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Scientific Name: Laurentian-Acadian Pine-Hemlock-Hardwood Forest
Unique Identifier: CES201.563

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Summary: This north-temperate forest system ranges from the northeastern U.S. and adjacent Canada west to the Great Lakes and upper Midwest. The mesic to dry-mesic forests usually occur on low-nutrient soils at low elevations, mostly less than 610 m (2000 feet). Canopy dominants include Pinus strobus, Tsuga canadensis, and Quercus rubra in varying percentages. Acer rubrum is also quite common; Betula lenta may be common at the southern periphery of this system's range. Quercus velutina and Quercus alba are essentially absent from this system, being more representative of systems in the Central Interior-Appalachian Division to the south. This is a widespread, matrix forest type for the more temperate portions of this division. Gap replacement and infrequent fire are the major natural regeneration modes.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Tsuga canadensis is useful to separate this system from Laurentian-Acadian Northern Pine-(Oak) Forest (CES201.719), but does not always occur in this system. Hemlock draws in USFS Section 222L (Baraboo) could be considered as remnants of this system rather than an inclusion in the hardwood matrix, as they are very distinctive from the surrounding forest and have the northern representative flora. In the East, northern hardwoods other than beech, e.g., sugar maple, are rarely found in this system. This system and Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest (CES202.593) grade into one another in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania; the presence of Liriodendron tulipifera is diagnostic for the Division 202 Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest (CES202.593). A clearer set of floristic and ecological criteria is needed to sort out the southern limits of this Laurentian-Acadian type in relation to related vegetation to the south. For example, currently, we do not report this system in 211F and 211G, the High Allegheny Plateau [see instead Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest (CES202.593)], but stands in cooler microclimates of these regions may have a strong resemblance to Laurentian-Acadian types.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES201.564 Laurentian-Acadian Northern Hardwood Forest
CES201.719 Laurentian-Acadian Northern Pine-(Oak) Forest
CES202.593 Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002385 Symplocarpus foetidus - Mixed Forbs Seep
CEGL002445 Pinus strobus / Acer spicatum - Corylus cornuta Forest
CEGL002461 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum - (Betula alleghaniensis) Forest
CEGL002462 Quercus rubra - Quercus alba - (Quercus velutina, Acer rubrum) / Viburnum acerifolium Forest
CEGL002480 Pinus strobus - (Pinus resinosa) - Quercus rubra Forest
CEGL002481 Pinus strobus - Quercus alba / (Corylus americana, Gaylussacia baccata) Forest
CEGL002590 Pinus strobus - Tsuga canadensis Great Lakes Forest
CEGL002595 Thuja occidentalis - (Betula alleghaniensis, Tsuga canadensis) Forest
CEGL002598 Tsuga canadensis - (Betula alleghaniensis) Forest
CEGL005005 Acer saccharum - Pinus strobus / Acer pensylvanicum Forest
CEGL005042 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - (Acer saccharum) Great Lakes Forest
CEGL005043 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Acer saccharum / (Hamamelis virginiana, Kalmia latifolia) Forest
CEGL005044 Tsuga canadensis - Acer saccharum - Betula alleghaniensis Forest
CEGL005101 (Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra) / Danthonia spicata Acidic Bedrock Scrub Grassland
CEGL006014 Acer rubrum - Nyssa sylvatica - Betula alleghaniensis / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL006088 Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus rubra Forest
CEGL006129 Tsuga canadensis - (Betula alleghaniensis) - Picea rubens / Cornus canadensis Forest
CEGL006293 Pinus strobus - Quercus (rubra, velutina) - Fagus grandifolia Forest
CEGL006324 Pinus strobus - Tsuga canadensis - Picea rubens Forest
CEGL006380 Betula alleghaniensis - Acer rubrum - (Tsuga canadensis, Abies balsamea) / Osmunda cinnamomea Swamp Forest
CEGL006506 Quercus rubra - Acer rubrum - Betula spp. - Pinus strobus Ruderal Forest
CEGL006633 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum - Fagus grandifolia / Viburnum acerifolium Forest
CEGL006635 Quercus rubra - Acer saccharum / Viburnum acerifolium - Lindera benzoin Forest


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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Pinus spp. - Tsuga canadensis  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Mesotrophic Soil  
Acidic Soil  
Shallow Soil  
Deep Soil  
Mineral: W/ A-Horizon >10 cm  
Loam Soil Texture  
Sand Soil Texture  
Very Long Disturbance Interval  
F-Landscape/Medium Intensity  
W-Patch/Medium Intensity  
Needle-Leaved Tree  
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
Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis
  (Michigan Monkeyflower)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered
Myotis sodalis
  (Indiana Myotis)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Nicrophorus americanus
  (American Burying Beetle)
G2G3 LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Rubus vagus
  (Rambling Dewberry)

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Acer pensylvanicum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
Quercus rubra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
Pinus strobus G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
Tsuga canadensis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
Viburnum acerifolium G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Corylus cornuta G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Rubus vagus G2 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling      
Maianthemum canadense G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Lycopodium obscurum G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    

Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
Bubo virginianus
  (Great Horned Owl)
Callophrys niphon
  (Eastern Pine Elfin)
Catocala relicta
  (White Underwing Moth)
Catocala unijuga
  (Once-married Underwing Moth)
Dryobates villosus
  (Hairy Woodpecker)
Erethizon dorsatum
  (North American Porcupine)
Feralia comstocki
  (Comstock's Sallow Moth)
Feralia jocosa
  (Jocose Sallow Moth)
Limenitis arthemis arthemis
  (White Admiral)
Macaria fissinotata
  (Hemlock Angle Moth)
Myotis sodalis
  (Indiana Myotis)
G2 LE: Listed endangered    
Nicrophorus americanus
  (American Burying Beetle)
G2G3 LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Papilio canadensis
  (Canadian Tiger Swallowtail)
Poecile atricapillus
  (Black-capped Chickadee)
Polygonia faunus
  (Green Comma)
Sitta canadensis
  (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
  (Red Squirrel)
Xestia badicollis
  (Northern Variable Dart Moth)

Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, PApotentially occurs, VT, WI
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: NB, NS, ON, QC
Global Range: New England west to the Great Lakes and northern Minnesota.

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
60 Chesapeake Bay Never was there
61 Northern Appalachia Never was there
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 Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4308
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1366
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2366

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

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).

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

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Data last updated: March 2019