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Classification
Scientific Name: Great Lakes Dune
Unique Identifier: CES201.026
Classification Confidence: 1 - Strong

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Summary: This system occurs along the Great Lakes shores region of the United States and Canada. Component plant communities vary from sparsely vegetated, active dunes to communities dominated by grasses, shrubs, and trees, depending on the degree of sand deposition, sand erosion, and distance from the lake. Many open dunes on Lake Michigan are considered "perched dunes" in that sands were deposited on top of glacial moraine located along the coast. In some instances, dunefields sit several hundred feet above current lake levels. Depositional areas, where Great Lakes beachgrass foredunes are found, are dominated by Ammophila breviligulata (or in the eastern part of the range Ammophila champlainensis); erosional areas, such as slacks in blowouts and dunefields, by Calamovilfa longifolia; and stabilized areas by Schizachyrium scoparium. In dunefields and on the most stable dune ridges, especially around northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, low evergreen shrubs (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Juniperus communis, Juniperus horizontalis) occupy dune crests and also the ground layer in the savanna edge of dunes; elsewhere, deciduous shrubs are dominant, including Prunus pumila, Salix cordata, and Salix myricoides (= Salix glaucophylloides). Backdunes tend to succeed to forests and savanna indistinguishable from corresponding types found on sandy substrates further inland.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: The system, as described, includes the open grassland, shrubland, and woodland parts of the dune. The lee side of the dunes often contains forests on deep, moist to dry sands that resemble other forested systems. Such forests may include hemlock-hardwood and red oak forests.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES201.149 Great Lakes Sand Beach
CES201.726 Great Lakes Wooded Dune and Swale


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002589 Pinus banksiana - Pinus resinosa - Pinus strobus Dune Forest
CEGL005064 Juniperus horizontalis - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi - Juniperus communis Dune Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL005075 Prunus pumila - (Ptelea trifoliata) Dune Shrubland
CEGL005098 Ammophila breviligulata - (Schizachyrium scoparium) Grassland
CEGL005119 Populus deltoides - (Juniperus virginiana) Dune Woodland
CEGL005162 Cakile edentula Great Lakes Shore Sparse Vegetation
CEGL006235 Cakile edentula var. lacustris - Argentina anserina Sparse Vegetation



Classifiers

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

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Lowland
Herbaceous  
Beach (Landform)  
Blowout  
Dune field  
Foredune  
Interdune flat  
Longshore bar  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Ammophila champlainensis
  (Lake Champlain Beachgrass)
G2G3Q  
Botrychium acuminatum
  (Pointed Moonwort)
G1  
Botrychium michiganense
  (Michigan Moonwort)
G3  
Copablepharon michiganensis
  (Michigan Dune Dart Moth)
G1G2  
Trimerotropis huroniana
  (Lake Huron Locust)
G2G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus communis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus banksiana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Prunus pumila G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salix cordata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Salix myricoides G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Juniperus horizontalis G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Cakile edentula G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Botrychium acuminatum G1 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Botrychium michiganense G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Ammophila breviligulata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Ammophila champlainensis G2 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
Callophrys polios
  (Hoary Elfin)
G5      
Copablepharon michiganensis
  (Michigan Dune Dart Moth)
G1G2      
Euxoa pleuritica
  (Fawn Brown Dart Moth)
G4      
Euxoa scandens
  (White Cutworm Moth)
G5      
Microtus pennsylvanicus
  (Meadow Vole)
G5      
Mustela frenata
  (Long-tailed Weasel)
G5      
Peromyscus maniculatus
  (North American Deermouse)
G5      
Sylvilagus floridanus
  (Eastern Cottontail)
G5      
Sympistis riparia
  (Dune Noctuid Moth)
G4      
Trimerotropis huroniana
  (Lake Huron Locust)
G2G3      
Trimerotropis maritima
  (Seaside Grasshopper)
G5      
Ufeus plicatus
  (Folded Satyr)
G4      
Vulpes vulpes
  (Red Fox)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, VT, WI
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: ON
Global Range: This system occurs along the Great Lakes shores of the United States and Canada on stabilized foredunes, ranging from Wisconsin to Ontario and New York in the Great Lakes, and in isolated occurrences along the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
201-Laurentian-Acadian C: Confident or certain
202-Central Interior and Appalachian C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
48 Great Lakes Confident or certain
64 St. Lawrence-Champlain Valley Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
41 Northern Lake Country Confident or certain
49 Central Till Plains Confident or certain
50 Central Great Lakes Uplands Confident or certain
51 Great Lakes Plains Confident or certain
52 Eastern Till Plains Confident or certain
62 Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
63 Finger Lakes Confident or certain
64 Northeastern Highlands Confident or certain
65 Connecticut River Basin and Highlands Confident or certain
66 The North Woods Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 3137

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 25Mar2003
Element Description Author(s): 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
  • Albert, D. A. 1995b. Regional landscape ecosystems of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: A working map and classification. General Technical Report NC-178. USDA Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN. 250 pp. plus maps.

  • Comer, P. J., D. A. Albert, H. A. Wells, B. L. Hart, J. B. Raab, D. L. Price, D. M. Kashian, R. A. Corner, and D. W. Schuen. 1995a. Michigan's native landscape, as interpreted from the General Land Office Surveys 1816-1856. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 78 pp. plus digital map.

  • Comer, P. J., D. A. Albert, and M. Austin (cartography). 1998. Vegetation of Michigan circa 1800: An interpretation of the General Land Office Surveys 1816-1856. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 2-map set, scale: 1:500,000.

  • 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.

  • Dorr, J. A., and D. F. Eschman. 1970. Geology of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor. 476 pp.

  • Dorroh, R. J. 1971. The vegetation of Indian shell mounds and rings of the South Carolina coast. M.S. thesis, University of South Carolina, Columbia. 68 pp.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

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

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. [http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/reports/2007-21_Natural_Communites_of_Michigan_Classification_and_Description.pdf]

  • ONHD [Ohio Natural Heritage Database]. No date. Vegetation classification of Ohio and unpublished data. Ohio Natural Heritage Database, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbus.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. [http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/landscapes/Book.html]


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