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Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata / Quercus marilandica - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum Woodland
Translated Name: Longleaf Pine - Shortleaf Pine / Blackjack Oak - (Chestnut Oak) / Blue Ridge Blueberry Woodland
Common Name: Montane Mixed Longleaf Pine Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL008437
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is one of several associations representing longleaf pine stands of interior regions of the southeastern United States, including the Piedmont, Cumberland Plateau, and Southern Ridge and Valley. This type occurs at moderate elevations (to 600 m) in mountainous regions and have been previously called montane longleaf. Other longleaf pine stands found at Pine Mountain, Georgia, on serpentine soils, or wet Piedmont soils are covered by other community types [see Similar Associations]. Examples of this type occur on steep, often rocky ridges composed of various rock types, including sandstone, quartzite, phyllite, mica schists, and gneiss. Vegetation structure and species composition are variable and depend on previous disturbance and the frequency of fire. The canopy ranges from open to closed and may be dominated solely by Pinus palustris, or support a mixture of other pines and oaks, although stands in northern Alabama with nearly equal mixtures of Pinus palustris and Quercus prinus are accommodated by another association. The pine canopy, in addition to Pinus palustris, often includes Pinus echinata, and sometimes includes (presumably due to reduction of historical fire regimes) Pinus taeda and Pinus virginiana. Oaks can occur as canopy or subcanopy components and may include various combinations of Quercus marilandica, Quercus stellata, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, and Quercus falcata. Other characteristic subcanopy trees are Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Sassafras albidum, Carya pallida, Carya alba, and sometimes Cornus florida. The shrub stratum is of variable density; characteristic species include Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium arboreum, Vaccinium stamineum, Symplocos tinctoria, and (in some portions of the range) Gaylussacia frondosa and Vaccinium tenellum. The herb layer may be highly suppressed following fire exclusion and canopy closure, but can be dense and grassy with fire. Characteristic species are Schizachyrium scoparium, Sorghastrum nutans, Andropogon ternarius, Danthonia sericea (= var. sericea), Danthonia spicata, Iris verna, Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum, Solidago odora var. odora, Tephrosia virginiana, Clitoria mariana, Lespedeza spp., Desmodium spp., Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia, Dichanthelium commutatum, Coreopsis major, Silphium compositum, Parthenium integrifolium var. integrifolium, Scleria triglomerata, Liatris sp., and Solidago sp.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: In May 2011, a renamed CEGL003606 was revived; for several years it was merged with CEGL008437. As of 2000, inland longleaf pine communities from a variety of geographic areas, elevations, and geologic substrates were all included here, including those of the lower Piedmont (North Carolina), lower and upper Piedmont (Alabama and Georgia), southern Ridge and Valley (Alabama and Georgia), and Black Warrior Hills (Alabama). There may be associations worth splitting out from this broadly defined type, but it is difficult to see useful patterns based on the information available. Most examples currently are fire-suppressed, and have a depauperate composition, reduced to a sort of "lowest common denominators" such as Schizachyrium scoparium, Pityopsis graminifolia, Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum, Tephrosia virginiana, and Solidago odora var. odora. Most have a mixture of pines, and considerable mixed oak in the canopy, including characteristic "inland" species such as Quercus prinus. Some highly disturbed occurrences are dominated by Pinus taeda but, if managed with frequent fire, still contain Pinus palustris and a relatively diverse herbaceous layer. Wharton (1978) briefly describes vegetation (probably CEGL008437) on Pine Mountain, Harris and/or Meriwether counties, Georgia, with a Pinus palustris overstory, a Quercus marilandica understory, and common Aureolaria pectinata. This was regarded as part of CEGL008437, but may now be treated as the revived Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata - Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron minus Woodland (CEGL003606). He additionally states that the Pinus palustris - Quercus marilandica stands occur on the very top and south face of the ridgetop on Pine Mountain, this grading down into Pinus taeda- and hardwood-dominated stands on the north-facing upper portion of the ridge. He also mentions that longleaf pine was (additionally?) planted here by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1930.

