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Picea mariana - (Larix laricina) / Ledum groenlandicum / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Black Spruce - (Tamarack) / Bog Labrador-tea / Peatmoss species Swamp Forest
Common Name: Black Spruce - Tamarack / Labrador-tea Poor Swamp
Unique Identifier: CEGL005271
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is found in the northern Great Lakes and Northern Appalachian/Boreal region of the United States and Canada and elsewhere in the boreal regions of central and eastern Canada. Sites are found on level, wet sites with organic soils, but not generally as components of large open peatlands. These sites are poorly drained and acidic, allowing a moderate to thick layer of peat to accumulate. Nutrient levels are very low. The overstory of this community is dominated by conifers. The tree canopy is closed to broken to closed with a moderately well-developed low-shrub layer, sparse herbaceous layer, and a carpet of mosses. The canopy is often pure Picea mariana. The only other trees that are occasionally found with it are Abies balsamea, Larix laricina, and Pinus banksiana. The shrubs are primarily ericaceous and include Chamaedaphne calyculata, Gaultheria hispidula, Kalmia polifolia, Ledum groenlandicum, and Vaccinium myrtilloides, as well as Cornus canadensis. In the Northeast, shrubs may include Kalmia angustifolia, Ilex mucronata, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, or Rhododendron canadense. The few herbaceous species that live in this community include Carex trisperma, Eriophorum vaginatum var. spissum, Clintonia borealis, and Maianthemum trifolium. Sphagnum spp., Dicranum polysetum, and Pleurozium schreberi are the major species constituting the abundant moss layer.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: This type represents poor black spruce swamps in closed peatland basins. Conceptually, it overlaps with black spruce bog forests, Picea mariana / Ledum groenlandicum / Carex trisperma / Sphagnum spp. Open Bog Woodland (CEGL002485), which are more typically found in open peatland complexes. This type is found in smaller basins, where a weakly minerotrophic influence is more likely. In the Northern Appalachian/Boreal ecoregion, Abies balsamea differentiates this type from bogs of lower elevations and latitudes. Stands in northeast U.S. and Canada may also contain a suite of shrub species, such as Kalmia angustifolia, Ilex mucronata, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, or Rhododendron canadense. These species differ from those in the midwestern U.S. and central Canada, but their constancy in this type needs further evaluation.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.5 - Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.5.Na - North American Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup North American Boreal Conifer Poor Swamp
Group Ontario-Québec Boreal Black Spruce Poor Swamp
Alliance Eastern Boreal Black Spruce Poor Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002447 Picea mariana / Pleurozium schreberi Forest
CEGL002452 Picea mariana / Alnus incana / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL002471 Larix laricina / Alnus incana Swamp Forest
CEGL002485 Picea mariana / Ledum groenlandicum / Carex trisperma / Sphagnum spp. Open Bog Woodland
CEGL002487 Populus tremuloides - (Populus grandidentata) Rocky Woodland
CEGL005166 Pinus banksiana - (Picea mariana) - Mixed Hardwoods / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006098 Picea mariana / (Vaccinium corymbosum, Gaylussacia baccata) / Sphagnum sp. Swamp Woodland



