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Acer rubrum - Nyssa biflora - (Liquidambar styraciflua, Fraxinus sp.) Maritime Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Red Maple - Swamp Tupelo - (Sweetgum, Ash species) Maritime Swamp Forest
Common Name: Red Maple - Tupelo Maritime Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004082
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These are forested basin swamps of dune swales on barrier islands of North Carolina, Georgia, and possibly other mid-Atlantic coastal states. Stands are dominated by Acer rubrum, Nyssa biflora, or sometimes Liquidambar styraciflua or Fraxinus sp. Lower vegetational strata are variable but generally fairly low in diversity, consisting of characteristic wetland species tolerant of sheltered maritime conditions and long hydroperiods.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This community type is somewhat heterogeneous, in that the dominant trees can vary substantially among examples. They are unified by their flora that, though mostly of widespread wetland species, includes characteristic maritime species and lacks species not found in maritime settings. The most distinct examples, which could perhaps be justified as a different association, are those dominated by Fraxinus. However, the overall flora of this example has substantial overlap with other examples and the environment seems to be similar.

Wentworth et al. (1993) divided associations more finely, based on Twinspan analysis of North Carolina Vegetation Survey data. The Taxodium type, recognized as a separate association, was the most distinct of the group. The Fraxinus type was the most distinct of the plots included here. Some of the other distinctions appear to be based on varying admixture of upland species in the plots.


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 Floodplain Forest
Group Oak - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southeastern Sweetgum - Green Ash Flooded & Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004079 Taxodium distichum / Cephalanthus occidentalis / Boehmeria cylindrica - Ceratophyllum muricatum Maritime Swamp Forest
CEGL004914 Taxodium ascendens / Magnolia virginiana / Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense Swamp Forest
CEGL006223 Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - Nyssa biflora / Carex joorii Swamp Forest
CEGL007848 Liquidambar styraciflua - Acer rubrum - (Nyssa biflora) / Woodwardia virginica Floodplain 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 Maritime Swamp Forest (Typic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Acer rubrum - Nyssa (biflora, sylvatica) / Myrica cerifera / Leersia (oryzoides, virginica) 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: Maritime Swamp 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.
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: Maritime Swamp Forest (Typic Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2003b. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain communities. March 2003 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.261 Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest
CES203.537 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (03Feb2009)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This community is thought to be globally rare, with only seven known occurrences in North Carolina, most of them stable. It has probably declined from its historic abundance due to land-use changes (e.g., housing development, timber removal). Some Georgia occurrences have some protection (as at Cumberland Island) and others are under imminent threat.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SCpotentially occurs, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This maritime swamp forest is currently known from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cumberland Island, Georgia. It could potentially occur in other mid-Atlantic coastal states.

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: These are closed or nearly closed forests dominated by varying mixtures of Acer rubrum, Nyssa biflora, and occasionally Liquidambar styraciflua or Fraxinus sp. Other canopy species may occasionally include Salix nigra, Quercus nigra, Quercus phellos, Pinus taeda, and Taxodium distichum. The understory is generally very open, or confined to the shallower edges of the basins. Persea palustris , Carpinus caroliniana, or canopy species generally dominate. The shrub layer is variable, of low to fairly high cover, depending on local water depth. Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), Cornus foemina, or occasionally Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta (?) may dominate. Other shrubs may include Lyonia lucida, Ilex vomitoria, Vaccinium fuscatum, Vaccinium formosum, and Rosa palustris. Woody vines, including Berchemia scandens, Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax spp., and Vitis rotundifolia, are usually present and may be fairly abundant. Herbs are usually sparse, but may be fairly dense locally in shallow water. Species most often most abundant are Woodwardia virginica and Saururus cernuus. Species with fairly high constancy (50-60% in 10 plots) include these species plus Osmunda regalis and Woodwardia areolata. Other herbs fairly abundant locally include Osmunda cinnamomea, Centella erecta, Leersia virginica, and Dryopteris ludoviciana.

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  
 
 
Nyssa biflora G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in dune swales or depressions on barrier islands (and potentially other similar maritime settings), flooded for much of the growing season. Water levels presumably reflect the local water table. Settings are on more sheltered portions of the barrier islands, generally surrounded by other maritime forests, with light but not severe salt spray. Sea water overwash occurs seldom or never.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Sea water overwash is probably rare or absent, but severe salt spray and wind damage occur in storms. Vegetation likely varies substantially with time since last disturbance and also with variations on water level from year to year. As in all barrier island environments, these sites are geologically young and potentially short-lived, however, they are among the most stable portions of barrier islands and most have existed since prehistoric times.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale and R.E. Evans
Element Description Edition Date: 03Feb2009
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Feb2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.P. Schafale, mod. M. Pyne

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


References
  • 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.

  • Schafale, M. 2003b. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain communities. March 2003 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.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.


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