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Classification
Scientific Name: North-Central Appalachian Acidic Swamp
Unique Identifier: CES202.604
Image 21921
© Eric R. Sorenson
Summary: These swamps are distributed from central New England through the Central Appalachians south to Virginia and west to Ohio. They are found at low to mid elevations (generally <700 m) in basins or on gently sloping seepage lowlands. The acidic substrate is mineral soil, often with a component of organic muck; if peat is present, it usually forms an organic epipedon over the mineral soil rather than a true peat substrate (although peat layers up to 1 m deep have been found in some of these swamps). Tsuga canadensis is usually present and may be dominant. It is often mixed with deciduous wetland trees such as Acer rubrum or Nyssa sylvatica. Sphagnum is an important component of the bryoid layer. Basin swamps tend to be more nutrient-poor and less species-rich than seepage swamps; in some settings, the two occur adjacent to each other with the basin swamp vegetation surrounded by seepage swamp vegetation on its upland periphery.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system excludes swamps with Chamaecyparis thyoides, a tree more characteristic of the Coastal Plain but which sometimes occurs inland. See Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Basin Peat Swamp (CES203.522). Some examples of this system may appear similar to Southern and Central Appalachian Bog and Fen (CES202.300) or North-Central Interior and Appalachian Acidic Peatland (CES202.606); those systems are distinguished by their deeper peat substrate and overall partly forested character compared to the shallower organic soil and generally forested nature of the present system. Wetlands on the Allegheny Plateau, at higher elevations, are a distinct system, High Allegheny Wetland (CES202.069). There are many species with this type, but it is distinguished by occurring as a mosaic of open wetlands and smaller forest patches with a distinctive hydrology.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES201.574 Northern Appalachian-Acadian Conifer-Hardwood Acidic Swamp
CES202.069 High Allegheny Wetland
CES202.298 Piedmont Seepage Wetland
CES202.336 Piedmont Upland Depression Swamp
CES203.522 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Basin Peat Swamp


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL006014 Acer rubrum - Nyssa sylvatica - Betula alleghaniensis / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006105 Acer rubrum / Carex lacustris Wet Woodland
CEGL006119 Acer rubrum / Carex stricta - Onoclea sensibilis Wet Woodland
CEGL006132 Acer rubrum - Nyssa sylvatica High Allegheny Plateau-Central Appalachian Seep Forest
CEGL006156 Acer rubrum / Rhododendron viscosum - Clethra alnifolia Swamp Forest
CEGL006220 Acer rubrum / Ilex mucronata - Vaccinium corymbosum Swamp Forest
CEGL006226 Tsuga canadensis - Betula alleghaniensis / Ilex verticillata / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006277 Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Swamp Forest
CEGL006279 Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006380 Betula alleghaniensis - Acer rubrum - (Tsuga canadensis, Abies balsamea) / Osmunda cinnamomea Swamp Forest
CEGL006406 Acer rubrum - Fraxinus (pennsylvanica, americana) / Lindera benzoin / Symplocarpus foetidus Swamp Forest
CEGL006588 Picea rubens / Rhododendron maximum - Kalmia latifolia / Eriophorum virginicum / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL007853 Acer rubrum - Nyssa sylvatica / Ilex verticillata - Vaccinium fuscatum / Osmunda cinnamomea Seep Forest
CEGL008533 Tsuga canadensis - Betula alleghaniensis / Veratrum viride - Carex scabrata - Oclemena acuminata Swamp Forest



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Extensive Wet Flat  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
30-180-day hydroperiod  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland  
Temperate  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon >10 cm  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Tree  
Acidic Water  
Shallow (<15 cm) Water  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Helonias bullata
  (Swamp-pink)
G3 LT: Listed threatened

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer rubrum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Nyssa sylvatica G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Tsuga canadensis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Lindera benzoin G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhododendron viscosum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium corymbosum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Osmunda cinnamomea G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex scabrata 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
Ambystoma maculatum
  (Spotted Salamander)
G5      
Condylura cristata
  (Star-nosed Mole)
G5      
Dryophytes versicolor
  (Gray Treefrog)
G5      
Lithobates clamitans
  (Green Frog)
G5      
Notophthalmus viridescens
  (Eastern Newt)
G5      
Thamnophis sauritus
  (Eastern Ribbonsnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CT, MA, MD, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT
Global Range: This system occurs from central New England south to western Virginia (the Central Appalachians region) and west to Ohio.

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
49 Western Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
52 Piedmont Confident or certain
59 Central Appalachian Forest Confident or certain
60 High Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
61 Lower New England / Northern Piedmont Confident or certain
63 Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
53 Appalachia Confident or certain
57 Southern Appalachia Never was there
59 Northeastern Piedmont Never was there
60 Chesapeake Bay Confident or certain
61 Northern Appalachia 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 Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9307

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Jan2015
Element Description Author(s): S.C. Gawler

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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Data last updated: March 2019