecological community inventory of High Mountain Park, Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Field Office, Chester. 120 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.600 Central Appalachian Pine-Oak Rocky Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (20May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: There are probably 30-60 occurrences of this community rangewide. At least 19 occurrences have been documented from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with outliers in New Hampshire and southeastern New York. Occurrences are typically small, less than 0.1 ha in size, but the New Hampshire site in the Pawtuckaway Mountains is over 10 ha. This community is restricted to exposed outcrops of basaltic rock in the Connecticut River valley of New England and the Piedmont and High Allegheny Plateau physiographic province of New Jersey and adjacent Pennsylvania. Most occurrences are small; total acreage is probably less than 500 acres rangewide.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: ON
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This community has been described from mountainous sites in New England states: Pawtuckaway Mountains in New Hampshire; Bare Mountain, East Mountain, Mount Tom and Mount Norwottuck in Massachusetts; Onion Mountain, Sugarloaf, Sleeping Giant and West Mountain in Connecticut. It has also been documented at sites in the Watchung Mountains in New Jersey, Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and in southeastern New York.

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: Maine-New Brunswick Foothills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F 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
Section Name: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Juniperus virginiana is the most constant canopy tree in the sparse tree layer. Other woody species sometimes present include Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, Ostrya virginiana, and Carya glabra. The actual canopy composition reflects, to some extent, the surrounding forest. The scattered shrub layer often includes Rosa carolina, Juniperus communis var. depressa, Quercus montana (= Quercus prinus), Quercus ilicifolia, Rhus typhina (= Rhus hirta), Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium angustifolium, Viburnum rafinesqueanum, and Prunus virginiana. The open herbaceous layer is dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium, Deschampsia flexuosa, and Danthonia spicata, with their relative abundance varying from site to site. Numerous other herbaceous species occur in this community type, including Carex pensylvanica, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Hypericum gentianoides, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Corydalis sempervirens, Solidago nemoralis, Poa compressa, Maianthemum racemosum, Uvularia perfoliata, Aquilegia canadensis, Asclepias verticillata, Polygonum scandens, Krigia virginica, and Houstonia longifolia. No species is restricted to this community, but the assemblage listed above is very characteristic. Several uncommon species are associated with this community, including Houstonia longifolia, Selaginella rupestris, Arabis missouriensis, Polygonum tenue, Scutellaria parvula var. missouriensis (= Scutellaria parvula var. leonardii), Muhlenbergia capillaris, Pycnanthemum torrei, and Pycnanthemum clinopodioides.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus virginiana G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Rosa carolina G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Arabis missouriensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Helianthemum bicknellii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Houstonia longifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polygonum tenue G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pycnanthemum torrei G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Scutellaria parvula var. missouriensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solidago nemoralis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Trichostema brachiatum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Selaginella rupestris G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Danthonia spicata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Muhlenbergia capillaris G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Poa compressa G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides
  (Basil Mountainmint)
G1G2  
Pycnanthemum torrei
  (Torrey's Mountainmint)
G2  
Vegetation Structure Summary: This community occurs as exposed, mainly herbaceous openings on ridgetops of resistant mafic rock. Tree cover is sparse, ranging from 5-30% cover (average 20%) with Juniperus virginiana being the most constant canopy tree. The herbaceous layer usually covers 12-50% of the ground. Occurrences are generally less than 0.1 ha in size.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This sparse woodland occurs primarily on exposed outcrops of basaltic rock in the Connecticut Valley of New England and the Piedmont physiographic province in New Jersey and adjacent Pennsylvania. While most sites are on igneous rock, along the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it occurs on conglomerates of the Shawangunk Formation. Sites supporting this community are upper slopes of basalt, diorite, or conglomerate ridges from 365-1050 m elevation. The ridges are characteristically south- or west-facing and range in slope from 5-30°. Most sites have minimal soil development. In New Hampshire, this type only occurs in the Pawtuckaway Mountains, where the stand clings to exposed south to southeast-facing mafic outcrops in several locations in the ring dike complex.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The role of fire in maintaining these sites is unclear, but several authors suspect that the open structure reflects a history of burning in addition to an edaphic restriction.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 26Oct2018
Element Description Author(s): M. Anderson, S.C. Gawler and D. Faber-Langendoen
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Oct2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke, mod. S.C. Gawler, L.A. Sneddon and D. Faber-Langendoen

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


References
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.

  • Lee, C. 1985. West Rock to the Barndoor Hills, the traprock ridges of Connecticut. Vegetation of the Connecticut Natural Areas No. 4. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut. 60 pp.

  • Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

  • Livingston, R. B., and B. E. Lund. 1982. Microclimates and vegetation of the Holyoke Range, Massachusetts. Unpublished report. Department of Botany, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford, CT.

  • Motzkin, G. 1993. Uncommon plant communities of the Connecticut Valley, Massachusetts. Report submitted to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Boston, MA. 58 pp.

  • NYNHP [New York Natural Heritage Program]. 2009. New York Natural Heritage Conservation Guides. New York Natural Heritage Program, Albany, NY. [http://www.nynhp.org/] (accessed 2009)

  • Nichols, G. E. 1914. The vegetation of Connecticut: III. Plant societies on uplands. Torreya 14:167-194.

  • ONHIC [Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Unpublished data. Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario, Canada.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, E. Eastman, L. A. Sneddon, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Classification and mapping of vegetation and fire fuel models at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2007/076. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 2 volumes.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, M. Furedi, B. A. Eichelberger, A. Feldmann, G. Edinger, E. Eastman, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping at Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/133. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 370 pp.

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

  • Roberts, E. A. 1914. The plant successions of the Holyoke Range. Botanical Gazette 58:432-444.

  • Sechler, F. C., G. J. Edinger, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, L. A. Sneddon, C. Lea, and J. Von Loh. 2014. Vegetation classification and mapping at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, New York. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NETN/NRTR--2014/873, National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 392 pp.

  • 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]

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.

  • Walz, K. S. 1996. Final report: Ecological community inventory of High Mountain Park, Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey. The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Field Office, Chester. 120 pp.


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