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Quercus prinus / Deschampsia flexuosa - Solidago bicolor Forest
Translated Name: Chestnut Oak / Wavy Hairgrass - White Goldenrod Forest
Common Name: Chesapeake Bay River Bluff Chestnut Oak Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006490
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association occurs on river-fronting slopes composed of unconsolidated sediments on the Inner Coastal Plain of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Sites include both very steep, erosive, bluff-like slopes and more stable, gently convex upper slopes and bluff-tops underlain by coarse gravel deposits. In either case, the ground surface typically has a substantial amount of exposed mineral substrate, and soils are sandy, extremely acidic, and infertile. This vegetation is an open, somewhat stunted forest with strong overstory dominance by Quercus prinus. Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus stellata are variably present, minor associates. Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Sassafras albidum, Amelanchier arborea, and Fagus grandifolia are characteristic understory species. Isolated, individual shrubs of Kalmia latifolia often occur, but this species does not form dense stands. Patches of Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, and Gaylussacia baccata are typical in the open shrub layer, along with Viburnum acerifolium, scrambling vines of Smilax rotundifolia and young recruitment of Quercus prinus. The herb layer is species-poor, with Deschampsia flexuosa common and Solidago bicolor frequent at low cover. Additional herbs may include Danthonia spicata, Polygonatum biflorum, Carex tonsa, Carex pensylvanica, Hieracium venosum, Viola pedata, and Carex virescens.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This vegetation type has been observed frequently by ecologists in both the Maryland and Virginia Natural Heritage Programs, but very little quantitative documentation exists. Nevertheless, the type is immediately and unambiguously recognizable in the field, and the three available plots performed as a tight, discrete group in quantitative analysis of more than 200 Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia oak / heath forest plots conducted for the NCR vegetation mapping project.

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 Mid-Atlantic Paleodune Dry Oak - Sand 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
Delaware Chesapeake Bay River Bluff Chestnut Oak Forest Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus montana / Deschampsia flexuosa - Solidago bicolor 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 prinus / Deschampsia flexuosa - Solidago bicolor Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.
Related Concept Name: Chestnut Oak Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Oak / Heath 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.475 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (14Jul2016)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: More information is needed to rank this association.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, DE, MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Small to medium-sized patches of this vegetation occur on bluffs bordering rivers and estuarine tidal wetlands throughout the inner northern Coastal Plain of Virginia, and Maryland. This vegetation has also been observed in Delaware (P. Bowman, DNHP, pers. comm.). In Virginia, stands are known from the Potomac, Rappahannock, Pamunkey, and James rivers.

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: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This is usually an open, somewhat stunted forest with strong overstory dominance by Quercus prinus. Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus stellata are variably present, minor associates. Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Sassafras albidum, Amelanchier arborea, and Fagus grandifolia are characteristic understory species. Isolated, individual shrubs of Kalmia latifolia often occur, but this species does not form dense stands. Patches of Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, and Gaylussacia baccata are typical in the open shrub layer, along with Viburnum acerifolium, scrambling vines of Smilax rotundifolia and young recruitment of Quercus prinus. The herb layer is species-poor, with Deschampsia flexuosa common and Solidago bicolor frequent at low cover. Additional herbs may include Danthonia spicata, Polygonatum biflorum, Carex tonsa, Carex pensylvanica, Hieracium venosum, Viola pedata, and Carex virescens. In Virginia, some occurrences of this vegetation can be substantial (>20 ha in aggregate).
Vegetation Structure Summary: This is usually an open, somewhat stunted forest. Isolated, individual shrubs of Kalmia latifolia often occur, but this species does not form dense stands. The herb layer is species-poor. The ground surface typically has a substantial amount of exposed mineral substrate, and soils are sandy, extremely acidic, and infertile.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on river-fronting slopes on Coastal Plain estuarine deposits of Cretaceous, Tertiary, or Quaternary age. Some stands, such as those described by Lea (2004), occur on very steep (up to 60%), bluff-like slopes where toeslope erosion maintains constant colluvial movement. More typically, the type occurs on stable, gently convex upper slopes and bluff-tops underlain by coarse gravel deposits. In either case, the ground surface typically has a substantial amount of exposed mineral substrate, and soils are sandy, extremely acidic, and infertile.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Lea
Element Description Edition Date: 31May2007
Element Description Author(s): G. P. Fleming

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


References
  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

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

  • 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.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.


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