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Classification
Scientific Name: Central and Southern Appalachian Montane Oak Forest
Unique Identifier: CES202.596

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Summary: This generally oak-dominated system is found in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. These high-elevation deciduous forests occur on exposed sites, including ridgecrests and south- to west-facing slopes, mostly between 915 and 1372 m (3000-4500 feet) elevation, less commonly ranging up to 1680 m (5500 feet). In most associations attributed to this system, the soils are thin, weathered, nutrient-poor, low in organic matter, and acidic. The forests are dominated by Quercus spp. (most commonly Quercus rubra and Quercus alba), with the individual trees in high-elevation red oak examples often stunted or wind-flagged. Castanea dentata sprouts are also common, but the importance of chestnut in these forests has been dramatically altered by chestnut blight. Ilex montana, Hamamelis virginiana, and Rhododendron prinophyllum (in Virginia and West Virginia) are characteristic shrubs.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system may be interfingered with the non-oak-dominated Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest (CES202.029), particularly between 1220 and 1525 m (4000-5000 feet) elevation. Above 1372 m (4500 feet) elevation and below spruce-fir communities, this system may be replaced on certain aspects by Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest (CES202.029).

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES202.029 Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwood Forest
CES202.332 Southern Appalachian Low-Elevation Pine Forest
CES202.886 Southern Appalachian Oak Forest


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL004256 Quercus rubra - Fraxinus americana - Acer saccharum / Actaea racemosa - Caulophyllum thalictroides Forest
CEGL004817 Quercus rubra - Quercus montana - Magnolia (acuminata, fraseri) / Acer pensylvanicum Forest
CEGL006134 Quercus rubra - (Quercus montana) / Vaccinium spp. / Deschampsia flexuosa Woodland
CEGL006258 Caltha palustris - Impatiens capensis - Viola cucullata Seepage Meadow
CEGL007230 Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, montana) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest
CEGL007295 Quercus alba / Kalmia latifolia Forest
CEGL007298 Quercus rubra / Carex pensylvanica - Ageratina altissima var. roanensis Forest
CEGL007299 Quercus rubra / (Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron catawbiense, Rhododendron maximum) / Galax urceolata Forest
CEGL007300 Quercus rubra / (Vaccinium simulatum, Rhododendron calendulaceum) / (Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Thelypteris noveboracensis) Forest
CEGL008502 Betula alleghaniensis - Quercus rubra / Acer spicatum / Dryopteris intermedia - Oclemena acuminata Forest
CEGL008504 Betula alleghaniensis / Sorbus americana - Acer spicatum / Polypodium appalachianum Forest
CEGL008506 Quercus rubra - (Quercus alba) / Ilex montana / Dennstaedtia punctilobula - Lysimachia quadrifolia Forest
CEGL008518 Quercus rubra - Carya ovata - Fraxinus americana / Actaea racemosa - Hydrophyllum virginianum Forest
CEGL008528 Tilia americana - Fraxinus americana / Acer pensylvanicum / Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Impatiens pallida Woodland



