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Classification
Scientific Name: South-Central Interior Mesophytic Forest
Unique Identifier: CES202.887

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Summary: These high-diversity, predominately deciduous forests occur on deep and enriched soils (in some cases due to, or enhanced by, the presence of limestone or related base-rich geology), in non-montane settings and usually in somewhat protected landscape positions such as coves or lower slopes. The core distribution of this system lies in the Cumberland and Allegheny plateaus, extending into the adjacent southern Ridge and Valley and portions of the Interior Low Plateau where it is located entirely south of the glacial boundary. Dominant species include Acer saccharum, Fagus grandifolia, Liriodendron tulipifera, Tilia americana, Quercus rubra, Magnolia acuminata, and Juglans nigra. The abundance of Tsuga canadensis, which may be a component of some stands, is being rapidly reduced by the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). The canopy trees may grow very large in undisturbed areas. The herb layer is very rich, often with abundant spring ephemerals. Many examples may be bisected by small streams.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest (CES202.373) (Ecoregions 51 and 59) is being treated as a separate system. The concept of this type (CES202.887) is more-or-less consistent with the "Mixed Mesophytic Communities" of both the Mixed Mesophytic Forest Region and the non-coastal plain portion of the Western Mesophytic Forest Region, extending north into unglaciated portions of the Beech-Maple Forest Region, of Braun (1950) and Greller (1988). There is much variability in different examples of this system across its range, with the composition of some occurrences in the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau approaching that of examples of Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest (CES202.373). The Allegheny Front is adopted as the divide between these two similar systems: material to the west goes to this system, and material to the east goes to Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest (CES202.373). In limited areas of the region, some stands may contain hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). These are noteworthy on a local basis, as the tree is less well distributed in the range of this system than it is in corresponding environments at higher elevation in the Appalachians or to the north.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES202.043 Ozark-Ouachita Mesic Hardwood Forest
CES202.373 Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest
CES202.593 Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest
CES202.693 North-Central Interior Beech-Maple Forest
CES202.898 Southern Interior Low Plateau Dry-Mesic Oak Forest
CES203.558 East Gulf Coastal Plain Depression Pond


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002411 Fagus grandifolia - Acer saccharum - Liriodendron tulipifera Unglaciated Forest
CEGL004741 Acer saccharum - Carya ovata - Juglans nigra / Symphoricarpos orbiculatus / Galium circaezans Forest
CEGL004767 Tsuga canadensis - (Liriodendron tulipifera, Fagus grandifolia) / Magnolia macrophylla / Polystichum acrostichoides Forest
CEGL005043 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Acer saccharum / (Hamamelis virginiana, Kalmia latifolia) Forest
CEGL005222 Liriodendron tulipifera - Tilia americana var. heterophylla - Aesculus flava - Acer saccharum / (Magnolia tripetala) Forest
CEGL006144 Quercus alba - Fagus grandifolia Western Allegheny Plateau Forest
CEGL006201 Acer saccharum - Liriodendron tulipifera - Fraxinus americana / Staphylea trifolia Forest
CEGL006237 Acer saccharum - Fraxinus americana - Tilia americana - Liriodendron tulipifera / Actaea racemosa Forest
CEGL007200 Fagus grandifolia Ridge and Valley Forest
CEGL007201 Fagus grandifolia - Liriodendron tulipifera / Euonymus americanus / Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides Forest
CEGL007213 Quercus alba - Fagus grandifolia / Hydrangea quercifolia - Viburnum acerifolium / Carex picta Forest
CEGL007220 Liriodendron tulipifera / (Cercis canadensis) / (Lindera benzoin) Ruderal Forest
CEGL007233 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovalis / Acer saccharum / Polystichum acrostichoides Forest
CEGL007698 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum - Tilia americana var. heterophylla - Aesculus flava - (Cladrastis kentukea) Forest
CEGL007879 Juglans nigra / Verbesina alternifolia Ruderal Forest
CEGL007881 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Cornus florida Forest
CEGL008428 Quercus alba - (Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua) / Calycanthus floridus / Athyrium filix-femina Forest
CEGL008488 Quercus rubra - Tilia americana var. heterophylla - Carya carolinae-septentrionalis / Acer floridanum / Hydrangea quercifolia Forest



