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Quercus michauxii - Quercus pagoda / Clethra alnifolia - Leucothoe axillaris Wet Flatwoods Forest
Translated Name: Swamp Chestnut Oak - Cherrybark Oak / Coastal Sweet-pepperbush - Coastal Doghobble Wet Flatwoods Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007449
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This forest occurs on extensive interstream flats with fine-textured mineral soils. Hydrology is seasonally to nearly permanently saturated, with occasional ponding, and is maintained by a high water table rather than riverine or estuarine flooding. This community generally occurs in association with large peatlands, for example in the Great Dismal Swamp of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The canopy is dominated by Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus laurifolia, Liquidambar styraciflua (especially in logged examples), Quercus nigra, and Fagus grandifolia (on mesic microsites). Typical understory species are Persea palustris, Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Asimina triloba, Ilex opaca var. opaca, and Acer rubrum. The shrub layer is often dense and typically has species such as Clethra alnifolia and Leucothoe axillaris as dominants. Vaccinium formosum, Itea virginica, Leucothoe racemosa, Sabal minor, Lindera benzoin var. benzoin, and Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta are also often present. Trillium pusillum var. virginianum sometimes occurs in this community.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Liquidambar styraciflua-dominated examples currently included here need additional investigation. See Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia / Magnolia virginiana / Carex lonchocarpa Wet Forest (CEGL004631). This vegetation describes the nonriverine wet hardwood forests of extreme southeastern Virginia (G.P. Fleming pers. comm. 2004).

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 Basin Swamp & Flatwoods
Group Hardwood - Loblolly Pine Nonriverine Wet Flatwoods
Alliance Coastal Plain Nonriverine Oak Wet Flatwoods Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004631 Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus laurifolia / Magnolia virginiana / Carex lonchocarpa Wet Forest
CEGL004644 Quercus (phellos, michauxii) / Ilex opaca var. opaca / Clethra alnifolia / Woodwardia areolata Wet Forest
CEGL004679 Nyssa biflora - Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum var. trilobum / Clethra alnifolia Swamp Forest
CEGL007447 Quercus laurifolia - Nyssa biflora / Clethra alnifolia - Leucothoe axillaris 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
North Carolina Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest (Oak Flat Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus (michauxii, pagoda, laurifolia) / Carpinus caroliniana / (Leucothoe axillaris) - Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta 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]
Related Concept Name: Quercus michauxii - Quercus laurifolia / Carpinus caroliniana / Carex debilis Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus michauxii - Quercus laurifolia / Carpinus caroliniana / Carex debilis Saturated Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: IIA10e. Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest
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: Non-Riverine Saturated Forest
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: Nonriverine Wet Hardwood 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.
Related Concept Name: Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest (Oak Flat Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Swamp Chestnut Oak - Cherrybark Oak: 91
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.304 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Nonriverine Swamp and Wet Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (24Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This unusual forest association is restricted to areas with saturated rather than temporarily flooded hydrology. It generally occurs in association with large peatlands of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, where small examples are conserved. Few stands of this vegetation type have been studied, and rangewide information is limited. This community and its composition and structure are dependent on local groundwater or sheet flow due to the saturated hydrology. Examples that are not protected would be threatened by removal of commercially valuable species (e.g., Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus laurifolia, and Quercus nigra) and changes to the hydrology which could disrupt groundwater volume and seasonality. The high value of the dominant trees, the typical failure of regeneration of the dominant trees after logging, the ease of drainage of the sites, and the relative fertility of the soil makes these communities among the most subject to loss of any wetland community type in the region.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community occurs in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy of stands of this type is dominated by Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus laurifolia, Liquidambar styraciflua (especially in logged examples), Quercus nigra, and Fagus grandifolia (on mesic microsites). Typical understory species are Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Asimina triloba, Ilex opaca var. opaca, and Acer rubrum. The shrub layer is often dense, and typically has species such as Clethra alnifolia and Leucothoe axillaris as dominants. Vaccinium formosum, Itea virginica, Leucothoe racemosa, Sabal minor, Lindera benzoin var. benzoin, and Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta are also often present. Trillium pusillum var. virginianum sometimes occurs in this community.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus michauxii G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus pagoda G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Leucothoe axillaris G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Clethra alnifolia G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Trillium pusillum var. virginianum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Trillium pusillum var. virginianum
  (Virginia Least Trillium)
G3T2  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This forest occurs on extensive interstream flats with fine-textured mineral soils. Its hydrology is seasonally to nearly permanently saturated, with occasional ponding, and is maintained by a high water table rather than riverine or estuarine flooding. This community generally occurs in association with large peatlands.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The dominance of Liquidambar styraciflua may increase following canopy removal, or selective removal of more commercially valuable species (e.g., Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus laurifolia, and Quercus nigra).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale and G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 31Jan2005
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale, G.P. Fleming, J. Teague
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne, mod. M.P. Schafale

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.

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

  • Fleming, G. P. 1998. Virginia natural community framework, version January 30, 1998. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 6 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. 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 K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • 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.


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