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Classification
Scientific Name: East Gulf Coastal Plain Northern Mesic Hardwood Slope Forest
Unique Identifier: CES203.477

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Summary: This system includes mesic deciduous hardwood forests of inland portions of the East Gulf Coastal Plain, including Alabama, Mississippi, western Kentucky, and western Tennessee. This system covers parts of the more mesic forests in the coastal plain portion of the Western Mesophytic Forest Region referred to as mesophytic mixed hardwoods, as well as mesic forests in the adjacent "Oak-Pine-Hickory" region to the south. Examples of this system occur on slopes and ravines between dry uplands and stream bottoms. Mesic forests of the loess bluffs are treated in separate ecological systems, being confined to that landform of steep bluffs and ravines on deep loess. The most characteristic feature of the vegetation in some examples may be Fagus grandifolia, but a variety of other hardwood species may also be found in the overstory, and Fagus grandifolia may not always be present. Some stands may be dominated by Fagus grandifolia and Quercus alba, others by Quercus alba or Quercus pagoda with other mesic hardwoods. In addition, Pinus taeda may be common in some examples in the southern portion of the range and, depending on previous disturbance and site conditions, may be locally dominant [see CEGL004763]. To the south this system is replaced by Southern Coastal Plain Mesic Slope Forest (CES203.476), which is within the range of Pinus glabra and Magnolia grandiflora.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Southern Coastal Plain Mesic Slope Forest (CES203.476) is a similar mesic forest system to the south of this one in the East Gulf Coastal Plain with greater dominance by broad-leaved evergreen trees. The systems of the loess bluffs to the west of this one, bordering the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain, are treated as distinct and are more extensive and continuous in their extent both vertically and latitudinally [see East Gulf Coastal Plain Northern Loess Bluff Forest (CES203.481) and East Gulf Coastal Plain Southern Loess Bluff Forest (CES203.556)]. One association now (2005) included here (Quercus alba - Fagus grandifolia / Hydrangea quercifolia - Viburnum acerifolium / Carex picta Forest (CEGL007213)) has the majority of its occurrences in the interior regions (southern Cumberland Plateau, Ridge and Valley), but its flora contains some Coastal Plain elements as well as more interior ones. It is from a "transition region" where Quercus rubra may be present in parts of the upper Coastal Plain and conversely some more southerly affiliated species (e.g., Decumaria barbara) range farther north. This association is now affiliated with two different ecological systems.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES203.476 Southern Coastal Plain Mesic Slope Forest
CES203.481 East Gulf Coastal Plain Northern Loess Bluff Forest
CES203.556 East Gulf Coastal Plain Southern Loess Bluff Forest


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002067 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya tomentosa / Cornus florida Acidic Forest
CEGL002411 Fagus grandifolia - Acer saccharum - Liriodendron tulipifera Unglaciated Forest
CEGL004109 Quercus pagoda - Quercus nigra Forest
CEGL004545 Quercus pagoda - Quercus michauxii - Quercus shumardii Forest
CEGL004763 Pinus taeda - Quercus alba / Chasmanthium sessiliflorum Forest
CEGL007201 Fagus grandifolia - Liriodendron tulipifera / Euonymus americanus / Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides Forest
CEGL007213 Quercus alba - Fagus grandifolia / Hydrangea quercifolia - Viburnum acerifolium / Carex picta Forest
CEGL007225 Quercus alba - Carya glabra - Carya tomentosa / Aesculus pavia Forest
CEGL007709 Quercus alba - Carya ovata - Liriodendron tulipifera - (Quercus phellos) / Cornus florida Forest
CEGL007881 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Cornus florida 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)  
Slope  
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
Carex impressinervia
  (Impressed-nerved Sedge)
G2  
Croton alabamensis
  (Alabama Croton)
G3  
Cypripedium kentuckiense
  (Southern Lady's-slipper)
G3  
Trillium lancifolium
  (Lanceleaf Wakerobin)
G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Fagus grandifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liquidambar styraciflua G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus pagoda G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer barbatum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Magnolia macrophylla G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Mitchella repens G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Trillium lancifolium G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex impressinervia G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Diadophis punctatus
  (Ringneck Snake)
G5      
Glaucomys volans
  (Southern Flying Squirrel)
G5      
Sorex longirostris
  (Southeastern Shrew)
G5      
Tamias striatus
  (Eastern Chipmunk)
G5      
Terrapene carolina
  (Eastern Box Turtle)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AL, GA, KY, MS, TN
Global Range: This system is found in northern and inland portions of the East Gulf Coastal Plain, including Alabama, Mississippi, western Kentucky, and western Tennessee. It does not occur in Arkansas. This area is equivalent to the coastal plain portion of the Western Mesophytic Forest Region of Braun (1950) and the "Oak-Pine-Hickory" region of Greller (1988).

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
43 Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
46 Northern Gulf Plains Confident or certain
47 Appalachia Bluegrass Hills Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4131
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1325
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2325

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

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

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Batista, W. B., and W. J. Platt. 1997. An old-growth definition for southern mixed hardwood forests. General Technical Report SRS-9. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC. 11 pp.

  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.

  • Bryant, W. S., W. C. McComb, and J. S. Fralish. 1993. Oak-hickory forests (western mesophytic/oak-hickory forests). Pages 143-201 in: W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

  • 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.

  • Delcourt, H. R., and P. A. Delcourt. 2000. Eastern deciduous forests. Pages 357-395 in: Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.

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

  • Engeman, R. M., A. Stevens, J. Allen, J. Dunlap, M. Daniel, D. Teague, and B. Constantin. 2007. Feral swine management for conservation of an imperiled wetland habitat: Florida's vanishing seepage slopes. Biological Conservation 134:440-446.

  • 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.

  • Fralish, J. S., and S. B. Franklin. 2002. Taxonomy and ecology of woody plants of North America (excluding Mexico and subtropical Florida). John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

  • Franklin, S. B., and J. A. Kupfer. 2004. Forest communities of Natchez Trace State Forest, western Tennessee Coastal Plain. Castanea 69(1):15-29.

  • Greenberg, C. H., D. E. McLeod, and D. L. Loftis. 1997. An old-growth definition for western and mixed mesophytic forests. General Technical Report SRS-16. USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Asheville, NC. 14 pp.

  • Greller, A. M. 1988. Deciduous forest. Pages 288-316 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

  • 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).

  • USGS [U.S. Geological Survey]. 1992. National land cover dataset. U.S. Geological Survey, EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD.


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