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Sideslope  
Unglaciated  
Eutrophic Soil  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Tree  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aconitum reclinatum
  (White Monkshood)
G3  
Actaea rubifolia
  (Appalachian Bugbane)
G3  
Aesculus parviflora
  (Small-flowered Buckeye)
G3  
Aneides aeneus
  (Green Salamander)
G3G4  
Arabis patens
  (Spreading Rockcress)
G3  
Brachythecium rotaeanum
  (Rota's Feather Moss)
G3G4  
Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens
  (Rufous Beard Moss)
G3G4  
Calystegia catesbeiana
  (Catesby's False Bindweed)
G3  
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Cardamine clematitis
  (Small Mountain Bittercress)
G3  
Cardamine flagellifera
  (Blue Ridge Bittercress)
G3  
Carex manhartii
  (Manhart's Sedge)
G3G4  
Carex radfordii
  (Radford's Sedge)
G3  
Carex roanensis
  (Roan Mountain Sedge)
G2G3  
Clematis addisonii
  (Addison's Leatherflower)
G1?  
Collinsonia verticillata
  (Whorled Horsebalm)
G3G4  
Desmognathus aeneus
  (Seepage Salamander)
G3G4  
Desmognathus imitator
  (Imitator Salamander)
G3G4  
Desmognathus santeetlah
  (Santeetlah Dusky Salamander)
G3G4Q  
Desmognathus wrighti
  (Southern Pygmy Salamander)
G3  
Diervilla rivularis
  (Mountain Bush-honeysuckle)
G3  
Drepanolejeunea appalachiana
  (a liverwort)
G2?  
Entodon sullivantii
  (Sullivant's Entodon Moss)
G3G4  
Euphorbia purpurea
  (Glade Spurge)
G3  
Hydrastis canadensis
  (Goldenseal)
G3G4  
Hygrohypnum closteri
  (Closter's Brook-hypnum)
G3  
Lejeunea blomquistii
  (Blomquist Leafy Liverwort)
G1G2  
Lophocolea appalachiana
  (a liverwort)
G1G2Q  
Marsupella emarginata var. latiloba
  (a liverwort)
G5T1T2  
Megaceros aenigmaticus
  (a hornwort)
G3  
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3  
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3  
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3  
Melanoplus serrulatus
  (Serrulate Melanoplus)
G1G3  
Metzgeria fruticulosa
  (Bluish Veilwort)
G2Q  
Metzgeria uncigera
  (a liverwort)
G3  
Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis
  (Southern Rock Vole)
G4T3  
Nesticus sheari
  (a cave cobweb spider)
G2?  
Panax quinquefolius
  (American Ginseng)
G3G4  
Pieris virginiensis
  (West Virginia White)
G3?  
Plagiochila austinii
  (a liverwort)
G3  
Plagiochila caduciloba
  (Gorge Leafy Liverwort)
G3  
Plagiochila sharpii
  (Sharp's Leafy Liverwort)
G2G4  
Plagiochila virginica var. virginica
  (a liverwort)
G3T3  
Plagiomnium carolinianum
  (Mountain Wavy-leaf Moss)
G3  
Platyhypnidium pringlei
  (Pringle's Platyhypnidium Moss)
G2G3  
Plethodon aureolus
  (Tellico Salamander)
G2G3  
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3  
Plethodon punctatus
  (White-spotted Salamander)
G3  
Plethodon welleri
  (Weller's Salamander)
G3  
Polymnia laevigata
  (Tennessee Leafcup)
G3  
Prosartes maculata
  (Nodding Mandarin)
G3G4  
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ  
Riccardia jugata
  (a liverwort)
G2  
Scutellaria pseudoserrata
  (Falseteeth Skullcap)
G3  
Scutellaria saxatilis
  (Rock Skullcap)
G3  
Silene ovata
  (Ovate Catchfly)
G3  
Sorex palustris punctulatus
  (Southern Water Shrew)
G5T3  
Speyeria diana
  (Diana Fritillary)
G3G4  
Thaspium pinnatifidum
  (Cutleaf Meadow-parsnip)
G2G3  
Trechus luculentus luculentus
  (Bright Ground Beetle)
GHTH  
Trillium lancifolium
  (Lanceleaf Wakerobin)
G3  
Trillium rugelii
  (Southern Nodding Trillium)
G3  
Trillium simile
  (Jeweled Wakerobin)
G3  
Triphora trianthophora
  (Nodding Pogonia)
G3G4  
Virginia valeriae pulchra
  (Mountain Earthsnake)
G5T3T4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer saccharum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Fagus grandifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Juglans nigra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Magnolia acuminata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus rubra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Tilia americana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Actaea racemosa G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Arnoglossum muehlenbergii G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Thaspium pinnatifidum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Trillium grandiflorum G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex radfordii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex roanensis G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Drepanolejeunea appalachiana G2 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Lejeunea blomquistii G1 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Lophocolea appalachiana G1 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Megaceros aenigmaticus G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Plagiochila caduciloba G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Riccardia jugata G2 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Platyhypnidium pringlei G2 Moss Nonvascular      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Ambystoma talpoideum
  (Mole Salamander)
G5      
Aneides aeneus
  (Green Salamander)
G3G4      
Anolis carolinensis
  (Green Anole)
G5      
Autochton cellus
  (Gold-banded Skipper)
G4      
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Cardellina canadensis
  (Canada Warbler)
G5      
Celastrina nigra
  (Dusky Azure)
G4      
Contopus virens
  (Eastern Wood-Pewee)
G5      
Desmognathus aeneus
  (Seepage Salamander)
G3G4      
Desmognathus carolinensis
  (Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander)
