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Quercus shumardii - Quercus michauxii - Quercus nigra / Acer barbatum - Tilia americana var. heterophylla Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Shumard Oak - Swamp Chestnut Oak - Water Oak / Southern Sugar Maple - Appalachian Basswood Swamp Forest
Common Name: Southern Interior Oak Bottomland Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL008487
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association covers bottomland forests of the southern Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina, the Piedmont-Ridge and Valley transition region of Alabama, the adjacent Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain of Georgia, and the Southern Ridge and Valley of Georgia and Tennessee. Stands occur in broad flat floodplains of medium-sized rivers, or as smaller occurrences along creeks and their adjacent floodplains. The diverse canopy is primarily composed of bottomland terrace species, but may also contain some levee species which would normally sort out better along a hydrologic gradient in the larger floodplains of the Coastal Plain. The canopy of stands is typically dominated by Quercus shumardii and Quercus michauxii with Liquidambar styraciflua and Quercus nigra. This type is found either in the outer edges of the Piedmont, in the transition area to the Ridge and Valley, or just barely coastward of the Fall-line, so Quercus pagoda is either not present at all, or if present it is at very low frequency. Other canopy and/or subcanopy species may include Acer barbatum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Tilia americana var. heterophylla, Carya cordiformis (which may have high cover), Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Juglans nigra, Quercus phellos, and Pinus taeda. Occasionally, Celtis laevigata, Platanus occidentalis or Betula nigra may be present at low values, but they are not characteristic and may signal the start of a different bottomland community type when noted in large quantities. The rare tree Quercus oglethorpensis may be present within its limited range in the driest versions of this community (e.g., in Elbert and Wilkes counties of Piedmont Georgia and Greenwood and McCormick counties of Piedmont South Carolina). Shrubs include Arundinaria gigantea (which may be dominant in some stands), Lindera benzoin, Ilex decidua, Callicarpa americana, and Corylus americana. Woody vines may be prominent in stands. The herb stratum is fairly diverse.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: As defined, the primary range of this type is in the southern part of the slate belts (Subsection 231Aa), the nearby Piedmont-Ridge and Valley transition region (Subsections 231Ac, 231Db, 231Dd) and the immediately adjacent Coastal Plain (as at Fort Benning, Georgia/Alabama) where all the rivers flow southward from the Piedmont and do not provide vectors into the Piedmont for Coastal Plain species such as Quercus pagoda, which is largely absent from stands of this type. Its range could include portions of the middle Chattahoochee River, the Savannah River and their tributaries, and the upper Saluda River, as well as the upper portions of the Flint, the Yellow River, the Oconee and Little Oconee, the Ogeechee, and their tributaries. In Alabama, in the Piedmont-Ridge and Valley transition region, this would include the Coosa and Tallapoosa and their tributaries as well. The northern extent of this type extends to the Southern Ridge and Valley of Georgia and Tennessee. The name of this association may need revision; the distinctions (floristic and nomenclatural) between this type and other more common Piedmont bottomland associations need further investigation. A study in the lower Piedmont of Alabama by Golden (1979) does not recognize an equivalent to this type, as his study site did not contain enough unimpounded bottomland to have any samples related to it.

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 Floodplain Forest
Group Oak - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Interior Swamp Chestnut Oak Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007006 Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus (phellos, nigra, alba) / Carpinus caroliniana Floodplain Forest
CEGL007356 Quercus pagoda - Quercus phellos - Quercus lyrata - Quercus michauxii / Chasmanthium latifolium Swamp 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
Alabama Quercus shumardii - Quercus michauxii - Quercus nigra / Acer barbatum - Tilia americana var. heterophylla Forest Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Alluvial river and swamp system - Piedmont
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Wharton, C. H. 1978. The natural environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta. 227 pp.
Related Concept Name: Brownwater Stream Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.323 Southern Piedmont Small Floodplain and Riparian Forest
CES202.324 Southern Piedmont Large Floodplain Forest
CES202.706 South-Central Interior Small Stream and Riparian
CES203.489 East Gulf Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.559 East Gulf Coastal Plain Small Stream and River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (24Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is restricted in range. Some examples are afforded some protection at Fort Benning (Georgia/Alabama), in the Oconee National Forest (Georgia), at Ninety Six National Historic Park (South Carolina), and in the Talladega National Forest (Alabama). Many examples have been lost to flooding from impoundments, timber removal, and conversion to agriculture or other commercial forest types. Threats include fragmentation from powerline corridors and sewerline easements, siltation from land disturbance and development upstream, and anthropogenic flooding from wildlife subimpoundments and other hydrologic enhancements. The exotic species Lonicera japonica, Ligustrum sinense, and Microstegium vimineum may invade stands of this association, especially those altered from nearby fragmentation or from siltation from land disturbance upstream. Stands on impounded rivers may suffer from altered hydrologies. This community's rank was changed from G3G4 to G3 due to its relative scarcity, the restriction of its range to small parts of 3 ecoregions, and the fact that few high-quality examples of this community are left. These communities are declining as invasive exotic plants continue to invade areas and as large-scale manipulation of the floodplain areas of South Carolina continues to occur.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GA, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This bottomland forest is found in the southern Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the Piedmont-Ridge and Valley transition region of Alabama and possibly the adjacent Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain of Georgia and Alabama. It has also been documented from the Southern Ridge and Valley of Georgia and Tennessee. Its range could include portions of the middle Chattahoochee River, the Savannah River and their tributaries, and the upper Saluda River, as well as the upper portions of the Flint, the Yellow River, the Oconee and Little Oconee, the Ogeechee, and their tributaries. In Alabama, in the Piedmont-Ridge and Valley transition region, this would include the Coosa and Tallapoosa and their tributaries as well. In the Southern Ridge and Valley of Georgia and Tennessee, it apparently includes tributaries of the Tennessee River (Lookout Creek).

