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Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
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Classification
Scientific Name: Edwards Plateau Mesic Canyon
Unique Identifier: CES303.038

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Summary: This ecological system is largely endemic to the Edwards Plateau ecoregion and occurs on canyon bottoms, mesic lower slopes and steep canyons, primarily in the Southern Balcones Escarpment, but also in the Eastern Balcones Escarpment. This system also includes cliff faces and lower slopes of boxed canyons occurring as narrow, sometimes long bands in areas often with seeps where moisture is consistently more available than on adjacent slopes. The tree canopy is generally closed. Common components include Ulmus crassifolia, Juglans major, Quercus buckleyi, Quercus laceyi, Prunus serotina var. eximia (becoming less common to the north), Fraxinus albicans (dominant in the northeastern plateau), Quercus muehlenbergii, and Acer grandidentatum. Canyon bottoms may have scattered Quercus macrocarpa. Substrate (limestone) and topographic position (north and east aspects and lower slopes) are the dominant characteristics of this system. Small seepage areas are often dominated by Adiantum capillus-veneris, with Thelypteris ovata var. lindheimeri on nearby moist habitats. Other prominent species include Buddleja racemosa, Ungnadia speciosa, and Toxicodendron radicans ssp. eximium. Fire probably plays little role in the system, while grazing and browsing (by native as well as exotic ungulates) may play an important role in recruitment and understory composition. Adjacent, drier slopes are usually dominated by various Quercus species and Juniperus ashei.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES303.653 Edwards Plateau Cliff
CES303.656 Edwards Plateau Dry-Mesic Slope Forest and Woodland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002136 Quercus laceyi - Juniperus ashei Woodland
CEGL002319 Acer grandidentatum - (Quercus muehlenbergii) / Carex edwardsiana Lampasas Cutplain Forest
CEGL004514 Adiantum capillus-veneris - (Thelypteris ovata var. lindheimeri, Thelypteris kunthii) Cliff Vegetation
CEGL004520 Muhlenbergia reverchonii - Bouteloua hirsuta var. pectinata - Carex microdonta Grassland
CEGL004927 Quercus muehlenbergii - Juglans major - (Ulmus rubra) / Verbesina virginica Forest
CEGL004931 Acer grandidentatum - Quercus muehlenbergii - Quercus laceyi / Carex edwardsiana - Chaetopappa effusa Southern Edwards Plateau Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Forest and Woodland
Spatial Pattern: Linear
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Canyon  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Ustic  
Flood Scouring  
Canyon Mosaic  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Foothill
Lowland Lowland
Moss/Lichen (Nonvascular)  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Alkaline Soil  
Calcareous  
Landslide  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Carex edwardsiana
  (Edwards Plateau Sedge)
G3G4  
Clematis texensis
  (Scarlet Virgin's-bower)
G3G4  
Prunus serotina var. eximia
  (Black Cherry)
G5T2T4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer grandidentatum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Prunus serotina var. eximia T3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus buckleyi G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus muehlenbergii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Juniperus ashei G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Adiantum capillus-veneris G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Thelypteris ovata var. lindheimeri T4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex edwardsiana G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Baeolophus atricristatus
  (Black-crested Titmouse)
G5      
Gerrhonotus infernalis
  (Texas Alligator Lizard)
G4      
Sceloporus olivaceus
  (Texas Spiny Lizard)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: TX
Global Range: Largely endemic to the Edwards Plateau ecoregion and occurs on canyon bottoms, mesic lower slopes and steep canyons, primarily in the Southern Balcones Escarpment, but also in the Eastern Balcones Escarpment.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
303-Western Great Plains C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
29 Edwards Plateau Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
35 Edwards Plateau Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4153
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1524
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2524

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 24Feb2011
Element Description Author(s): L. Elliott, K.A. Schulz, J. Teague

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


References
  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Elliott, L. 2011. Draft descriptions of systems, mapping subsystems, and vegetation types for Phases I, II, III, and IV. Unpublished documents. Texas Parks and Wildlife Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping Project. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, San Antonio.

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

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 2004b. A biodiversity and conservation assessment of the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion. Edwards Plateau Ecoregional Planning Team, The Nature Conservancy, San Antonio, TX.


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