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Quercus (rubra, alba) / Carpinus caroliniana - (Halesia tetraptera) / Maianthemum racemosum Forest
Translated Name: (Northern Red Oak, White Oak) / American Hornbeam - (Mountain Silverbell) / Feathery False Lily-of-the-Valley Forest
Common Name: Oak - Hickory Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006462
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is a closed-canopy to somewhat open-canopy deciduous floodplain forest on the highest positions of river floodplains. These alluvial terraces are infrequently flooded and some are possibly no longer flooded. Low frequency and low energy of flooding is evidenced by the development of litter layers and organic-enriched soil horizons. Soils are well-drained sands and sandy loams, and soil moisture regime may be somewhat dry. The soils are slightly to moderately acidic and have relatively high cation levels. Slopes range from level to steep. The canopy is frequently composed of very large-diameter, tall trees, with species more typical of uplands. Dominant trees in the canopy include Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Acer saccharum. Additional trees which may occur in the canopy and subcanopy include Acer rubrum, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia tripetala, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Prunus serotina var. serotina, and Ulmus americana. The small tree Halesia tetraptera is dominant in some areas as a well-developed tall-shrub layer and may extend into the tree subcanopy; Sassafras albidum may also occur as a small tree. Additional shrubs include Carpinus caroliniana, Dirca palustris, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Smilax rotundifolia, Magnolia tripetala, Asimina triloba, and Viburnum prunifolium. Low shrubs may be present, though typically sparse, and include Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Chionanthus virginicus, Euonymus americanus, Hamamelis virginiana, and Smilax rotundifolia. Characteristic herbs include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Cynoglossum virginianum, Dichanthelium boscii, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Hexastylis virginica, Hydrastis canadensis, Maianthemum racemosum, Packera aurea, Polygonatum biflorum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Verbesina alternifolia.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association has canopy composition similar to Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest (CEGL007267), but it is differentiated by its occurrence on floodplains and by the abundance of Halesia tetraptera and other mesophytic species in the understory.

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 Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest & Woodland
Alliance Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest

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



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
West Virginia Quercus (rubra, velutina, alba) / Carpinus caroliniana - (Halesia tetraptera) / Maianthemum racemosum Forest Equivalent Certain WVNHP unpubl. data



Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.705 South-Central Interior Large Floodplain


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (23May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This association is a small-patch high floodplain terrace forest known only from the Gauley, New, and Bluestone rivers in West Virginia. It has been reduced in extent by agriculture from the eighteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century, and more recently has been further reduced by the construction of a railroad in the Gauley River valley. Fewer than ten occurrences are estimated, covering less than one square kilometer in area. Continued threats include housing development and road construction outside of NPS lands. Dams on these rivers has reduced peak flow, and it is possible that this lack of natural flooding will further reduce the extent of this vegetation.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is currently known only from West Virginia along the New, Bluestone, and Gauley rivers.

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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association is a closed-canopy to somewhat open-canopy deciduous floodplain forest dominated by tree species more typical of uplands. Many of the stands are composed of very large-diameter, tall trees. Dominant trees in the canopy include Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Acer saccharum. Additional trees which may occur in the canopy and subcanopy include Acer rubrum, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia tripetala, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Prunus serotina var. serotina, and Ulmus americana. The small tree Halesia tetraptera is dominant in some areas as a well-developed tall-shrub layer and may extend into the tree subcanopy; Sassafras albidum may also occur as a small tree. Additional shrubs include Carpinus caroliniana, Dirca palustris, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Smilax rotundifolia, Magnolia tripetala, Asimina triloba, and Viburnum prunifolium. Low shrubs may be present, though typically sparse, and include Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Chionanthus virginicus, Euonymus americanus, Hamamelis virginiana, and Smilax rotundifolia. Characteristic herbs include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Cynoglossum virginianum, Dichanthelium boscii, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Hexastylis virginica, Hydrastis canadensis, Maianthemum racemosum, Packera aurea, Polygonatum biflorum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Verbesina alternifolia. Vascular plant species richness in the eight 400-square-meter sampled plots ranges from 16 to 79 (mean at New River = 32; mean at Bluestone = 69; Gauley = 44).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Fagus grandifolia G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)    
 
 
Magnolia acuminata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)    
 
 
Acer saccharum G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus rubra G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus velutina G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Carya ovata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Halesia tetraptera G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Magnolia tripetala G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Nyssa sylvatica G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Halesia tetraptera G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Carpinus caroliniana G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Dirca palustris G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Hamamelis virginiana G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lindera benzoin G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Xanthorhiza simplicissima G1 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ageratina altissima G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Arisaema triphyllum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Cynoglossum virginianum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Galium circaezans G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Galium triflorum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Hydrastis canadensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Maianthemum racemosum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Packera aurea G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Thelypteris noveboracensis G1 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Dichanthelium boscii G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G1 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Hydrastis canadensis
  (Goldenseal)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in small patches on the highest positions of river floodplains which are infrequently flooded and possibly on alluvial terraces which are no longer flooded. The largest patches occur on large point bars which have developed along inside bends of large meanders. Evidence of flooding includes fluvial topography, accumulations of rocks on the upstream side of tree bases, and some flotsam. Sites have fluvial microtopography of levees and swales formed from sandy alluvium. Low frequency and low energy of flooding is evidenced by the development of litter layers and organic-enriched soil horizons. Soils are stone-free or somewhat stony, moderately well- to well-drained sands and sandy loams derived from alluvium, and soil moisture regime may be somewhat dry. Soil chemistry analyzed from six plots indicates slightly acidic soils (mean pH = 5.8 at New River and 5.0 at Bluestone) and relatively high levels of some nutrients (Ca, Mg, Zn) and relatively low levels of organic matter compared to soils of most upland forests in the area. Soil from the one sampled plot at Gauley River is considerably more acidic (pH=4.1). Slopes range from level to steep. Elevations of mapped stands range from 247 to 506 m.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association was probably much more abundant prior to development of upper floodplains and alluvial terraces for agriculture and transportation corridors starting in the late 1700s continuing through the mid-1900s.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J.P. Vanderhorst
Element Description Edition Date: 01Apr2010
Element Description Author(s): J.P. Vanderhorst and S.C. Gawler
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): L.A. Sneddon

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


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

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping of Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/106. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, Z. Arcaro, and S. C. Gawler. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gauley River National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/148. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.

  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.


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