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Myrica gale - Morella pensylvanica Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: Sweetgale - Northern Bayberry Wet Shrubland
Common Name: Northern Coastal Shrub Swale
Unique Identifier: CEGL006339
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association comprises freshwater swales along the north Atlantic Coast dominated by shrubs. It occurs in depressions behind primary or secondary dunes where the water table intersects the soil surface for part of the growing season. It occurs less commonly on slow-moving rivers of outwash deposits. Substrate is sand with or without peat development. This interdunal swale is dominated by a variety of shrubs such as Morella pensylvanica, Myrica gale, Aronia x prunifolia, Ilex verticillata, Vaccinium corymbosum, Spiraea tomentosa, Spiraea alba var. latifolia, Viburnum recognitum, Lyonia ligustrina, and occasionally Alnus spp. and Salix spp. Herbaceous species tend to occur in openings and include Triadenum virginicum, Scirpus cyperinus, Thelypteris palustris, Toxicodendron radicans, and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Sphagnum spp. are likely present in some examples, but this type needs further investigation.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The full geographic extent of this association needs to be determined, as well as its successional relationship with other freshwater and brackish interdunal swale communities and with vegetation bordering coastal salt ponds. Further study may indicate a division into two associations, one on interdunal swales and another on streamside settings.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Ne - Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain Wet Prairie & Marsh
Group Northern & Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetland
Alliance Coastal Northern Bayberry Wet Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006141 Cladium mariscoides / Vaccinium macrocarpon - Morella pensylvanica Wet Dwarf-shrubland



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Massachusetts Acidic Shrub Fen Intersects   Swain and Kearsley 2001
Massachusetts Interdunal Marsh/Swale Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New York Shrub swamp Broader   Edinger et al. 2002


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Myrica gale Interdunal Swale
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lundgren, J. A. 1998. Natural communities of coastal Massachusetts: Inventory and assessment. Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Wet swale
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: McDonnell, M. J. 1979. The flora of Plum Island, Essex County, Massachusetts. University of New Hampshire, Agricultural Experiment Station. Station Bulletin No. 513. Durham, NH. 110 pp.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Dunlop, D. A., and G. E. Crow. 1985. The vegetation and flora of the Seabrook Dunes with special reference to rare plants. Rhodora 87:471-486.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (28Aug1997)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MA, NH, NY, RIpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Currently described from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This freshwater shrubland community is dominated by a variety of shrubs such as Morella pensylvanica, Myrica gale, Aronia x prunifolia, Ilex verticillata, Vaccinium corymbosum, Spiraea tomentosa, Spiraea alba var. latifolia (= Spiraea latifolia), Viburnum recognitum, Lyonia ligustrina, and occasionally Alnus spp. and Salix spp. Herbaceous species tend to occur in openings and include Triadenum virginicum, Scirpus cyperinus, and Thelypteris palustris. Vines including Toxicodendron radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia are also present in this community. Sphagnum spp. are likely present in some examples, but this type needs further investigation.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aronia x prunifolia GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Myrica gale GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium corymbosum GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Morella pensylvanica GNR Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Thelypteris palustris GNR Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in freshwater swales on dunes or other low areas or depressions behind primary dunes or secondary dunes where the water table intersects the soil surface for part of the growing season. It occurs less commonly on slow-moving rivers of outwash deposits. Substrate is sand with or without peat development.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Freshwater interdunal swale wetlands occur in large dune systems that develop freshwater aquifers. Interdunal swale wetlands develop where the freshwater lens intersects the dune surface. The water table is a balance between input from precipitation and output from evapotranspiration or from drainage outlets. Perpetual drawdown tends to invoke successional shifts in vegetation from open water with or without submerged or floating aquatic plants, to emergent herbaceous vegetation to a series of shrubland associations as the duration of soil saturation decreases. Salix spp. are early pioneer shrubs, which can be displaced by other shrub species like Myrica or Morella spp. as peat and or sediments accumulate.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 09May2007
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid

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


References
  • Dunlop, D. A., and G. E. Crow. 1985. The vegetation and flora of the Seabrook Dunes with special reference to rare plants. Rhodora 87:471-486.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • 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.

  • Lundgren, J. A. 1998. Natural communities of coastal Massachusetts: Inventory and assessment. Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Boston, MA.

  • McDonnell, M. J. 1979. The flora of Plum Island, Essex County, Massachusetts. University of New Hampshire, Agricultural Experiment Station. Station Bulletin No. 513. Durham, NH. 110 pp.

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2014. Classification of the natural communities of Massachusetts. Version 2.0. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA. [http://www.mass.gov/nhesp/http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/natural-communities/classification-of-natural-communities.html]


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