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Classification
Scientific Name: Acadian-Appalachian Montane Spruce-Fir Forest
Unique Identifier: CES201.566

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Summary: This is the matrix forest system in the montane spruce-fir region of the northern Appalachian Mountains, extending east through the Canadian Maritimes. It occurs mostly upwards of 457 m (1500 feet) elevation and is restricted to progressively higher elevations southward. Northward, it is often contiguous with Acadian Low-Elevation Spruce-Fir-Hardwood Forest (CES201.565). This system often forms a mosaic of strongly coniferous patches and mixed patches, with occasional smaller inclusions of northern hardwoods, but is overall more than 50% coniferous. Picea rubens and Abies balsamea are the dominant conifers. Gaps formed by wind, snow, ice, and harvesting are the major replacement agents; fires may be important but only over a long return interval.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system can occupy an intermediate elevation position between Acadian Low-Elevation Spruce-Fir-Hardwood Forest (CES201.565) and Acadian-Appalachian Subalpine Woodland and Heath-Krummholz (CES201.568), and it could arguably be combined with one of those, probably the former. However, in the southern part of its range, it often occurs without either of these other systems. It is distinguished, in concept, from Acadian Low-Elevation Spruce-Fir-Hardwood Forest (CES201.565) by the presence or greater abundance of montane species such as Sorbus americana or Sorbus decora, Dryopteris campyloptera, Oxalis montana, etc., and by occurring at higher positions in the toposequence. It is generally above northern hardwood forests, while Acadian Low-Elevation Spruce-Fir-Hardwood Forest (CES201.565) is generally below (or at similar elevations to) northern hardwood forests. More careful review is needed to determine if it should remain a separate system.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES201.568 Acadian-Appalachian Subalpine Woodland and Heath-Krummholz
CES202.028 Central and Southern Appalachian Spruce-Fir Forest


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL006112 Abies balsamea - (Betula papyrifera var. cordifolia) Forest
CEGL006128 Picea rubens - Abies balsamea / Sorbus americana Forest
CEGL006267 Betula alleghaniensis - Picea rubens / Dryopteris campyloptera Forest
CEGL006505 Picea rubens - Abies balsamea - Betula spp. - Acer rubrum 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
Montane  
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Ridge/Summit/Upper Slope  
Picea (glauca, mariana, rubens) - Abies  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Glaciated  
Mesotrophic Soil  
Oligotrophic Soil  
Acidic Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon >10 cm  
Loam Soil Texture  
Udic  
Long Disturbance Interval  
W-Patch/Medium Intensity  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
Broad-Leaved Tree  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula alleghaniensis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Betula papyrifera var. cordifolia T5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Abies balsamea G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea glauca G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea mariana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Picea rubens G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Linnaea borealis G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Clintonia borealis G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Oxalis montana G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Dryopteris campyloptera G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: MA, ME, NH, NY, VT
Global Range: This system is found at higher elevations of northern New England and the Adirondacks, extending north along the mountains and higher hills into Canada and occurring southward in the Catskills.

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
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
63 Finger Lakes Never was there
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): 4317
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1374
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2374

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 20Aug2007
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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Data last updated: March 2019