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Quercus coccinea - Quercus velutina / Sassafras albidum / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
Translated Name: Scarlet Oak - Black Oak / Sassafras / Blue Ridge Blueberry Forest
Common Name: Northeastern Coastal Oak / Heath Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006375
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This dry coastal and coastal plain oak-heath forest of New England and the northeastern Coastal Plain occurs on rapidly drained, nutrient-poor, sandy or gravelly soils. North of the glacial border, these soils are typically found on till or outwash. The canopy is dominated by Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, and Quercus alba, the latter species particularly characteristic of gravel substrates. Other less abundant canopy associates include Quercus prinus, Betula lenta, and Ilex opaca (usually less than 15% cover). Pinus rigida is a common associate but occurs at low cover. Sassafras albidum may occur in low cover and may indicate influence by coastal (but not maritime) climate where this type occurs. Castanea dentata saplings can be common. A 'lawn-like' dwarf-shrub heath layer dominated by Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Gaylussacia baccata is characteristic. Gaylussacia frondosa also occurs in some stands. The herbaceous layer is typically sparse, with Carex pensylvanica, Pteridium aquilinum, and Gaultheria procumbens being the most common. Herb diversity is greater in small canopy gaps, where Helianthemum canadense, Tephrosia virginiana, Aureolaria spp., Lespedeza spp., Lechea spp., and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi occur.

In New Jersey, this type ranges throughout the Coastal Plain and the central Pinelands. It includes oak-pine forests with a low heath stratum, found on sandy to loamy soils in the Pinelands. The forests often have a closed to partially-closed canopy characterized by dry-site oaks such as Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, and Quercus stellata. Tree oak cover is typically 50-100%, and shrub oaks are rare or absent. Associate canopy species include Pinus rigida and/or Pinus echinata, with covers typically 5-10% (up to 25%). Sassafras albidum is often present in small amounts in the canopy and midstory. Fire-sensitive hardwoods and holly are absent. Low heath shrubs include Gaylussacia baccata, Gaylussacia frondosa, and Vaccinium pallidum, while some areas can have Kalmia latifolia joining the shrub layer. Herbs are sparse but often include Pteridium aquilinum, Gaultheria procumbens and Melampyrum lineare, with Tephrosia virginiana and Carex pensylvanica in openings.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

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 North Atlantic Maritime & Coastal Plain Forest
Alliance Coastal Plain Oak - Pitch Pine Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL005030 Quercus velutina - Quercus alba / Vaccinium (angustifolium, pallidum) / Carex pensylvanica Forest
CEGL006336 Quercus (alba, rubra, velutina) - Carya spp. / Viburnum acerifolium 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
Connecticut Quercus rubra - Quercus velutina / Vaccinium pallidum community Intersects   Metzler and Barrett 2006
Massachusetts Black Oak - Scarlet Oak Woodland Intersects   Swain and Kearsley 2001
Massachusetts Coastal Forest/Woodland Intersects   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Dry Appalachian oak forest Equivalent   Sperduto and Nichols 2004
New Jersey Dry oak-pine forest Undetermined   Breden 1989
New York Coastal oak-heath forest Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Rhode Island Mixed Oak-Pine Forest Broader   Enser 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus velutina / Vaccinium pallidum community
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Black oak savanna
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: CNE Mesic hardwood Forest on acidic bedrock / till
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: Central Pinelands Oak - Pine Forest (OP1)
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Oak Forest Community (on Uplands)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Lundgren, J. 2000. Lower New England - Northern Piedmont Ecoregion Forest Classification. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Science, Boston, MA. 72 pp.
Related Concept Name: Maritime forest
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: Oak - Heath Forest (OE1)
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Oak - Heath Successional Woodland (SOE)
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Oak - Pine Successional Woodland (SOP)
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.
Related Concept Name: Oak-Mixed Heath Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Greller, A. M. 1977. A classification of mature forests on Long Island, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 104:376-382.
Related Concept Name: Southern New England oak / pine forest on sandy / gravelly soils
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.475 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dry Oak-Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type occurs in coastal areas from New Hampshire to New Jersey.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This dry coastal oak-heath forest is dominated by Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, and Quercus alba, the latter species particularly characteristic of gravel substrates. Other less abundant canopy associates include Quercus prinus, Betula lenta, and Ilex opaca (usually less than 15% cover). Pinus rigida is a common associate but occurs at low cover. Sassafras albidum may occur in low cover and may indicate influence by coastal (but not maritime) climate where this type occurs. Castanea dentata saplings can be common. A 'lawn-like' dwarf-shrub heath layer dominated by Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Gaylussacia baccata is characteristic. Gaylussacia frondosa also occurs in some stands. The herbaceous layer is typically sparse, with Carex pensylvanica, Pteridium aquilinum, and Gaultheria procumbens being the most common. Herb diversity is greater in small canopy gaps, where Helianthemum canadense, Tephrosia virginiana, Aureolaria spp., Lespedeza spp., Lechea spp., and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi occur.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus alba GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus coccinea GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus velutina GNR Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Gaylussacia baccata GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Vaccinium angustifolium GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Gaultheria procumbens GNR Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Pteridium aquilinum GNR Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex pensylvanica GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on rapidly drained, nutrient-poor, sandy or gravelly soils. North of the glacial border, these soils are typically found on till or outwash.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This is a coastal forest that occurs beyond direct influence of maritime processes.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D. Hunt (NYNHP)
Element Description Edition Date: 31Jul2015
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid and L.A. Sneddon

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.

  • Clark, J. S. 1986a. Vegetation and land-use history of the William Floyd Estate, Fire Island National Seashore, Long Island, New York. USDI, National Park Service, North Atlantic Region, Office of Scientific Studies. 126 pp.

  • 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.

  • Enser, R. W., and J. A. Lundgren. 2006. Natural communities of Rhode Island. A joint project of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Natural History Survey, Kingston. 40 pp. [www.rinhs.org]

  • Greller, A. M. 1977. A classification of mature forests on Long Island, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 104:376-382.

  • Klopfer, S. D., A. Olivero, L. Sneddon, and J. Lundgren. 2002. Final report of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Project at Fire Island National Seashore. Conservation Management Institute, GIS & Remote Sensing Division, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. 193 pp.

  • Lundgren, J. 2000. Lower New England - Northern Piedmont Ecoregion Forest Classification. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Science, Boston, MA. 72 pp.

  • 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., and D. R. Foster. 2002. Grasslands, heathlands and shrublands in coastal New England: Historical interpretations and approaches to conservation. Journal of Biogeography 29:1569-1590. [http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/sites/harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/files/publications/pdfs/Motzkin_JBiogeography_2002_Grasslands.pdf]

  • NatureServe. 2009. Vegetation of the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. International Ecological Classification Standard: Terrestrial Ecological Classifications. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, VA. U.S.A. Data current as of 1 December 2009.

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

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 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]

  • Windisch, A .G. 2014a. Pinelands ecological communities and higher level groups with crosswalk / proposed 2008 revisions to NVC. November 16, 2014 draft. New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Trenton.


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