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Classification
Scientific Name: Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest
Unique Identifier: CES203.537

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Summary: This system encompasses a range of woody vegetation present on stabilized upland dunes of barrier islands and near-coastal strands, from central South Carolina (from approximately the Cooper River) southward to Volusia County, Florida. It includes vegetation whose structure and composition are influenced by salt spray, extreme disturbance events, and the distinctive climate of the immediate coast. Examples are known from the barrier islands of Georgia and Florida, such as Big Talbot Island, Florida, and probably Sapelo Island, Georgia. Most typical stands are dominated by oaks, primarily Quercus virginiana and/or Quercus geminata. Vegetation may also include different woodland communities often dominated by southern pine species. Pinus palustris, Pinus serotina, and Pinus elliottii var. elliottii are all important in documented examples. These examples tend to have densely shrubby subcanopies and understories with species such as Quercus virginiana, Quercus geminata, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus chapmanii, Quercus myrtifolia, and Magnolia grandiflora. Unlike maritime vegetation to the north, this system may be more heavily influenced by natural fire regimes that may help to explain the predominance of the fire-tolerant pine species. It has been postulated that the natural fire-return interval is from 20 to 30 years.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES203.261 Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest
CES203.273 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Maritime Grassland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL003525 Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola - Zanthoxylum clava-herculis - Quercus virginiana - (Sabal palmetto) / Sageretia minutiflora Woodland
CEGL003526 Sabal palmetto - (Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola) Woodland
CEGL003662 Pinus palustris - Pinus serotina / Quercus chapmanii - Quercus myrtifolia - Lyonia ferruginea Woodland
CEGL003821 Quercus geminata - Quercus myrtifolia - Serenoa repens - Persea borbonia Shrubland
CEGL003862 Ceratiola ericoides - Quercus geminata - Ximenia americana / Cladonia spp. - Cladina spp. Shrubland
CEGL004082 Acer rubrum - Nyssa biflora - (Liquidambar styraciflua, Fraxinus sp.) Maritime Swamp Forest
CEGL004658 Pinus elliottii var. elliottii - (Pinus palustris) / Ilex vomitoria - Serenoa repens - Morella cerifera Woodland
CEGL004784 Morella cerifera - Prunus caroliniana - Zanthoxylum clava-herculis Shrubland
CEGL007020 Quercus geminata - (Quercus virginiana) / Serenoa repens - Lyonia fruticosa Forest
CEGL007027 Quercus virginiana - Quercus hemisphaerica - Pinus taeda / Persea palustris - Ilex vomitoria Forest
CEGL007032 Quercus virginiana - (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, Sabal palmetto) / Persea borbonia - Callicarpa americana 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
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Coast  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Acroporium smallii
  (Small's Acroporium Moss)
G1?  
Ambystoma cingulatum
  (Frosted Flatwoods Salamander)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Ctenium floridanum
  (Florida Orange-grass)
G2  
Drymaeus dormani
  (Manatee Treesnail)
G2G3  
Forestiera godfreyi
  (Godfrey's Swamp-privet)
G2  
Heterodon simus
  (Southern Hog-nosed Snake)
G2  
Lejeunea dimorphophylla
  (a liverwort)
G2G3  
Lindera melissifolia
  (Pondberry)
G3 LE: Listed endangered
Lobelia boykinii
  (Boykin's Lobelia)
G2G3  
Ophisaurus compressus
  (Island Glass Lizard)
G3G4  
Oxypolis canbyi
  (Canby's Dropwort)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Pteroglossaspis ecristata
  (Giant Orchid)
G2G3  
Sideroxylon alachuense
  (Alachua Sink Buckthorn)
G1  
Sideroxylon tenax
  (Tough Bumelia)
G3?  
Staurolemma carolinianum
  (a lichen)
G1G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola T4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus elliottii var. elliottii T5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus palustris G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus serotina G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Sabal palmetto G5 Palm tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Prunus caroliniana G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Quercus geminata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Quercus hemisphaerica G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Quercus virginiana G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Forestiera godfreyi G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Lindera melissifolia G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Ilex vomitoria G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Osmanthus americanus G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Sideroxylon alachuense G1 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Sideroxylon tenax G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Serenoa repens G4 Palm shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lobelia boykinii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Oxypolis canbyi G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pteroglossaspis ecristata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Ctenium floridanum G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Lejeunea dimorphophylla G2 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Acroporium smallii G1 Moss Nonvascular      
 
 
Staurolemma carolinianum G2 Lichen Nonvascular      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Ambystoma cingulatum
  (Frosted Flatwoods Salamander)
G2 LT: Listed threatened    
Anolis carolinensis
  (Green Anole)
G5      
Coluber flagellum
  (Coachwhip)
G5      
Drymaeus dormani
  (Manatee Treesnail)
G2G3      
Heterodon simus
  (Southern Hog-nosed Snake)
G2      
Lampropeltis getula
  (Eastern Kingsnake)
G5      
Ophisaurus compressus
  (Island Glass Lizard)
G3G4      
Plestiodon egregius
  (Mole Skink)
G5      
Plestiodon inexpectatus
  (Southeastern Five-lined Skink)
G5      
Plestiodon laticeps
  (Broad-headed Skink)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: FL, GA, SC
Global Range: This system occurs from central South Carolina (Cooper River) southward to approximately Volusia County, Florida (ca. 2830'N latitude).

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
56 South Atlantic Coastal Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
55 Southeastern Coastal Plain Confident or certain
58 Eastern Coastal Plain Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4325
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1382
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2382

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Jan2014
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans and M. Pyne

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.

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

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. 228 pp.

  • 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.


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Data last updated: March 2018