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Lasallia (papulosa, pensylvanica) - Dimelaena oreina - (Melanelia culbersonii) Nonvascular Vegetation
Translated Name: (Toadskin Lichen, Pennsylvania Toadskin Lichen) - Golden Moonglow Lichen - Culberson's Black-parmelia Nonvascular Vegetation
Common Name: Central Appalachian Acidic Boulderfield
Unique Identifier: CEGL004142
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is widely but locally distributed from the western Piedmont foothills in Maryland and Virginia through the Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley portions of the Central Appalachians, north at least to the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It occurs primarily on fully exposed, minimally weathered quartzite and sandstone boulderfields at elevations from about 300 to 1000 m (1000-3300 feet). On the largest occurrences, vascular plants are generally absent and lichens dominate these habitats. Lasallia papulosa and Lasallia pensylvanica, either singly or in combination, are generally abundant and conspicuous. Dimelaena oreina abundantly covers many dry, exposed rock surfaces that are not covered with Lasallia spp. and larger foliose lichens. Although of scattered occurrence, Melanelia culbersonii has been found across the full elevation range of the type and is a good diagnostic species, as it appears to be restricted mostly to siliciclastic rocks (and occasionally coarse-grained, quartz-rich granites that are nearly devoid of dark minerals) in this region. A variety of other foliose, crustose and fruticose lichen species are associated. Smaller, more marginal occurrences have sparse vascular plant cover, primarily stunted trees of Betula lenta, Sassafras albidum, and Quercus prinus, ericaceous shrubs, and scrambling vines of Parthenocissus quinquefolia.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification of this association is based on geographically limited lichen inventories in Shenandoah National Park, but it is believed to be widely applicable to similar boulderfields that are characteristic of Central Appalachian siliciclastic ridges. In the park inventory, lichens were mass-collected from boulderfield and outcrop habitats on different geologic substrates, and specimens were identified by Richard Harris (New York Botanical Garden), Don Flenniken (author of Macrolichens of West Virginia), and James Lawry (George Mason University). Classification of lichen communities in eastern North America is currently difficult and tentative because inventory and data are generally lacking. The classification of this type versus Betula lenta - Quercus prinus / Parthenocissus quinquefolia Woodland (CEGL006565) can be tricky where there is a continuous gradation of vegetation cover (as at Delaware Water Gap), but generally this is applied where there is less than 25% vascular vegetation and nonvascular species are dominant.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 6 - Open Rock Vegetation
Subclass 6.B - Temperate & Boreal Open Rock Vegetation
Formation 6.B.1 - Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Other Rock Vegetation
Division 6.B.1.Na - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Rock Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Group Appalachian Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Alliance Appalachian Lichen Boulderfield

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004143 Lasallia papulosa - Stereocaulon glaucescens - Chrysothrix chlorina Nonvascular Vegetation
CEGL004385 Lasallia papulosa - Lasallia pensylvanica Nonvascular Vegetation
CEGL004389 Umbilicaria muehlenbergii - Lasallia papulosa - (Melanelia stygia) Nonvascular Vegetation



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Lasallia (papulosa, pensylvanica) - Dimelaena oreina - (Melanelia culbersonii) Nonvascular Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., A. Belden, Jr., K. E. Heffernan, A. C. Chazal, N. E. Van Alstine, and E. M. Butler. 2007a. A natural heritage inventory of the rock outcrops of Shenandoah National Park. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 433 pp. plus appendixes.
Related Concept Name: Lichen / Bryophyte Boulderfield
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.601 North-Central Appalachian Acidic Cliff and Talus