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
Maine Spruce - larch wooded bog Broader   Gawler 2002
Michigan Poor Conifer Swamp Broader   Kost et al. 2007
Minnesota Poor Black Spruce Swamp Type Finer   MNNHP 2005
Minnesota Poor Tamarack - Black Spruce Swamp Type Finer   MNNHP 2005
Minnesota Poor Tamarack - Black Spruce Swamp; Black Spruce Subtype Finer   MNNHP 2005
Minnesota Poor Tamarack - Black Spruce Swamp; Tamarack Subtype Finer   MNNHP 2005
New York Black spruce-tamarack bog Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Vermont Black Spruce Swamp Equivalent   Thompson and Sorenson 2005
Wisconsin Black spruce swamp Broader   WNHI unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carex trisperma - Black spruce forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Damman, A. W. H., and T. W. French. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: A community profile. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Report 85(7.16). 100 pp.
Related Concept Name: Habenario - Picetum Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Janssen, C. R. 1967. A floristic study of forests and bog vegetation, northwestern Minnesota. Ecology 48(5):751-765.
Related Concept Name: Picea mariana - (Larix laricina) / Ledum groenlandicum / Sphagnum spp. Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).
Related Concept Name: Black Spruce (eastern type): 12
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Black Spruce - Kalmia Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kurmis, V., S. L. Webb, and L. C. Merriam. 1986. Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Botany 64:531-540.
Related Concept Name: Black Spruce / Herb Poor / Sphagnum (Feathermoss)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Zoladeski, C. A., G. M. Wickware, R. J. Delorme, R. A. Sims, and I. G. W. Corns. 1995. Forest ecosystem classification for Manitoba: Field guide. Special Report 2. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Center, Edmonton, Alberta.
Related Concept Name: Poor Conifer Swamp - Black Spruce (Tamarack) Swamp
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Chapman, K. A., D. A. Albert, and G. A. Reese. 1989. Draft descriptions of Michigan's natural community types. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI. 35 pp.
Related Concept Name: Spring-fen forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Glaser, P. H. 1992b. Vegetation and water chemistry. Pages 15-26 in: H. E. Wright, Jr., B. A. Coffin, and N. E. Aaseng, editors. The patterned peatlands of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES103.581 Eastern Boreal-Sub-boreal Bog
CES103.724 Eastern Boreal-Sub-boreal Conifer Acidic Swamp and Treed Poor Fen


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (27Jun2000)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, VT, WI
Canadian Province Distribution: MB, NB, ON, QCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This community is found in the northern Great Lakes region and Northern Appalachian-Acadian region of the United States and Canada and elsewhere in the boreal regions of central Canada. It ranges from northern Michigan to northern Minnesota, and northward to parts of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Aroostook Hills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Maine-New Brunswick Foothills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Great Lakes Section
Section Code: 212H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lake Superior Section
Section Code: 212I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Superior Uplands Section
Section Code: 212J Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Western Superior Uplands Section
Section Code: 212K Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Superior Uplands Section
Section Code: 212L Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Minnesota and Ontario Section
Section Code: 212M Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Minnesota Drift and Lake Plains Section
Section Code: 212N Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Division Name: Warm Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Adirondack-New England Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: White Mountain Section
Section Code: M212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Vermont-New Hampshire Upland Section
Section Code: M212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Adirondack Mountain Section
Section Code: M212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The overstory of this community is dominated by conifers. The tree canopy is closed to broken with a moderately well-developed low-shrub layer, sparse herbaceous layer, and a carpet of mosses (Kurmis et al. 1986). The canopy is often pure Picea mariana. Abies balsamea can be present as a codominant. The only other trees that are occasionally found with it are Larix laricina and Pinus banksiana (Sims et al. 1989). The shrubs are primarily ericaceous and include Chamaedaphne calyculata, Gaultheria hispidula, Kalmia polifolia, Ledum groenlandicum, and Vaccinium spp., as well as Cornus canadensis. In the Northeast, shrubs may include Kalmia angustifolia, Ilex mucronata (= Nemopanthus mucronatus), Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, or Rhododendron canadense. The few herbaceous species that live in this community include Carex lasiocarpa, Carex trisperma, Eriophorum vaginatum var. spissum, Clintonia borealis, Coptis trifolia, and Maianthemum trifolium. Dicranum polysetum, Sphagnum spp., and Pleurozium schreberi are the major species constituting the abundant moss layer (Damman and French 1987, Sims et al. 1989, Harris et al. 1996). Localized minerotrophic areas may contain a more diverse herbaceous layer, including species such as Osmunda cinnamomea.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Picea mariana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Ledum groenlandicum G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community is found on level, wet sites with organic soils (Zoladeski et al. 1995). These sites are poorly to very poorly drained and acidic, allowing a moderate to thick layer of peat to accumulate. Nutrient levels are very low (Kurmis et al. 1986).