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
Montane  
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Ridge/Summit/Upper Slope  
Unglaciated  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Tree  
Quercus - Carya  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Temperate  
Oligotrophic Soil  
Acidic Soil  
Shallow Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Ustic  
Consolidated  
W-Landscape/Medium Intensity  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Coreopsis latifolia
  (Broadleaf Tickseed)
G3  
Desmognathus santeetlah
  (Santeetlah Dusky Salamander)
G3G4Q  
Frullania appalachiana
  (a liverwort)
G1?  
Gentiana austromontana
  (Appalachian Gentian)
G3  
Gymnocarpium appalachianum
  (Appalachian Oak Fern)
G3  
Helianthus glaucophyllus
  (Whiteleaf Sunflower)
G3G4  
Hypericum graveolens
  (Mountain St. John's-wort)
G3  
Hypericum mitchellianum
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3  
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3  
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3  
Metzgeria fruticulosa
  (Bluish Veilwort)
G2Q  
Panax quinquefolius
  (American Ginseng)
G3G4  
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3  
Plethodon punctatus
  (White-spotted Salamander)
G3  
Plethodon shenandoah
  (Shenandoah Salamander)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Plethodon welleri
  (Weller's Salamander)
G3  
Prenanthes roanensis
  (Roan Mountain Rattlesnake-root)
G3  
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ  
Pycnanthemum beadlei
  (Beadle's Mountainmint)
G2G4  
Robinia viscosa var. hartwegii
  (Hartweg's Locust)
G3T2  
Rugelia nudicaulis
  (Rugel's Ragwort)
G3  
Schlotheimia lancifolia
  (Highlands Moss)
G2  
Scutellaria arguta
  (Hairy Skullcap)
G1?Q  
Silene ovata
  (Ovate Catchfly)
G3  
Solidago lancifolia
  (Broadleaf Goldenrod)
G3G4Q  
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
%
Oxydendrum arboreum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus rubra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Castanea dentata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium pallidum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Scutellaria arguta G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Dennstaedtia punctilobula G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Deschampsia flexuosa G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Frullania appalachiana G1 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Schlotheimia lancifolia 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
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Coluber constrictor
  (North American Racer)
G5      
Crotalus horridus
  (Timber Rattlesnake)
G4      
Desmognathus carolinensis
  (Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander)
G4      
Desmognathus santeetlah
  (Santeetlah Dusky Salamander)
G3G4Q      
Glaucomys volans
  (Southern Flying Squirrel)
G5      
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3      
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3      
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3      
Neotoma floridana haematoreia
  (Southern Appalachian Woodrat)
G5T4Q      
Parascalops breweri
  (Hairy-tailed Mole)
G5      
Pekania pennanti
  (Fisher)
G5      
Phyciodes batesii
  (Tawny Crescent)
G5      
Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus
  (Northern Coal Skink)
G5T5      
Plethodon dorsalis
  (Northern Zigzag Salamander)
G5      
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3      
Plethodon punctatus
  (White-spotted Salamander)
G3      
Plethodon shenandoah
  (Shenandoah Salamander)
G1 LE: Listed endangered    
Plethodon teyahalee
  (Southern Appalachian 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      
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ      
Sciurus carolinensis
  (Eastern Gray Squirrel)
G5      
Synanthedon castaneae
  (Chestnut Clearwing Moth)
G3G5      
Tamias striatus
  (Eastern Chipmunk)
G5      
Virginia valeriae pulchra
  (Mountain Earthsnake)
G5T3T4      
Virginia valeriae valeriae
  (Eastern Earthsnake)
G5T5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: GA, KY, MDpotentially occurs, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV
Global Range: This system is found at higher elevations of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, Virginia and West Virginia to Georgia. In Kentucky, this system is restricted to the Cumberland Mountains in the extreme southeastern corner of that state. In West Virginia, this system is found in the Ridge and Valley.

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
50 Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley Confident or certain
51 Southern Blue Ridge Confident or certain
59 Central Appalachian Forest Confident or certain

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

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4126
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1320
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2320

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 28Apr2016
Element Description Author(s): R. White, M. Pyne, R. Evans, M. Schafale, S. Gawler, L. Sneddon, C. Nordman

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.

  • DuMond, D. M. 1970. Floristic and vegetational survey of the Chattooga River Gorge. Castanea 35:201-244.

  • Edwards, L., J. Ambrose, and K. Kirkman. 2013. The natural communities of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 675 pp.

  • 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.

  • Gettman, R. W. 1974. A floristic survey of Sumter National Forest--The Andrew Pickens Division. M.S. thesis, Clemson University, Clemson, SC. 131 pp.

  • Greenberg, C. H., T. L. Keyser, and J. H. Speer. 2011. Temporal patterns of oak mortality in a Southern Appalachian forest (1991-2006). Natural Areas Journal 31:131-137.

  • Landfire [Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Database]. 2007a. Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Models. Landfire Project, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior. (January - last update) [http://www.LANDFIRE.gov/index.php] (accessed 8 February 2007).

  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.

  • Patterson, K. D. 1994. Classification of vegetation in Ellicott Rock Wilderness, Southeastern Blue Ridge Escarpment. M.S. thesis, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. 91 pp.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Simon, S. A. 2011. Ecological zones in the Southern Blue Ridge: Third approximation. Unpublished report submitted to the National Forests in North Carolina, Asheville, NC. 77 pp.

  • Simon, S. A. 2015. Ecological zones in the Southern Blue Ridge escarpment: 4th approximation. Unpublished report. 53 pp. [https://www.conservationgateway.org/ConservationByGeography/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/sbr/Documents/SBR_Escarpment_4thApprox_SteveSimon.pdf]

  • Southern Group of State Foresters. 2013. Damaging insect and disease pests in the southern United States. [http://www.southernforests.org/rural/damaging-insect-and-disease-pests-in-the-southern-united-states-1] (accessed 3 October 2013).

  • Whittaker, R. H. 1956. Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecological Monographs 26:1-80.

  • Woods, A. J., J. M. Omernik, W. H. Martin, G. J. Pond, W. M. Andrews, S. M. Call, J. A. Comstock, and D. D. Taylor. 2002. Ecoregions of Kentucky (two-sided color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs). U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. (map scale 1:1,000,000)


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