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Tsuga canadensis - Acer rubrum - (Nyssa sylvatica) / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. Seep Forest
Translated Name: Eastern Hemlock - Red Maple - (Blackgum) / Great Laurel / Peatmoss species Seep Forest
Common Name: Swamp Forest - Bog (Typic Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL007565
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This palustrine forest has a closed or open canopy and an open to dense shrub layer, interspersed with small Sphagnum-herb dominated depressions. These forests are found throughout the Southern Blue Ridge, and in the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau, at elevations below 1200 m (4000 feet), in poorly drained bottomlands, generally with visible microtopography of ridges and sloughs or depressions. It often occurs near streams and is undoubtedly occasionally flooded. The canopy is composed of various mixtures of evergreen and deciduous species, often dominated by Tsuga canadensis and Acer rubrum, and less often by Liriodendron tulipifera, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus strobus, or Pinus rigida. The dominant shrubs are usually Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, and Leucothoe fontanesiana, but other shrubs include Salix nigra, Alnus serrulata, Ilex montana, Cornus amomum, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, and Toxicodendron vernix. Herbs in Sphagnum-herb dominated openings include Solidago patula var. patula, Symphyotrichum puniceum (= Aster puniceus), Dalibarda repens, Osmunda cinnamomea, Carex folliculata, Carex gynandra, Carex scabrata, Carex leptalea, Carex stricta, Sarracenia purpurea, Sagittaria latifolia (= var. pubescens), and Leersia virginica. Herbs in the forested areas include Glyceria melicaria, Lycopodium obscurum, Onoclea sensibilis, Maianthemum canadense, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: Canopy dominants vary with elevation. Occurrences at lower elevations tend to be dominated by Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, and/or Nyssa sylvatica, while examples at higher elevations are usually dominated by Tsuga canadensis. This community is naturally rare, due to the scarcity of flat, wet sites in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cumberland Mountains. Its rarity is also due to anthropogenic factors, being located in accessible, low-elevation sites which are prone to logging and agricultural activities. Most historic occurrences of this community have been destroyed or strongly altered by draining, impoundment, or conversion to pasture. This community extends to a few sites in the Appalachian Plateau of Kentucky, where similar seeps are known, but these lack Leucothoe fontanesiana and Sarracenia purpurea. Higher elevation bogs exist in the Smokies and other portions of the Blue Ridge [see Calamagrostis cainii - Carex ruthii - Parnassia asarifolia / Sphagnum spp. Herbaceous Seep (CEGL007877) and Carex gynandra - Platanthera clavellata - Drosera rotundifolia - Carex ruthii / Sphagnum spp. Herbaceous Seep (CEGL007697), for example], but they occur in much higher elevations, have a higher proportion of Carex spp., and occur within a matrix of spruce-fir or northern hardwood forests. Four plots (three from the Virginia and one from Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee) were classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail analysis (Fleming and Patterson 2009a). Acer rubrum and Rhododendron maximum are present and abundant in all the plot samples and species that are present in at least three of the four plots include Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides, Hamamelis virginiana, Lycopus uniflorus, Oclemena acuminata, Osmunda cinnamomea, Tsuga canadensis, Vaccinium simulatum, and Viola cucullata.

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.Na - Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Central Hardwood Swamp Forest
Group Central Interior-Appalachian Seepage Swamp
Alliance Appalachian-Piedmont Red Maple - Blackgum Seepage Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007143 Tsuga canadensis - Liriodendron tulipifera - Platanus occidentalis / Rhododendron maximum - Xanthorhiza simplicissima Wet 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
Kentucky Appalachian Seep/Bog Broader   Evans 1991
North Carolina Swamp Forest--Bog Complex (Typic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Tennessee Tsuga canadensis - Acer rubrum - (Liriodendron tulipifera, Nyssa sylvatica) / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. Forest Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer rubrum - Betula alleghaniensis / Rhododendron maximum / Osmunda cinnamomea - Carex trisperma Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
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: Tsuga canadensis - Acer rubrum - (Liriodendron tulipifera, Nyssa sylvatica) / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
Related Concept Name: Appalachian Seep/Bog
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
Related Concept Name: Bog Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Wichmann, B., R. K. Peet, and T. R. Wentworth. 2007. Natural vegetation of the Carolinas: Classification and description of montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Appalachian region. A report prepared for the Ecosystem Enhancement Program, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in partial fulfillments of contract D07042. Carolina Vegetation Survey, Curriculum in Ecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Related Concept Name: Eastern Hemlock: 23
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: Eastern hemlock-red maple-great laurel swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Hemlock - Mixed Hardwood Palustrine Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.
Related Concept Name: Hemlock-Hardwood (08)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: USFS [U.S. Forest Service]. 1988. Silvicultural examination and prescription field book. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Atlanta, GA. 35 pp.
Related Concept Name: IIE1a. Southern Appalachian Bog Complex
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Low Elevation Saturated Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Wichmann, B. 2009. Vegetation of geographically isolated montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Masters thesis, North Carolina State, Raleigh. [http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-05152009-120239/unrestricted/etd.pdf]
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Acidic Seepage Swamp
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.
Related Concept Name: Swamp Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Wichmann, B., R. K. Peet, and T. R. Wentworth. 2007. Natural vegetation of the Carolinas: Classification and description of montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Appalachian region. A report prepared for the Ecosystem Enhancement Program, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in partial fulfillments of contract D07042. Carolina Vegetation Survey, Curriculum in Ecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Related Concept Name: Swamp Forest-Bog Complex (Typic Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998a. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain wetlands. February 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.300 Southern and Central Appalachian Bog and Fen


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (14Dec1998)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This community is somewhat more common and secure than herbaceous and shrub-dominated nonalluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge, most of which are ranked G1. However, this community has been severely impacted by development, conversion to pasture and agriculture, and hydrologic alterations--changes which are concentrated in flat areas along streams in the steep landscapes of the Southern Blue Ridge. Most occurrences are small (less than 5 acres), very few are unaltered, and almost all have experienced alterations of hydrology, which makes their long-term viability questionable.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, KY, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is found in the Southern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley from Pennsylvania south to Georgia, ranging west into the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky.