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 Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Shortleaf Pine - Oak Forest & Woodland
Alliance Montane Longleaf Pine - Shortleaf Pine Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003606 Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata - Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron minus Woodland
CEGL003608 Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata / Schizachyrium scoparium - Manfreda virginica Serpentine Woodland
CEGL003663 Pinus palustris - Pinus taeda - Pinus serotina / Chasmanthium laxum - Panicum virgatum Piedmont Woodland
CEGL004060 Quercus prinus - Pinus palustris Forest
CEGL004432 Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata / Quercus coccinea - Quercus georgiana Woodland
CEGL007029 (Pinus palustris) / Quercus georgiana Woodland
CEGL007110 Pinus taeda / Schizachyrium scoparium - Tephrosia virginiana Ruderal Forest
CEGL007500 Pinus echinata - Quercus stellata - Quercus prinus / Danthonia spicata Forest
CEGL008491 Pinus palustris / Schizachyrium scoparium - Pteridium aquilinum 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
Alabama Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata - (Pinus virginiana) / Quercus marilandica - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum Woodland Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
North Carolina Dry Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forest Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
South Carolina Pinus palustris - Pinus echinata - (Pinus virginiana) / Quercus marilandica - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum Woodland Equivalent Certain SCWMRD unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forest
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
CES202.319 Southeastern Interior Longleaf Pine Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (17Feb2004)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This association was never common and has always been restricted to montane areas of the Ridge and Valley Province of Alabama and Georgia and piedmontane regions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The survival of stands of this type depends on frequent, low-intensity, growing-season fires to control understory vegetation and for the reproduction of Pinus palustris. However, most existing stands have been degraded, and few data are available on well-burned stands (Varner et al. 2003a, 2003b). Thus, open-canopy examples with an appropriate grass- and forb-dominated herbaceous layer are rare and, in some parts of its range, are present only as a result of restoration efforts by the U.S. Forest Service or fortuitous wildfire events. Like other fire-dependent, pine-dominated woodlands this association is susceptible to the effects of fire suppression, over-grazing, or conversion to commercial forest plantations or agriculture. Remaining examples are highly threatened by development, conversion, and alteration of fire regimes. Most of those natural occurrences that have not been destroyed are severely degraded. Some high-quality stands are extant on Georgia state park lands, others may exist on national forest lands. There are examples on the Piedmont portions of the Sumter National Forest (Simon and Hayden 2014).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GA, NC, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is found in the Ridge and Valley Province of north-central Alabama and northwestern Georgia, and in the Piedmont of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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: Vegetation structure is variable and depends on frequency and recency of fire. The canopy is open to closed. In addition to Pinus palustris, the canopy may include Pinus echinata, Pinus taeda, and Pinus virginiana. Subcanopy species present include Quercus marilandica, Quercus stellata, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, Quercus falcata, and Quercus alba. Other characteristic subcanopy trees are Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Sassafras albidum, Carya pallida, Carya alba, and sometimes Cornus florida. At Sprewell Bluff State Park (Pine Mountain, Georgia), stands of this type include some oak associates more typical of sandhill longleaf pine communities such as Quercus laevis and Quercus margarettiae. It is believed that in the historically more frequently burned landscape, pines, and especially Pinus palustris and Pinus echinata would have predominated in the canopy, with some oaks as well. Following fire exclusion, the oaks and less fire-tolerant pines (Pinus virginiana and Pinus taeda) increase their importance. The shrub stratum is of variable density; characteristic species include Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium arboreum, Vaccinium stamineum, Symplocos tinctoria, and (in some portions of the range) Gaylussacia frondosa and Vaccinium tenellum. Woody vines include Smilax glauca and Vitis rotundifolia. The herb layer may be highly suppressed following fire exclusion and canopy closure, but can be dense and grassy with fire. Characteristic species are Schizachyrium scoparium, Sorghastrum nutans, Andropogon ternarius, Danthonia sericea (= var. sericea), Danthonia spicata, Iris verna, Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum, Solidago odora var. odora, Tephrosia virginiana, Clitoria mariana, Lespedeza spp., Desmodium spp., Pityopsis graminifolia var. latifolia, Dichanthelium commutatum, Coreopsis major, Silphium compositum, Parthenium integrifolium var. integrifolium, Scleria triglomerata, Liatris sp., and Solidago sp.

