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Classification
Scientific Name: Madrean Oriental Chaparral
Unique Identifier: CES302.031

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Summary: This ecological system occurs in mountains across southeastern New Mexico (Guadalupe Mountains), Trans-Pecos Texas (Chisos and Davis mountains) and Madrean Oriental in northern Mexico. It often dominates along the mid-elevation transition from the Chihuahuan Desert into mountains (1700-2500 m). It occurs on foothills, mountain slopes and canyons in drier habitats below the encinal and pine woodlands, and is often associated with more xeric and coarse-textured substrates such as limestone, basalt or alluvium, especially in transition areas with more mesic woodlands. The moderate to dense shrub canopy includes many shrub oak species, such as Quercus emoryi, Quercus grisea, Quercus intricata, Quercus invaginata, Quercus laceyi, Quercus mohriana, Quercus pringlei, Quercus pungens, and Quercus vaseyana, and several widespread chaparral species, such as Arctostaphylos pungens, Ceanothus greggii, Cercocarpus montanus, Fallugia paradoxa, and Garrya wrightii; other species characteristic of this system include Arbutus xalapensis, Fraxinus greggii, Fendlera rigida, Garrya ovata, Purshia mexicana, Rhus virens var. choriophylla, Salvia lycioides, Salvia roemeriana, and Salvia regla. In the Trans-Pecos of Texas, disjunct Quercus gambelii may occur as a significant component of this shrubland. In addition, Texas occurrences may also include Agave lechuguilla, Aloysia wrightii, Ceanothus greggii, Cercocarpus montanus, Chrysactinia mexicana, Dasylirion leiophyllum, Fallugia paradoxa, Fraxinus greggii, Garrya wrightii, Juniperus pinchotii, Nolina texana, Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii, Pinus cembroides or Pinus edulis (in the Guadalupe Mountain region), Quercus turbinella, Quercus x pauciloba, Rhus virens, and Viguiera stenoloba. Most chaparral species are fire-adapted, resprouting vigorously after burning or producing fire-resistant seeds. Stands occurring within montane woodlands are seral and a result of recent fires. Grass cover may be significant. Dominant grasses often include Bouteloua curtipendula, Bouteloua hirsuta, and Muhlenbergia emersleyi. In Texas, the herbaceous cover is patchy and bare rock is frequently visible. Where present, graminoids dominate the herbaceous layer with species such as Bouteloua curtipendula, Bouteloua hirsuta, Muhlenbergia emersleyi, Muhlenbergia pauciflora, Muhlenbergia setifolia, Achnatherum lobatum, Muhlenbergia dubia, and Heteropogon contortus.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: The similar Mogollon chaparral system has floristics mostly derived from the Sierra Madre Occidental, whereas floristics of this system are derived from the Sierra Madre Oriental. However, this system is not mattoral (thornscrub) as it is typically dominated by shrubby evergreen oaks and chaparral species, not thornscrub species. More survey is needed to determine if Quercus turbinella, common in the Mogollon Chaparral system, also occurs in the Madrean Oriental Chaparral. In Texas, distinguishing this shrubland system from Madrean Encinal (CES305.795) is sometimes difficult.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL001089 Cercocarpus montanus / Muhlenbergia pauciflora Shrubland
CEGL001123 Rhus virens var. choriophylla / Cercocarpus montanus var. paucidentatus Shrubland
CEGL003832 Quercus pungens - Cercocarpus montanus Shrubland
CEGL004530 Quercus intricata - Dasylirion leiophyllum Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Shrubland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Shallow Soil  
Xeric  
F-Patch/High Intensity  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Temperate Temperate Xeric

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Fendlera rigida
  (Stiff Fendlerbush)
G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Arbutus xalapensis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree (canopy & subcanopy)    
 
 
Fraxinus greggii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus gambelii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhus microphylla G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ceanothus greggii G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cercocarpus montanus G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Fendlera rigida G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Garrya ovata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Garrya wrightii G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Purshia mexicana G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus intricata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus mohriana G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus pungens GNR Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus vaseyana G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhus virens var. choriophylla T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Nolina microcarpa G4 Succulent shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Bouteloua curtipendula G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Bouteloua hirsuta G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Muhlenbergia emersleyi G5 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
Melozone fusca
  (Canyon Towhee)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: NM, TX
Distribution Outside Canada and the United States: Mexico
Global Range: This system is found on mountains across southeastern New Mexico, Trans-Pecos Texas and northern Mexico. It often dominants along the mid-elevation transition from the Chihuahuan Desert into mountains (1700-2500 m elevation).

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
301-Madrean Semidesert P: Predicted or probable
302-North American Warm Desert C: Confident or certain
305-Sierra Madre P: Predicted or probable
306-Rocky Mountain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
21 Arizona-New Mexico Mountains Predicted or probable
22 Apache Highlands Predicted or probable
24 Chihuahuan Desert Predicted or probable

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
25 Rio Grande Basin Confident or certain
26 Chihuahuan Desert Confident or certain
27 Great Plains Tablelands Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5307
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1101
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2101

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Oct2014
Element Description Author(s): K. Schulz and P. Comer

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


References
  • Brown, D. E., editor. 1982a. Biotic communities of the American Southwest-United States and Mexico. Desert Plants Special Issue 4(1-4):1-342.

  • 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.

  • Dick-Peddie, W. A. 1993. New Mexico vegetation: Past, present, and future. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 244 pp.

  • Elliott, L. 2012. Draft descriptions of systems, mapping subsystems, and vegetation types for Phases V. Unpublished documents. Texas Parks and Wildlife Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping Project. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, San Antonio.

  • Muldavin, E., P. Mehlhop, and E. DeBruin. 1994a. A survey of sensitive species and vegetation communities in the Organ Mountains of Fort Bliss. Volume III: Vegetation communities. Report prepared for Fort Bliss, Texas, by New Mexico Natural Heritage Program, Albuquerque.

  • Muldavin, E., P. Neville, P. Arbetan, Y. Chauvin, A. Browder, and T. Neville. 2003a. A vegetation map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Final report submitted in partial fulfillment of Cooperative Agreement No. Ca-7170-99-004. New Mexico Natural Heritage Program at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. 102 pp.

  • Muldavin, E., Y. Chauvin, and G. Harper. 2000b. The vegetation of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico: Volume I. Handbook of vegetation communities. Final report to Environmental Directorate, White Sands Missile Range. New Mexico Natural Heritage Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. 195 pp. plus appendices

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.


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