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Nyssa biflora - Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum var. trilobum / Clethra alnifolia Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Swamp Tupelo - Sweetgum - Carolina Red Maple / Coastal Sweet-pepperbush Swamp Forest
Common Name: Nonriverine Swamp Forest (Sweetgum Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004679
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: In this nonriverine swamp forest, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, and Acer rubrum var. trilobum are the constant and dominant species, with lesser amounts (and lower constancy) of Ulmus rubra, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Nyssa aquatica, Populus heterophylla, Quercus laurifolia, Quercus pagoda, Quercus shumardii, Quercus lyrata, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens. Subcanopy species can include Ilex opaca, Fraxinus caroliniana, and Magnolia virginiana. Clethra alnifolia is the characteristic shrub species, and often grows densely. Typical herbs (none with high cover) are Carex gigantea, Carex louisianica, Lobelia inflata, and Saururus cernuus. This association occurs at Roquist Pocosin, near the mouth of the Roanoke River, and in other wet nonriverine flats. the species composition suggests a higher nutrient status than some other nonriverine swamp associations.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This type is less well-know than many others in terms of what we know about its ecology. The canopy composition is largely of tree species that are considered rather weedy, and may somewhat reflect universal alteration of the few examples rather than fully natural condition. More degraded examples are difficult to tell from degraded examples of CEGL007447 and CEGL007449, which may have Liquidambar-Acer canopies. Liquidambar is fairly strongly indicative of mineral soils in nonriverine situations and distinguishes this type from other nonriverine swamp forests even in degraded condition (M. Schafale pers. comm.).

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.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Basin Swamp & Flatwoods
Group Coastal Plain Hardwood Basin Swamp
Alliance Tupelo Nonriverine Seepage Flat Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004649 Pinus taeda - Acer rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua / Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta Ruderal Wet Forest
CEGL007447 Quercus laurifolia - Nyssa biflora / Clethra alnifolia - Leucothoe axillaris Wet Forest
CEGL007449 Quercus michauxii - Quercus pagoda / Clethra alnifolia - Leucothoe axillaris Wet Flatwoods 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
North Carolina Nonriverine Swamp Forest (Sweetgum Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Nonriverine Swamp Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
Related Concept Name: Nonriverine Swamp Forest (Sweetgum Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.304 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Nonriverine Swamp and Wet Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2? (31Jan2007)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This is a nonriverine swamp forest which occurs in a very limited area of habitat in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. It occurs on mineral soils, in contrast to most of the other nonriverine swamp forests. It is very wet, but the mineral soil makes it more convertible (to pine plantations and even cropland) than the others. Few examples of this community remain, and many of these are in degraded condition. Threats include conversion to pine plantation, timber removal and site preparation, grazing, clearing for agriculture, agricultural inputs, and artificial drainage and watershed alteration, including road building and development, all of which can alter the natural hydrologic regime.

There are 12 occurrences in North Carolina (NCNHP unpubl. data 2004). Many of these are associated with other nonriverine swamp forests and the acreages are combined, but there are presumed to be less than 1000 acres represented in these occurrence records. There may be an equivalent amount (but not more) that could be located and documented in North Carolina, with these undiscovered examples being generally smaller and poorer. Some may be "hidden" within larger areas of known organic nonriverine swamps. The total acreage in NC is probably only around 1000 acres. There is probably less acreage in Virginia; the status in South Carolina is unclear.

This type is not extremely threatened, other than by its inherent rarity. It is somewhat self-protecting by its wetness and by wetland regulations, but is on the more exploitable end of the range for wetlands. Clearcutting and conversion are the its major threats. Its relative lack of merchantable timber makes it less heavily sought out for timber harvest as are the oak-containing nonriverine wet hardwood forests (e.g., CEGL007449 and CEGL007447). Some of our examples are on public lands that consist mostly of less usable land, so they are at risk of being the chosen sites for any disturbing activities. There are five occurrences on public lands (in North Carolina), but these can not be considered to be fully protected.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs in a very limited area of the outer Coastal Plain of North Carolina (and possibly adjacent states).

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: In stands of this association, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, and Acer rubrum var. trilobum are the constant and dominant species, with lesser amounts (and lower constancy) of Ulmus rubra, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Nyssa aquatica, Populus heterophylla, Quercus laurifolia, Quercus pagoda, Quercus shumardii, Quercus lyrata, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens. Subcanopy species can include Ilex opaca, Fraxinus caroliniana, and Magnolia virginiana. Clethra alnifolia is the characteristic shrub species, and often grows densely. Typical herbs (none with high cover) are Carex gigantea, Carex louisianica, Lobelia inflata, and Saururus cernuus.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is found in wet nonriverine flats of the Coastal Plain.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association may be the "climax" equivalent of Pinus taeda - Acer rubrum - Liquidambar styraciflua / Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta Ruderal Wet Forest (CEGL004649) (M.P. Schafale pers. comm. 2004).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.K. Rice and R.K. Peet
Element Description Edition Date: 31Jan2005
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne and J. Teague
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Schafale, mod. 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
  • NCNHP [North Carolina Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Unpublished data. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.


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