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plain Middle Section
Section Code: 231B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 231C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 231D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy of stands is typically dominated by Quercus shumardii and Quercus michauxii with Liquidambar styraciflua and Quercus nigra. This type is found either in the Piedmont, in the transition area to the Ridge and Valley, or just barely coastward of the Fall-line, so Quercus pagoda is either not present at all, or if present it is at very low frequency. Other canopy and/or subcanopy species may include Acer barbatum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Tilia americana var. heterophylla, Carya cordiformis (which may have high cover), Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Juglans nigra, Quercus phellos, and Pinus taeda. Occasionally, Celtis laevigata, Platanus occidentalis or Betula nigra may be present at low values, but they are not characteristic. The rare tree Quercus oglethorpensis may be present within its limited range (e.g., in Elbert and Wilkes counties of Piedmont Georgia). Some additional subcanopy and tall-shrub components are Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Fraxinus americana, Carpinus caroliniana, Ulmus alata, Acer barbatum, Acer leucoderme, Halesia tetraptera, Carya alba, Carya ovalis, Cornus florida, Morus rubra, Prunus serotina, Ilex decidua, Cercis canadensis, Aesculus pavia, Aesculus sylvatica, and Asimina triloba. Shrubs include Arundinaria gigantea (which may be dominant in some stands), Lindera benzoin, Ilex decidua, Callicarpa americana, and Corylus americana. Woody vines may be prominent in stands. They include Toxicodendron radicans, Vitis rotundifolia, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Bignonia capreolata, Smilax bona-nox, Berchemia scandens, Campsis radicans, Clematis virginiana, Decumaria barbara, and Smilax rotundifolia. The herb stratum includes Chasmanthium latifolium, Dichanthelium boscii (= Panicum boscii), Ageratina altissima (= Eupatorium rugosum), Solidago caesia, Carex abscondita, Vernonia gigantea, Boehmeria cylindrica, Polystichum acrostichoides, Mitchella repens, Bromus pubescens, Dioscorea quaternata, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (= Aster lateriflorus), Commelina virginica, Carex crinita, Carex intumescens, Carex laxiflora, Carex picta, Carex rosea, Carex typhina, Carex venusta, Matelea carolinensis, and others. There is some concern about the identity of the Tilia americana in stands of this association. In some examples, it could be Tilia americana var. caroliniana. The exotic species Lonicera japonica, Ligustrum sinense, and Microstegium vimineum may invade stands of this association. Both of the nominal oaks may be of lesser frequency north of about the latitude of Atlanta and Athens, Georgia (Burns and Honkala 1990a).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus michauxii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus nigra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus oglethorpensis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Quercus shumardii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Acer barbatum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Tilia americana var. heterophylla G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Ligustrum sinense G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Microstegium vimineum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Lonicera japonica G3 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Quercus oglethorpensis
  (Oglethorpe's Oak)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Stands of this association occur in broad flat floodplains of medium-sized rivers, or as smaller occurrences along creeks and adjacent floodplains.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Pyne
Element Description Edition Date: 27Jun2001
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Oct2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne, mod. R. White

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


References
  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

  • Burns, R. M., and B. H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990a. Silvics of North America: Volume 1. Conifers. Agriculture Handbook 654. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. 675 pp.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • 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.

  • Wharton, C. H. 1978. The natural environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta. 227 pp.

  • White, R. D., Jr., and T. Govus. 2003. Vascular plant inventory and plant community classification for Ninety Six National Historic Site. Prepared for the National Park Service. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 146 pp.


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