G4      
Desmognathus imitator
  (Imitator Salamander)
G3G4      
Desmognathus ochrophaeus
  (Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander)
G5      
Desmognathus santeetlah
  (Santeetlah Dusky Salamander)
G3G4Q      
Desmognathus wrighti
  (Southern Pygmy Salamander)
G3      
Diadophis punctatus
  (Ringneck Snake)
G5      
Eurycea longicauda
  (Longtail Salamander)
G5      
Geothlypis formosa
  (Kentucky Warbler)
G5      
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3      
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3      
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3      
Melanoplus serrulatus
  (Serrulate Melanoplus)
G1G3      
Mesomphix rugeli
  (Wrinkled Button)
G4      
Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis
  (Southern Rock Vole)
G4T3      
Microtus pinetorum
  (Woodland Vole)
G5      
Nesticus sheari
  (a cave cobweb spider)
G2?      
Parascalops breweri
  (Hairy-tailed Mole)
G5      
Peromyscus leucopus
  (White-footed Deermouse)
G5      
Pheucticus ludovicianus
  (Rose-breasted Grosbeak)
G5      
Pieris virginiensis
  (West Virginia White)
G3?      
Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus
  (Northern Coal Skink)
G5T5      
Plethodon aureolus
  (Tellico Salamander)
G2G3      
Plethodon dorsalis
  (Northern Zigzag Salamander)
G5      
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3      
Plethodon punctatus
  (White-spotted Salamander)
G3      
Plethodon teyahalee
  (Southern Appalachian Salamander)
G4      
Plethodon ventralis
  (Southern Zigzag Salamander)
G4      
Plethodon wehrlei
  (Wehrle's Salamander)
G4      
Plethodon welleri
  (Weller's Salamander)
G3      
Plethodon yonahlossee
  (Yonahlossee Salamander)
G4      
Psectrotarsia hebardi
  (Hebard's Noctuid Moth)
GU      
Pseudacris brachyphona
  (Mountain Chorus Frog)
G5      
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ      
Setophaga cerulea
  (Cerulean Warbler)
G4      
Setophaga citrina
  (Hooded Warbler)
G5      
Sorex palustris punctulatus
  (Southern Water Shrew)
G5T3      
Speyeria diana
  (Diana Fritillary)
G3G4      
Storeria occipitomaculata
  (Red-bellied Snake)
G5      
Synanthedon castaneae
  (Chestnut Clearwing Moth)
G3G5      
Synaptomys cooperi
  (Southern Bog Lemming)
G5      
Terrapene carolina
  (Eastern Box Turtle)
G5      
Trechus luculentus luculentus
  (Bright Ground Beetle)
GHTH      
Vireo flavifrons
  (Yellow-throated Vireo)
G5      
Virginia valeriae pulchra
  (Mountain Earthsnake)
G5T3T4      
Virginia valeriae valeriae
  (Eastern Earthsnake)
G5T5      
Vitrinizonites latissimus
  (Glassy Grapeskin)
G4      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AL, GA, IL, IN, KY, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
Global Range: This system occurs in southeastern Ohio east to Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, with disjunct occurrences in unglaciated southwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York. This range is more-or-less consistent with the "Mixed Mesophytic" and "Western Mesophytic" (non-coastal plain portion only) forest regions of Braun (1950) and Greller (1988), although it does extend into unglaciated portions of the "Beech-Maple" region to the north. Thus, this system is most extensive in the Cumberland and Allegheny plateaus, as well as the unglaciated Interior Low Plateau, and becomes relatively limited in extent towards its western limit in the Ozark Hills of Illinois, and towards its northern limit in southwestern New York.. It is replaced in the Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain by other systems. Its range also includes the southern Ridge and Valley from Tennessee (and adjacent southwestern Virginia) to Alabama. Parts of the Cumberland Mountains (EPA 69 in Kentucky and Tennessee) are instead occupied by Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest (CES202.373). North-Central Interior Beech-Maple Forest (CES202.693) replaces this one in EPA 72b of Indiana.

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

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
44 Interior Low Plateau Confident or certain
49 Western Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
50 Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley Confident or certain
60 High Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
47 Appalachia Bluegrass Hills Confident or certain
48 Cumberland Highlands Confident or certain
49 Central Till Plains Confident or certain
53 Appalachia Confident or certain
57 Southern Appalachia Confident or certain
60 Chesapeake Bay Never was there
61 Northern Appalachia Confident or certain
62 Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
63 Finger Lakes Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4127
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1321
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2321

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 06Jun2017
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne and R. Evans

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


References
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Evans, M., B. Yahn, and M. Hines. 2009. Natural communities of Kentucky 2009. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort, KY. 22 pp.

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

  • Greller, A. M. 1988. Deciduous forest. Pages 288-316 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

  • 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.


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Data last updated: March 2018