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Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata / Chasmanthium latifolium Piedmont Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Green Ash - American Sycamore - Sugarberry / Indian Woodoats Piedmont Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Piedmont Levee Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007013
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This forest occurs on natural levees of large to medium floodplains in the Piedmont region. Soils are sandy and generally very fertile. Flooding is fairly frequent but generally of short duration. Characteristic levee forest trees dominate or are at least abundant, particularly Platanus occidentalis, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Celtis laevigata, and Acer negundo. Other frequent or abundant species include Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Ulmus americana, and Carya cordiformis. Frequent understory trees include Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Asimina triloba, Cornus florida, and canopy species. The shrub layer is often moderate to dense, with Lindera benzoin, Arundinaria gigantea, Aesculus sylvatica, Asimina triloba, Ilex decidua, or the exotic shrub Ligustrum sinense abundant. Vines are often abundant. The herbaceous layer is usually dense. Elymus virginicus or Chasmanthium latifolium often dominate. Other frequent herbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Carex spp. Galium aparine, Polygonum virginianum (= Persicaria virginiana), Sanicula canadensis, Verbesina occidentalis, and Viola spp.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: There are extensive plot data for this association in the Carolina Vegetation Survey database and in Matthews (2011). This association corresponds to two associations defined by Matthews (2011) for the North Carolina Piedmont: IIIa. Ulmus americana - Celtis laevigata / Lindera benzoin / Osmorhiza longistylis Forest and IIIb. Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis / Acer negundo / Chasmanthium latifolium Forest. Those two types correspond to differences between upstream and downstream portions of large river floodplains. They may warrant recognition as separate associations, but appear to be too finely divided. The association is represented in the Virginia plots database by 13 plots, which have been analyzed in a statewide dataset of Piedmont and inner Coastal Plain floodplain forests.

Platanus occidentalis - Liquidambar styraciflua / Carpinus caroliniana - Asimina triloba Floodplain Forest (CEGL007340) has previously been used for most of the communities covered by this association (CEGL007013). It is very broadly defined geographically and appears to have been intended more for smaller floodplains. It is narrowed by the creation of this association.