In these occurrences, other characteristic woody species include Oxydendrum arboreum, Vaccinium stamineum, and Vaccinium tenellum, and characteristic herbs include Clinopodium georgianum (= Calamintha georgiana), Eupatorium album, Chrysopsis mariana, Xerophyllum asphodeloides, Danthonia spicata, Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium, Andropogon gyrans, and Ionactis linariifolius. It also includes vegetation strongly dominated by other pines or oaks, such as Pinus virginiana or Quercus prinus with a lesser abundance of Pinus palustris.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Pinus echinata G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pinus palustris G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Pinus virginiana G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus marilandica G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Quercus prinus G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 

Vegetation Structure Summary: Vegetation structure is variable and depends on frequency and recency of fire. The canopy is open to closed. The shrub stratum is of variable density. The herb layer may be highly suppressed following fire exclusion and canopy closure, but can be dense and grassy with fire. The natural fire regime would allow for the reproduction of Pinus palustris and likely maintained a moderately herb-rich ground layer. Most existing stands have been degraded, and few data are available on well-burned stands (Varner et al. 2003a, 2003b). It is unclear whether stands with a denser canopy structure are merely the result of fire suppression or whether they may also be natural, since these sites would likely have had much less frequent fires than most other longleaf pine communities.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association is found in a variety of interior regions of the southeastern United States, including sandstone ridges in the Ridge and Valley Province of north-central Alabama and northwestern Georgia, slopes and ridges in the Carolina Slate Belt of North Carolina, and other substrates such as quartzite, phyllite, mica schists, and gneiss. Examples most often occurs on south- and southwest-facing, exposed, upper slopes and summits, with high insolation. At Fort McClellan (Alabama), stands occur on 40-60% slopes on soils with abundant outcrops of quartzite and sandstone (Varner et al. 2003b, NatureServe Ecology - Southeast U.S. unpubl. data).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: These communities had a natural fire regime which allowed for the reproduction of Pinus palustris and likely maintained a moderately herb-rich ground layer. Most existing stands have been degraded, and few data are available on well-burned stands (Varner et al. 2003a, 2003b). It is unclear whether stands with forest structure are merely the result of fire suppression or whether they may also be natural, since these sites would likely have had much less frequent fires than most other longleaf pine communities. Steep slopes and rocky conditions may have allowed regeneration of Pinus palustris even with infrequent fire events. It is believed that in the historically more frequently burned landscape, pines, especially Pinus palustris and Pinus echinata, would have predominated in the canopy, with some oaks as well. Following fire exclusion, a number of successional overstory species would have increased in abundance, including Acer rubrum, oaks such as Quercus velutina and Quercus prinus, and less fire-tolerant pines (Pinus virginiana and Pinus taeda) (Golden 1979, Varner et al. 2003a, 2003b). This association includes open woodlands, generally lacking an oak subcanopy, created and maintained through thinning and burning to favor Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, perhaps approximating more natural structure and composition.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley
Element Description Edition Date: 01Aug2016
Element Description Author(s): R.E. Evans
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10Aug2016
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne, mod. R.E. Evans

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.

  • Golden, M. S. 1979. Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont. Ecology 60:770-782.

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

  • North Carolina Vegetation Survey. No date. Unpublished data.

  • 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. P. 1994. Inventory of longleaf pine natural communities. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 230 pp.

  • 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.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • Simon, S., and L. Hayden. 2014. Ecological zones on the Sumter National Forest, Enoree and Long Cane Districts: 1st Approximation. Report to USDA Forest Service. 47 pp.

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

  • Varner, J. M., III, J. S. Kush, and R. S. Meldahl. 2003a. Structural characteristics of frequently-burned old-growth longleaf pine stands in the mountains of Alabama. Castanea 68(3):211-221.

  • Varner, J. M., III, J. S. Kush, and R. S. Meldahl. 2003b. Vegetation of frequently burned old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savannas on Choccolocco Mountain, Alabama, USA. Natural Areas Journal 23(1):43-52.

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


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