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Scientific Name: Laurentian-Acadian Lakeshore Beach
Unique Identifier: CES201.586

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Summary: This system encompasses primarily upland vegetation along lakeshores or rivershores in northern New England, southeastern Canada, and the upper Midwest (not including the Great Lakes). Some areas may be briefly inundated during high water periods. The substrate is sandy to gravelly, sometimes consolidated rock; there may be muddy patches. Ice-scour is not a major influence, although it may be locally important. These shores may be narrow zones of shrubs and/or sparse vegetation on rocks or sandy beaches. Descriptions of these beaches from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Minnesota suggests a variable structure and composition influenced by exposure, substrate, and how wet the substrate remains. The upper zone often features shrubs; these may include Myrica gale, Gaylussacia baccata, Salix spp., and Aronia melanocarpa. Creeping shrubs such as Hudsonia spp., Juniperus horizontalis, and Prunus susquehanae may be locally important. The herbaceous flora likewise varies; Schizachyrium scoparium, Dichanthelium clandestinum, Cyperus spp., Dulichium arundinaceum, and Spartina pectinata are representative graminoids; forbs may include Argentina anserina, Lechea intermedia, Scutellaria lateriflora, and Mimulus ringens, among others.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Very little data on these. May not be defensible as a separate system, keep in for now as a placeholder. If it is combined with the surrounding uplands, the associations tagged to this system may become orphans.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002303 Igneous - Metamorphic Cobble - Gravel Inland Lake Shore Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002310 Inland Freshwater Strand Beach Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002313 Lake Mudflats Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002584 Laurentian-Northeast Eroding Bluff Sparse Vegetation
CEGL006095 Spartina pectinata North Atlantic Coast Marsh
CEGL006233 Hudsonia tomentosa - Lupinus perennis Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL006356 Dasiphora fruticosa / Rhynchospora capillacea - Scleria verticillata Fen


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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Flood Scouring  
Broad-Leaved Shrub  
Short (<5 yrs) Flooding Interval Short interval, Irregular Flooding

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Mesotrophic Soil  
Oligotrophic Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon <10 cm  
Sand Soil Texture  
Very Short Disturbance Interval  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea
  (Fassett's Locoweed)
G5T1T2 LT: Listed threatened
Williamsonia lintneri
  (Ringed Boghaunter)

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Gaylussacia baccata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Prunus pumila var. susquehanae T4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Argentina anserina G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Scutellaria lateriflora G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Carex conoidea G5 Graminoid Herb (field)      
Dichanthelium clandestinum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    

Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
Actitis macularius
  (Spotted Sandpiper)
Blarina brevicauda
  (Northern Short-tailed Shrew)
Nerodia sipedon
  (Northern Watersnake)
Opheodrys vernalis
  (Smooth Greensnake)
Procyon lotor
Sorex cinereus
  (Cinereus Shrew)
Thamnophis sauritus
  (Eastern Ribbonsnake)
Thamnophis sirtalis
  (Common Gartersnake)
Vison vison
  (American Mink)
Williamsonia fletcheri
  (Ebony Boghaunter)
Williamsonia lintneri
  (Ringed Boghaunter)
Zapus hudsonius
  (Meadow Jumping Mouse)

Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, WI
Global Range: This system ranges across northern New England and northern New York west across the upper Great Lakes to northern Minnesota, and adjacent Canada; and occasional southwards.

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

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

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
41 Northern Lake Country Confident or certain
50 Central Great Lakes Uplands Confident or certain
51 Great Lakes Plains Confident or certain
63 Finger Lakes Confident or certain
64 Northeastern Highlands Confident or certain
66 The North Woods Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 3182

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Element Description Edition Date: 20Aug2015
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).

  • 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.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • 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. []

  • 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.

  • 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. []

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019