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 Southern Ash - Elm - Willow Floodplain Forest
Alliance Coastal Plain Sycamore - Green Ash - Elm Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004418 Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera / Lindera benzoin / Arisaema triphyllum Floodplain Forest
CEGL004426 Acer rubrum var. trilobum / Viburnum nudum var. nudum / Osmunda cinnamomea - Saururus cernuus - Impatiens capensis Seep Forest
CEGL004740 Celtis laevigata - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - (Juglans nigra) / Asimina triloba / Carex grayi Floodplain Forest
CEGL006036 Platanus occidentalis - Fraxinus pennsylvanica Floodplain Forest
CEGL006492 Liriodendron tulipifera - Acer negundo - (Platanus occidentalis) / Carpinus caroliniana / Polygonum virginianum Floodplain Forest
CEGL006603 Platanus occidentalis - (Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera) / Asimina triloba Floodplain Forest
CEGL007334 Platanus occidentalis - Acer saccharinum - Juglans nigra - Ulmus rubra Floodplain Forest
CEGL007340 Platanus occidentalis - Liquidambar styraciflua / Carpinus caroliniana - Asimina triloba Floodplain Forest
CEGL007730 Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Ilex decidua / Carex retroflexa Floodplain Forest
CEGL007880 Liquidambar styraciflua - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Platanus occidentalis) / Halesia tetraptera / Amphicarpaea bracteata 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 Piedmont Levee Forest (Typic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: IIIa. Ulmus americana - Celtis laevigata / Lindera benzoin / Osmorhiza longistylis Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Matthews, E. R. 2011. Piedmont alluvial vegetation: Classification, geographic variation, and restoration. PhD. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Related Concept Name: IIIb. Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis / Acer negundo / Chasmanthium latifolium Forest
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Matthews, E. R. 2011. Piedmont alluvial vegetation: Classification, geographic variation, and restoration. PhD. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Related Concept Name: Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest
Relationship: I - Intersecting
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.324 Southern Piedmont Large Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (18Oct2011)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is common along larger Piedmont rivers, though it is generally narrow. It is often left even when the adjacent floodplain communities are destroyed. However, many miles have been destroyed by reservoir construction. This association is one of the most prone to invasion by exotic plants, and most examples have herb or shrub layers altered by them. Most examples also have been affected by altered hydrology and excessive sediment movement caused by urbanization, land clearing, and past extreme soil erosion in their watersheds.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This forest occurs in the Piedmont of North Carolina, and the central and southern Piedmont of Virginia. A few stands also occur in the extreme inner Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginia, along the Meherrin and Nottoway rivers. It is likely to occur in South Carolina and Georgia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The canopy is generally closed unless recently disturbed. It may be a diverse mix of trees, or may locally consist of only a few species. Characteristic levee forest trees dominate or are at least abundant, particularly Platanus occidentalis, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Celtis laevigata, and Acer negundo. In Virginia, Celtis occidentalis largely replaces Celtis laevigata in the Piedmont. Other frequent or abundant species include Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Ulmus americana, Betula nigra, and Carya cordiformis. Quercus michauxii, Acer rubrum, and Acer barbatum (= Acer floridanum) are less frequent but may be abundant. Frequent understory trees include Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Asimina triloba, Cornus florida, and canopy species. The shrub layer is often moderate to dense, with Lindera benzoin, Arundinaria gigantea, Aesculus sylvatica, Asimina triloba, Ilex decidua, or the exotic shrub Ligustrum sinense abundant. Vines are often abundant, particularly Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis rotundifolia, Smilax spp., Bignonia capreolata, and Trachelospermum difforme. The herbaceous layer is usually dense. Elymus virginicus or Chasmanthium latifolium often dominate; in Virginia, Elymus macgregorii may also locally dominate. Other frequent herbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Carex spp. (Carex amphibola, Carex grisea, Carex corrugata, Carex radiata, Carex rosea, Carex blanda, Carex intumescens, Carex tribuloides), Galium aparine, Polygonum virginianum (= Persicaria virginiana), Sanicula canadensis, Verbesina occidentalis, and Viola spp. Other herbs may include Commelina virginica, Festuca subverticillata, Glyceria striata, Juncus effusus, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Arisaema dracontium, Geum canadense, Leersia virginica, Pilea pumila, Ranunculus abortivus, and Solidago spp. Exotic plants often come to dominate the herb layer, particularly Lonicera japonica, and Microstegium vimineum, but also Stellaria media, Glechoma hederacea, or other species.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This forest occurs on natural levees of large to medium floodplains in the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont region. Generally these are on large rivers where the floodplain is wide, but may also include well-developed levees in the broad floodplains of smaller creeks in Triassic basins. Soils are sandy and generally very fertile. Flooding is fairly frequent but generally of short duration. Soils are well-drained when not flooded. Scouring by flowing water causes fine-scale local disturbance. Light from the open river channel may also be an important environmental influence.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Flooding is fairly frequent but generally of short duration. Scouring by flowing water causes fine-scale local disturbance but does not generally cause extensive disturbance. Trees regenerate mainly through gap formation caused by windthrow or other single-tree mortality. Windthrow patches may be somewhat larger and more frequent than in most forests because of the sandy soil and open edge along the river.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 09Dec2011
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale and G.P Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18Oct2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.P. Schafale

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., and K. D. Patterson. 2012. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 12-04. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 36 pp.

  • Matthews, E. R. 2011. Piedmont alluvial vegetation: Classification, geographic variation, and restoration. PhD. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Matthews, E. R., R. K. Peet, and A. S. Weakley. 2011. Classification and description of alluvial plant communities of the Piedmont region, North Carolina, U.S.A. Applied Vegetation Science 14:485-505.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • 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.

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.


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