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Magnolia virginiana - Persea palustris / Lyonia lucida Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Sweetbay - Swamp Bay / Shining Fetterbush Swamp Forest
Common Name: Outer Coastal Plain Sweetbay Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007049
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This saturated forest of the Outer Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States has a low diversity of vascular plants. Sites include stream-associated flats, stringers and isolated peaty wetlands. The canopy is dominated by Magnolia virginiana and Persea palustris, sometimes one or the other, and rarely also Gordonia lasianthus. Additional possible components of the canopy are Nyssa biflora, Taxodium ascendens, Ilex cassine, Acer rubrum, and Cliftonia monophylla. Sometimes there is a very sparse emergent component of Pinus elliottii or Pinus serotina. The shrub layer may be dominated by Lyonia lucida and can also include Ilex coriacea, Ilex opaca, Ilex cassine, Morella cerifera, Clethra alnifolia, Serenoa repens, and others. Vines are mainly Smilax laurifolia but also include Vitis rotundifolia and Toxicodendron radicans. Herbaceous flora is sparse to absent but can include Osmunda cinnamomea, Woodwardia areolata, and Woodwardia virginica. The epiphyte Tillandsia usneoides may be present. Scattered Sphagnum patches occur. This community sometimes occurs in association with Cliftonia monophylla forests, in which case it occurs in slightly drier (though still saturated) situations. In northeastern Florida, at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (including Fort Caroline National Memorial), dead and dying Persea palustris indicate that these sweetbay forests are being affected by laurel wilt, which is caused by a vascular wilt fungus that is transmitted to species in the Lauraceae family via the non-native redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: Examples are found at Sandy Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina, and Fort Caroline (part of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve), Jacksonville, Florida.

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 Evergreen Hardwood - Conifer Swamp
Group Coastal Plain Mixed Evergreen Swamp
Alliance Bay Swamp Forest

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



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
Alabama Magnolia virginiana - Persea palustris / Lyonia lucida Forest Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Florida Baygall Broader   FNAI 1997


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Floodplain Swamp, Sweet Bay Swamp subtype
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992b. Natural community classification. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 16 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.267 Atlantic Coastal Plain Peatland Pocosin and Canebrake
CES203.505 Southern Coastal Plain Seepage Swamp and Baygall


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3? (31Jan2001)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This bay forest type is limited to acidic peaty soils of the Outer Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. It appears to be uncommon, though additional information is needed on its extent and conservation status. Nearly all examples have been altered by timber harvest.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ALpotentially occurs, FL, GA, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This bay forest is limited to acidic peaty soils of the Outer Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States from South Carolina to Florida and possibly Alabama.

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: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Florida Coastal Lowlands (Western) Section
Section Code: 232D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy of stands is dominated by Magnolia virginiana and/or Persea palustris (and rarely also Gordonia lasianthus). Additional typically less important components of the canopy are Nyssa biflora, Taxodium ascendens, Ilex cassine, Acer rubrum, and Cliftonia monophylla. Sometimes there is a very sparse emergent component of Pinus elliottii or Pinus serotina. The shrub layer may be dominated by Lyonia lucida, and can also include Ilex coriacea, Ilex cassine, Ilex opaca, Morella cerifera, Clethra alnifolia, Serenoa repens, Gaylussacia mosieri, Rhododendron viscosum, Ilex glabra, Hamamelis virginiana, and Leucothoe racemosa. Vines are mainly Smilax laurifolia but also include Vitis rotundifolia and Toxicodendron radicans. Herbaceous flora is sparse to absent, but can include Osmunda cinnamomea, Woodwardia areolata, and Woodwardia virginica. The epiphyte Tillandsia usneoides may be present. Scattered Sphagnum patches occur. Stands of this forest typically have a low diversity of vascular plants. On Jekyll Island, Georgia, a stand dominated by large Nyssa biflora has been assigned here. In this stand, Persea palustris forms a distinct understory layer. Persea palustris and Lyonia ferruginea make up a tall-shrub layer. Ilex cassine and Ilex opaca may also be scattered in the tall-shrub layer. Morella cerifera and Persea palustris dominate the short-shrub layer. In some areas, the shrub layer becomes dense with Serenoa repens and Lyonia lucida. Few or no herbs are present, although Woodwardia areolata and Woodwardia virginica do occur where shrubs are less dense. A site in Bradwell Bay, Apalachicola National Forest, Florida, burned in a high-intensity wildfire in 1998. It is a regenerating stand of Magnolia virginiana with some Pinus elliottii and Pinus serotina. Lyonia lucida is a dominant shrub. The herbaceous flora is sparse but somewhat more diverse than other examples of this association.

A plot classified here from Fort Gordon, Georgia (232Bq; somewhat northerly and inland for this association), has a canopy dominated by a combination of Pinus taeda and Quercus nigra with Acer rubrum and Liriodendron tulipifera. The subcanopy is dominated by Magnolia virginiana and Gordonia lasianthus, with Ilex opaca and Oxydendrum arboreum; it lacks Nyssa biflora. The dominant shrub is Ilex coriacea, with Kalmia latifolia, Lyonia lucida, Persea palustris, Rhododendron viscosum, Symplocos tinctoria, and Itea virginica. Vines include Bignonia capreolata, Smilax laurifolia, and Vitis rotundifolia. Herbs are few, including Mitchella repens, Osmunda cinnamomea, and Carex spp. Its proper placement is unclear, but the attributions of this association (CEGL007049) to Fort Gordon and 232Bq are based on this plot.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Nyssa ursina G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Magnolia virginiana G3 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Persea palustris G3 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Lyonia lucida G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Nyssa ursina
  (Bear Tupelo)
G2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community sometimes occurs in association with Cliftonia monophylla forests, in which case it occurs in slightly drier (though still saturated) situations. Sites include stream-associated flats, stringers and isolated peaty wetlands.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association is subject to flooding, especially following hurricanes. An example of this association burned in a high-intensity wildfire in 1998 at Bradwell Bay, Apalachicola National Forest. In northeastern Florida, at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (including Fort Caroline National Memorial), dead and dying Persea palustris indicate that these sweetbay forests are being affected by laurel wilt, which is caused by a vascular wilt fungus that is transmitted to species in the Lauraceae family via. the non-native redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C.W. Nordman and A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 10Sep2008
Element Description Author(s): C.W. Nordman, M. Pyne and H. Summer
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley

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


References
  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992a. Natural communities. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 6 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992b. Natural community classification. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 16 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

  • Hillestad, H. O., J. R. Bozeman, A. S. Johnson, C. W. Berisford, and J. I. Richardson. 1975. The ecology of the Cumberland Island National Seashore, Camden County, Georgia. Technical Report Series No. 75-5. Georgia Marine Sciences Center, Skidway Island, GA.

  • 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.


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