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (23May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Although aggregate acreage is not large, there are probably several hundred occurrences of this association in Virginia alone, with many more known from or likely in adjacent states. Habitats are typically remote, extremely steep and difficult to traverse, minimizing potential human threats.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, NJ, PA, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is widely but locally distributed from the western Piedmont foothills in Maryland (e.g., Sugarloaf Mountain) and Virginia (e.g., Bull Run Mountain) through the Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley portions of the Central Appalachians, north at least to the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The type is fairly common on the siliciclastic western flank of the Northern Blue Ridge and throughout the Ridge and Valley in west-central and northwestern Virginia. It is also frequent in the Ridge and Valley region of Pennsylvania (T. Smith pers. comm.) but may be restricted to the northeastern tier of counties in West Virginia. The potential range of this association covers a much larger geographic area.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: On the largest occurrences, vascular plants are generally absent and lichens dominate. Maximum patch size is about ten acres, but most patches are considerably smaller. Lasallia papulosa and Lasallia pensylvanica, either singly or in combination, are generally abundant and conspicuous. Dimelaena oreina abundantly covers many dry, exposed rock surfaces that are not covered with Lasallia spp. and larger foliose lichens. Although of scattered occurrence, Melanelia culbersonii has been found across the full elevation range of the type and is a good diagnostic species, as it appears to be restricted mostly to siliciclastic rocks (and occasionally coarse-grained, quartz-rich granites that are nearly devoid of dark minerals) in this region. Other minor umbilicate and foliose species include Hypogymnia physodes, Physcia subtilis, Umbilicaria muehlenbergii, Xanthoparmelia conspersa, and Xanthoparmelia plittii. Many crustose species occur, including Aspicilia cinerea, Fuscidea recensa, Lecanora spp., Lepraria spp., Rhizocarpon obscuratum (= Rhizocarpon reductum), and Sarcogyne clavus. Flat surfaces and interstices that have thin deposits of organic matter often support a variety of fruticose lichens, including Cladina rangiferina, Cladonia uncialis (= Cladina uncialis), Cladonia crispata, Cladonia macilenta, Cladonia ochrochlora, and Cladonia squamosa. In the upper elevation range, boreal lichens such as Melanelia stygia and Arctoparmelia centrifuga are present, but they are not abundant. Along the edges of the boulderfields, scattered individuals of Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vaccinium spp., and other vascular plants may occur in transition zones with forests or woodlands. Smaller, more marginal occurrences frequently have sparse vascular plant cover, primarily stunted trees of Betula lenta, Sassafras albidum, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina, Carya glabra, and Carya ovalis. Widely scattered shrubs may include Kalmia latifolia and other ericads. Herbs are usually absent, but Dicentra eximia is known from some occurrences.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Dimelaena oreina G5 Lichen Nonvascular  
 
 
Lasallia papulosa G5 Lichen Nonvascular  
 
 
Lasallia pensylvanica G5 Lichen Nonvascular  
 
 
Melanelia culbersonii G5 Lichen Nonvascular    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Melanelia culbersonii
  (Culberson's Black-parmelia)
G2G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs primarily on fully exposed, minimally weathered quartzite and sandstone boulderfields at low and middle elevations of the Northern Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and adjacent foothills of the upper Piedmont. A few occurrences have also been noted on boulderfields composed of acidic granitic rocks (e.g., on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park). The known elevation range is from about 300 to 1000 m (1000-3300 feet). Aspect is variable among sites, but slopes are typically steep to very steep (often >30). Block size is highly variable, from relatively small and loose stones (<1 m in diameter) to large, stable boulders (>1 m in diameter). Although this association is most extensive on boulder deposits, it may also occur on outcrops associated with the boulderfields, or on very large, exposed cliffs. There is little or no available soil except for occasional small deposits of organic matter in crevices.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The exposed rock surfaces supporting this community are subject to fluctuating, daily extremes of temperature, humidity, and moisture saturation during the growing season, as well as to low temperatures, high winds, and frequent ice during the winter. Boulderfield habitats have resulted from periglacial phenomena and the collapse of resistant strata from weathering and erosion of weaker underlying rocks. Most Central Appalachian boulderfields are well-weathered and now support woodland or forest vegetation. Relatively few remain fully exposed and support wholly nonvascular communities.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming et al. (2007a)
Element Description Edition Date: 07Dec2006
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming, mod. 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., A. Belden, Jr., K. E. Heffernan, A. C. Chazal, N. E. Van Alstine, and E. M. Butler. 2007a. A natural heritage inventory of the rock outcrops of Shenandoah National Park. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 433 pp. plus appendixes.

  • 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.

  • Flenniken, D. G. 1999. The macrolichens in West Virginia. Carlisle Printing, Walnut Creek. 231 pp. plus 26 color plates.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, E. Eastman, L. A. Sneddon, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Classification and mapping of vegetation and fire fuel models at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2007/076. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 2 volumes.

  • Smith, T. No date. Personal communication. Coordinator. Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Richmond VA.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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