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Tsuga canadensis - Betula alleghaniensis - Acer saccharum / Dryopteris intermedia Forest
Translated Name: Eastern Hemlock - Yellow Birch - Sugar Maple / Intermediate Woodfern Forest
Common Name: Hemlock - Northern Hardwood Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006638
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association comprises hemlock - northern hardwood forests of the northeastern United States and adjacent maritime Canada. This forest is associated with cool, dry-mesic to mesic sites and acidic soils, often on rocky, north-facing slopes. Soils can have a thick, poorly decomposed duff layer over sandy loams. Tsuga canadensis is characteristic and usually dominant in the coniferous to mixed canopy. While hemlock generally forms at least 50% of the canopy, in some cases it may be as low as 25% relative dominance. Hardwood codominants include Betula alleghaniensis or Acer saccharum, with Fagus grandifolia common but not usually abundant in all but the very southern portion of the range of this type. Betula lenta may replace Betula alleghaniensis in some areas. Ostrya virginiana may be present as a small tree. Quercus spp. and Pinus strobus tend to be absent or, if present, only occur with low abundance. The shrub layer may be dense to fairly open and often includes Viburnum acerifolium and Acer pensylvanicum in addition to Tsuga canadensis regeneration. Herbs may be sparse, particularly in dense shade, but include Dryopteris intermedia, Medeola virginiana, Oxalis montana, Mitchella repens, Maianthemum canadense, Uvularia sessilifolia, Polystichum acrostichoides, Trientalis borealis, Huperzia lucidula, Oclemena acuminata, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, and Thelypteris noveboracensis. Nonvascular plants may be well-developed, often characterized by the liverwort Bazzania trilobata. Diagnostic characteristics of this forest are the dominance of Tsuga canadensis, presence of Betula alleghaniensis and Acer saccharum, and a lack of abundant Quercus spp., Pinus strobus, other conifers, or Betula lenta.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This type was formerly included in CEGL006109, which was split into CEGL006638 and CEGL006639. It was separated from Tsuga canadensis - Acer saccharum - Fagus grandifolia / Dryopteris intermedia Forest (CEGL006639) to better recognize its Northern Appalachian - Acadian region characteristics, including much stronger dominance by Betula alleghaniensis. However, it may overlap strongly with Tsuga canadensis - (Betula alleghaniensis) - Picea rubens / Cornus canadensis Forest (CEGL006129). See also another conifer-dominated association in this region, Pinus strobus - Tsuga canadensis - Picea rubens Forest (CEGL006324). Stands of this vegetation type could become threatened by adelgid-caused tree mortality should the adelgid continue to spread northward.

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 Laurentian-Acadian Mesic Hardwood - Conifer Forest
Group Laurentian-Acadian Hemlock - White Pine - Hardwood Forest
Alliance Laurentian-Acadian Mesic Hemlock - Northern Hardwood Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL005043 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Acer saccharum / (Hamamelis virginiana, Kalmia latifolia) Forest
CEGL006088 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus rubra Forest
CEGL006129 Tsuga canadensis - (Betula alleghaniensis) - Picea rubens / Cornus canadensis Forest
CEGL006474 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (montana, alba) Forest
CEGL006639 Tsuga canadensis - Acer saccharum - Fagus grandifolia / Dryopteris intermedia Forest
CEGL007861 Betula alleghaniensis - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum / (Leucothoe fontanesiana) Forest
CEGL008513 Tsuga canadensis - Betula alleghaniensis / Ilex montana / Rhododendron catawbiense 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
Maine Hemlock forest Broader   Gawler 2002
New Hampshire Hemlock forest Finer   Sperduto 2000
Vermont Hemlock-Northern Hardwood Forest Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Eastern Hemlock: 23
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Hemlock - Yellow Birch: 24
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.593 Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4G5 (03Dec2014)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This association has a very large geographic distribution and occurs in large patches in the northern part of its range.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, NH, VT
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is generally distributed in large patches in the northeastern United States and adjacent maritime Canada.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Adirondack-New England Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: White Mountain Section
Section Code: M212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Vermont-New Hampshire Upland Section
Section Code: M212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Tsuga canadensis is dominant and forms at least 50% of the canopy. Betula alleghaniensis can be codominant, with Fagus grandifolia and Acer saccharum common. The shrub layer may be dense to fairly open and often includes Viburnum acerifolium and Acer pensylvanicum in addition to Tsuga canadensis regeneration. Herbs may be sparse, particularly in dense shade, but often include Dryopteris intermedia, Medeola virginiana, Oxalis montana, Mitchella repens, Maianthemum canadense, Trientalis borealis, Huperzia lucidula (= Lycopodium lucidulum), and Thelypteris noveboracensis. Nonvascular plants may be well-developed, often characterized by the liverwort Bazzania trilobata. Diagnostic characteristics of this forest are the presence of Betula alleghaniensis and Acer saccharum and a lack of abundant Quercus spp., Pinus strobus, or Betula lenta.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula alleghaniensis G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Tsuga canadensis G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Acer pensylvanicum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Viburnum acerifolium G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Maianthemum canadense G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Medeola virginiana G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Mitchella repens G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Oclemena acuminata G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Dryopteris intermedia G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Huperzia lucidula G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Thelypteris noveboracensis G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex albicans G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This forest is associated with cool, dry-mesic to mesic sites and acidic soils, often on rocky, north-facing slopes. Soils can have a thick, poorly decomposed duff layer over sandy loams.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen
Element Description Edition Date: 03Dec2014
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid, S.C. Gawler, G.P. Fleming and D. Faber-Langendoen
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Dec2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming, mod. S.L. Neid and D. Faber-Langendoen

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.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • NAP [Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Working Group]. 1998. Northern Appalachian-Boreal Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service]. 2004a. Soil survey of Saratoga County, New York. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 590 pp.

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 pp.

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.


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