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Pinus virginiana - Juniperus virginiana / Schizachyrium scoparium - Eriogonum allenii Wooded Grassland
Translated Name: Virginia Pine - Eastern Red-cedar / Little Bluestem - Shale Barren Buckwheat Wooded Grassland
Common Name: Central Appalachian Shale Ridge Prairie/Bald
Unique Identifier: CEGL008530
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These rocky ridge balds are found on upper slopes and ridge crests in a small area of west-central Virginia. Sites for this association include broad, gently to steeply sloping, south- to west-facing spur ridge crests and middle to upper, convex sideslopes. Elevations range from 400 to 900 m. Physiognomy of this shale barren community varies from entirely herbaceous to sparse scrub or woodland. Woody strata, when present, are dominated by scattered Pinus virginiana and/or Juniperus virginiana <10 m tall. Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, Carya glabra, Fraxinus americana, and Celtis tenuifolia are minor, inconstant woody components. Rhus aromatica and Rosa carolina are occasional shrubs. The herb layer is typically rather dense and graminoid-dominated, often giving stands a prairie-like aspect. Schizachyrium scoparium and Carex pensylvanica are consistently dominant herbs, while Danthonia spicata and Dichanthelium linearifolium are constant, locally codominant associates. Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans are abundant in a few stands. The shale barren endemic Eriogonum allenii is the most constant and abundant forb. Other relatively constant herbs are Paronychia montana, Houstonia longifolia, Asplenium platyneuron, Allium cernuum, Sedum glaucophyllum, Trifolium virginicum, Cheilanthes lanosa, Polygonum tenue, Scutellaria ovata, Cunila origanoides, and Polygonum scandens var. cristatum. Several other shale barren endemics (or near-endemics) may occasionally occur in this type as well, including Antennaria virginica, Arabis serotina, Clematis albicoma, Clematis viticaulis, Oenothera argillicola, Packera antennariifolia (= Senecio antennariifolius), and Trifolium virginicum. This association is distinguished from other shale barrens by its more open physiognomy (often with few or no trees), low importance or absence of Fraxinus americana and Quercus prinus, and high frequency and often high cover of Schizachyrium scoparium. This association occurs only on Devonian and Silurian shale geology. It is most closely related to the circumneutral-calcareous shale barrens and endemic-rich barrens, and differs to a greater degree from the more depauperate acidic shale barren associations. Besides Eriogonum, indicators include Sedum glaucophyllum, Polygonum tenue, Scutellaria ovata, Clematis viticaulis, and Woodsia obtusa.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: Some examples of this community type, occurring on spur ridge crests, have been referred to colloquially as "shale ridge balds." Although it shares many species with the more widespread "southern" Central Appalachian shale barren community, Pinus virginiana - Quercus prinus / Packera antennariifolia - Phlox subulata Woodland (CEGL006562), this association can be distinguished by its more stable habitats on upper slopes and crests, higher soil fertility, and dense, often prairie-like stands of perennial grasses. Among the shale barren endemics, Eriogonum allenii is most constant and abundant in this type, while Packera antennariifolia is most characteristic of CEGL006562.

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 Virginia Pine - Table Mountain Pine Woodland & Barrens
Alliance Appalachian Pine - Oak Acidic Shale Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006037 Juniperus virginiana - Fraxinus americana / Carex pensylvanica - Cheilanthes lanosa Open Woodland
CEGL006562 Pinus virginiana - Quercus prinus / Packera antennariifolia - Phlox subulata Woodland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: (Pinus virginiana, Juniperus virginiana) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Eriogonum allenii Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
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: Central Appalachian Shale Barren
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.598 Appalachian Shale Barrens


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (01Oct2001)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: There are fewer than 25 examples of this community type currently known and it is doubtful that many additional occurrences will be discovered. Most of the known examples are protected as Special Biological Areas by the Forest Service.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community appears to be endemic to a small area in the Ridge and Valley region of west-central Virginia (Bath, Alleghany, Highland, Augusta, and Rockbridge counties),where shale barrens are most numerous and rich in endemic and near-endemic flora.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Physiognomy of this shale barren community varies from entirely herbaceous to sparse scrub or woodland. Woody strata, when present, are dominated by scattered Pinus virginiana and/or Juniperus virginiana <10 m tall. Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, and Carya glabra are minor, inconstant woody components. Rhus aromatica and Rosa carolina are occasional shrubs. The herb layer is typically rather dense and graminoid-dominated, often giving stands a prairie-like aspect. Schizachyrium scoparium and Carex pensylvanica are consistently dominant herbs, while Danthonia spicata and Dichanthelium linearifolium are constant, locally codominant associates. Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans are abundant in a few stands. The shale barren endemic Eriogonum allenii is the most constant and abundant forb. Other relatively constant herbs include shale barren endemics Paronychia montana and Scutellaria ovata, along with the more widely distributed species Houstonia longifolia, Asplenium platyneuron, Allium cernuum, Sedum glaucophyllum, Trifolium virginicum, Cheilanthes lanosa, Polygonum tenue, Cunila origanoides, Woodsia obtusa, and Polygonum scandens var. cristatum. Species richness (mean = 27 taxa per 100 sqm and 33 taxa per 400 sqm) appears to be somewhat limited by the dense cover of tussock-forming, warm-season grasses. Rare species associated with this community include Arabis serotina, Bromus kalmii, and Clematis viticaulis. Endemic or near-endemic shale barren plants recorded in stands of this type are Eriogonum allenii, Oenothera argillicola, Packera antennariifolia, and Trifolium virginicum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus virginiana G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pinus virginiana G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Rhus aromatica G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Clematis viticaulis G2 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Arabis serotina G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Eriogonum allenii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Oenothera argillicola G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Packera antennariifolia G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Paronychia montana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Trifolium virginicum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Cheilanthes lanosa G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Sedum glaucophyllum G2 Succulent forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Bromus kalmii G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Dichanthelium linearifolium G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Arabis serotina
  (Shale Barren Rockcress)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Clematis viticaulis
  (Millboro Leatherflower)
G1  
Oenothera argillicola
  (Shale Barren Evening-primrose)
G3G4  
Pyrgus wyandot
  (Appalachian Grizzled Skipper)
G1G2Q  
Trifolium virginicum
  (Kate's Mountain Clover)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Sites for this association include broad, gently to steeply sloping, south- to west-facing spur ridge crests and middle to upper, convex sideslopes. These habitats are located entirely away from, or at the upslope edges of, ongoing erosional processes produced by stream incision. This association occurs only on Devonian and Silurian shale geology. Although characterized by high surface cover of rock fragments, soil environments are more stabilized than those occupied by Pinus virginiana - Quercus prinus / Packera antennariifolia - Phlox subulata Woodland (CEGL006562). In addition, soil fertility is considerably greater, with moderately high mean calcium (1500 ppm) and magnesium (175 ppm) levels in samples collected from plots.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming, mod. G.P. Fleming and P. Coulling
Element Description Edition Date: 05Jun2007
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming, P. Coulling, S.C. Gawler and K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Oct2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): 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
  • 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., 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 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.

  • 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.


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