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
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This palustrine forest has a closed or open canopy and an open to dense shrub layer, interspersed with small Sphagnum- and herb-dominated depressions. The canopy is composed of various mixtures of evergreen and deciduous species, including Tsuga canadensis, Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus strobus, and Pinus rigida. Canopy dominants vary with elevation. Occurrences at lower elevations tend to be dominated by Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, and/or Nyssa sylvatica, while examples at higher elevations are usually dominated by Tsuga canadensis and/or Betula alleghaniensis. Picea rubens is a minor canopy component at the highest elevations. The dominant shrubs are usually Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, and Leucothoe fontanesiana, but other shrubs may include Salix nigra, Alnus serrulata, Ilex montana, Cornus amomum, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, and Toxicodendron vernix. Herbaceous species of sphagnous openings include Solidago patula, Symphyotrichum puniceum (= Aster puniceus), Dalibarda repens, Osmunda cinnamomea, Carex folliculata, Carex gynandra, Carex scabrata, Carex leptalea, Carex stricta, Sarracenia purpurea, Sagittaria latifolia (= var. pubescens), and Leersia virginica. Herbs in more densely shaded areas include Glyceria melicaria, Lycopodium obscurum, Onoclea sensibilis, Maianthemum canadense, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis.

Overstory composition of the very few documented examples in Virginia is somewhat heterogeneous and may represent an elevational gradient. The lowest-elevation stand (at 790 m or 2600 feet) in Carroll County (Southern Blue Ridge) is codominated by Acer rubrum and Pinus strobus with minor associates of Betula alleghaniensis, and Tsuga canadensis. A Giles County (Ridge and Valley) stand at 1160 m (3800 feet) has a mixed canopy of Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Picea rubens, and Pinus rigida. The third stand, located at 1335 m (4380 feet) in Grayson County (Southern Blue Ridge) is overwhelmingly dominated by Betula alleghaniensis, with minor associates of Acer rubrum and Picea rubens. Rhododendron maximum is the dominant shrub, and Osmunda cinnamomea the dominant herb, at all three sites. Other species prominent in at least two of the three stands include Kalmia latifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Rhododendron viscosum, Rubus hispidus, Viola macloskeyi ssp. pallens, Carex trisperma, Glyceria melicaria, Lycopodium obscurum, and Carex intumescens. Dalibarda repens is an abundant herb at the Carroll County (lowest-elevation) site, while Solidago rugosa, Carex ruthii, and Carex baileyi are common at the Grayson County (highest-elevation) site. Mean species richness ranges from 30 to 46 taxa per 400 m2 (mean = 40).


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer rubrum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Tsuga canadensis G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Rhododendron maximum G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhododendron viscosum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhododendron maximum G2 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Leucothoe fontanesiana G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Chelone cuthbertii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Helonias bullata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Rubus repens G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Viola macloskeyi ssp. pallens G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lycopodium obscurum G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Osmunda cinnamomea G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex folliculata G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex gynandra G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex ruthii G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex trisperma G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Glyceria melicaria G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Carex ruthii
  (Ruth's Sedge)
G3  
Chelone cuthbertii
  (Cuthbert's Turtlehead)
G3  
Helonias bullata
  (Swamp-pink)
G3 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The type occurs mostly at elevations below 1200 m (4000 feet), in poorly drained bottomlands, generally with visible microtopography of ridges and sloughs or depressions. It often occurs near streams and is undoubtedly occasionally flooded. In Virginia, habitats range from 790-1340 m (2600-4400 feet) elevation and are typically located along small, braided headwaters streams draining visible groundwater discharge. Soils are very strongly acidic (mean pH in plots = 4.8) with low base status.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The factors responsible for creating and maintaining this community are not well known, although beaver activity may play a role. The frequency and role of flooding is not known. This community may represent late successional stage of primary succession from once extensive, open bog areas and will remain in a forest condition unless the canopy is removed by tree blowdown, logging, or fire.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling
Element Description Edition Date: 02Oct2001
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson, G. Fleming and P. Coulling
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Dec1998
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
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.

  • Evans, M., B. Yahn, and M. Hines. Kentucky ecological communities. 2009. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort, KY.

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

  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.

  • 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • 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.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 1998a. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain wetlands. February 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • USFS [U.S. Forest Service]. 1988. Silvicultural examination and prescription field book. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Atlanta, GA. 35 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.

  • Weakley, A. S., and M. P. Schafale. 1994. Non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge: Diversity in a threatened ecosystem. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 77:359-383.

  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.

  • Wichmann, B. 2009. Vegetation of geographically isolated montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Masters thesis, North Carolina State, Raleigh. [http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-05152009-120239/unrestricted/etd.pdf]

  • Wichmann, B., R. K. Peet, and T. R. Wentworth. 2007. Natural vegetation of the Carolinas: Classification and description of montane non-alluvial wetlands of the Southern Appalachian region. A report prepared for the Ecosystem Enhancement Program, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in partial fulfillments of contract D07042. Carolina Vegetation Survey, Curriculum in Ecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


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