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Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
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Classification
Scientific Name: Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dry Oak-Hardwood Forest
Unique Identifier: CES203.475

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Summary: This ecological system comprises dry hardwood forests largely dominated by oaks, ranging from sandy glacial and outwash deposits of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Long Island, New York, south to the Coastal Plain portions of Maryland and Virginia south to about the James River. Quercus alba, Quercus montana (= Quercus prinus), Quercus coccinea, and Quercus rubra are typical, and Ilex opaca is sometimes present. Pinus species may be codominant in some areas, for example the mixture of oaks with Pinus virginiana or Pinus echinata on very xeric, relict inland dunes. In the northern half of the range, conditions can grade to dry-mesic, reflected in the local abundance of Fagus grandifolia. These forests occur on acidic, sandy to gravelly soils with a thick duff layer, often with an ericaceous shrub layer. From New Jersey south to Virginia, this system also includes oak-beech/heath forests on steep slopes.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system grades into other hardwood types of the northeastern U.S. as one moves inland and northward. North of Cape Cod, similar forests are treated as part of Central Appalachian Dry Oak-Pine Forest (CES202.591). In Delaware and New York these coastal forests are apparently distinct (fauna, flora and substrate are distinct) from more inland forests. The southern part of this type's range overlaps with Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest (CES203.242); where they overlap, they are separated based on moisture regime, with the drier forests (often with an ericaceous shrub layer) going to this type.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES202.591 Central Appalachian Dry Oak-Pine Forest
CES203.242 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL006000 Quercus rubra - Betula alleghaniensis / Osmunda cinnamomea Forest
CEGL006075 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (alba, rubra) - Liriodendron tulipifera / (Ilex opaca) Forest
CEGL006269 Quercus alba - Quercus falcata - (Carya pallida) / Gaylussacia frondosa Forest
CEGL006336 Quercus (alba, rubra, velutina) - Carya spp. / Viburnum acerifolium Forest
CEGL006354 Pinus virginiana - Quercus falcata - Carya pallida Forest
CEGL006374 Quercus velutina - Quercus coccinea - Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia Forest
CEGL006375 Quercus coccinea - Quercus velutina / Sassafras albidum / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
CEGL006377 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba - Quercus rubra Forest
CEGL006378 Quercus velutina / Ilex opaca Forest
CEGL006382 Pinus strobus - Quercus alba / Ilex glabra Forest
CEGL006490 Quercus montana / Deschampsia flexuosa - Solidago bicolor Forest
CEGL006506 Quercus rubra - Acer rubrum - Betula spp. - Pinus strobus Ruderal Forest
CEGL006851 Pinus echinata / Quercus (falcata, nigra) / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
CEGL006919 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (alba, velutina, montana) / Kalmia latifolia Forest
CEGL006929 Quercus falcata - Pinus rigida - Pinus echinata / Ilex opaca Woodland
CEGL006954 Quercus falcata / Carya pallida - Quercus prinoides / Carex pensylvanica Woodland
CEGL008475 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya tomentosa / Vaccinium stamineum / Desmodium nudiflorum Piedmont Forest
CEGL008521 Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, montana) / Gaylussacia baccata 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)  
Long Disturbance Interval  
Broad-Leaved Deciduous Tree  

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    
 
 
Quercus alba G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus coccinea G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Gaylussacia baccata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ilex glabra G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ilex opaca G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Smilax rotundifolia G5 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA
Global Range: This system ranges from sandy glacial and outwash deposits of Massachusetts and Long Island, New York, south to the Coastal Plain portions of Maryland and Virginia, south to about the James River, with historic occurrences (and possibly some extant remnants) in eastern Pennsylvania.

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

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
52 Piedmont Predicted or probable
58 Chesapeake Bay Lowlands Confident or certain
61 Lower New England / Northern Piedmont Confident or certain
62 North Atlantic Coast Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
60 Chesapeake Bay Confident or certain
61 Northern Appalachia Never was there
65 Connecticut River Basin and Highlands Confident or certain
66 The North Woods Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4130
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1324
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2324

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 05Feb2009
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans, S.C. Gawler and J. Teague

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.

  • NatureServe Explorer. 2009a. An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. [http://www.natureserve.org/explorer]


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Data last updated: March 2019