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen (2001)
Element Description Edition Date: 27Jun2000
Element Description Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 27Jun2000

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


References
  • Anderson, D. S., and R. B. Davis. 1997. The vegetation and its environment in Maine peatlands. Canadian Journal of Botany 75:1785-1805.

  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

  • Chapman, K. A., D. A. Albert, and G. A. Reese. 1989. Draft descriptions of Michigan's natural community types. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI. 35 pp.

  • Damman, A. W. H., and T. W. French. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: A community profile. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Report 85(7.16). 100 pp.

  • 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.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).

  • Farrand, W. R., and D. L. Bell. 1982. Quaternary geology of northern Michigan. University of Michigan, Lansing.

  • Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Glaser, P. H. 1992b. Vegetation and water chemistry. Pages 15-26 in: H. E. Wright, Jr., B. A. Coffin, and N. E. Aaseng, editors. The patterned peatlands of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN.

  • Greenall, J. A. 1996. Manitoba's terrestrial plant communities. MS Report 96-02. Manitoba Conservation Data Centre, Winnipeg.

  • Harris, A. G., S. C. McMurray, P. W. C. Uhlig, J. K. Jeglum, R. F. Foster, and G. D. Racey. 1996. Field guide to the wetland ecosystem classification for northwestern Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Technology, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Field guide FG-01. 74 pp. plus appendix.

  • Hop, K., D. Faber-Langendoen, M. Lew-Smith, N. Aaseng, and S. Lubinski. [1999]. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. USDI U.S. Geological Survey, La Crosse, WI. 210 pp.

  • Hop, K., S. Menard, J. Drake, S. Lubinski, and J. Dieck. 2010a. National Park Service Vegetation Inventory Program: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin. Natural Resource Report NPS/GLKN/NRR-2010/199. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 310 pp.

  • Hop, K., S. Menard, J. Drake, S. Lubinski, and J. Dieck. 2010c. National Park Service Vegetation Inventory Program: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan. Natural Resource Report NPS/GLKN/NRR-2010/201. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. 358 pp.

  • Janssen, C. R. 1967. A floristic study of forests and bog vegetation, northwestern Minnesota. Ecology 48(5):751-765.

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. [http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/reports/2007-21_Natural_Communites_of_Michigan_Classification_and_Description.pdf]

  • Kurmis, V., S. L. Webb, and L. C. Merriam. 1986. Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Botany 64:531-540.

  • Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

  • Lubinski, S., K. Hop, and S. Gawler. 2003. Vegetation Mapping Program: Acadia National Park, Maine. Report produced by U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Maine Natural Areas Program in conjunction with M. Story (NPS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator) NPS, Natural Resources Information Division, Inventory and Monitoring Program, and K. Brown (USGS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator), USGS, Center for Biological Informatics and NatureServe. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/ftp/vegmapping/acad/reports/acadrpt.pdf]

  • MNNHP [Minnesota Natural Heritage Program]. 1993. Minnesota's native vegetation: A key to natural communities. Version 1.5. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, St. Paul, MN. 110 pp.

  • Midwestern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Minneapolis, MN.

  • Minnesota DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources]. 2003-2005a. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota. Three volumes: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province (2003), The Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province (2005c), The Prairie Parkland and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands provinces (2005b). Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.

  • Minnesota DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources]. 2003. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.

  • ONHIC [Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Unpublished data. Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario, Canada.

  • Sims, R. A., W. D. Towill, K. A. Baldwin, and G. M. Wickware. 1989. Field guide to the forest ecosystem classification for northwestern Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Toronto. 191 pp.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1999b. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Classification of the vegetation of Isle Royale National Park. The Nature Conservancy, Midwest Regional Office, Minneapolis, MN, and International Headquarters, Arlington, VA. 143 pp.

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. [http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/landscapes/Book.html]

  • Zoladeski, C. A., G. M. Wickware, R. J. Delorme, R. A. Sims, and I. G. W. Corns. 1995. Forest ecosystem classification for Manitoba: Field guide. Special Report 2. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Center, Edmonton, Alberta.


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