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Classification
Scientific Name: Southern Ridge and Valley / Cumberland Dry Calcareous Forest
Unique Identifier: CES202.457

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Summary: This system includes dry to dry-mesic calcareous forests of the Southern Ridge and Valley region of Alabama and Georgia, extending north into Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and adjacent West Virginia. It includes calcareous forests on lower escarpments of the Cumberland Plateau and other related areas. Examples occur on a variety of different landscape positions and occur on generally deeper soils than glade systems of the same regions. This system is distinguished from those farther north in the Ridge and Valley by its relatively southern location in the region, in an area which is transitional to the "Oak-Pine-Hickory" region. High-quality and historic examples are typically dominated by combinations of Quercus species and Carya species, sometimes with Pinus species and/or Juniperus virginiana as a significant component in certain landscape positions and with particular successional histories. These forests occur in a variety of habitats and are the matrix vegetation type that covers portions of the landscape under natural conditions. Examples can occur on a variety of topographic and landscape positions including valley floors, sideslopes, and lower to midslopes. Fire frequency and intensity are factors determining the relative mixture of deciduous hardwood versus evergreen trees in this system. Much of this system is currently composed of successional forests that have arisen after repeated cutting, clearing, and cultivation of the original forests. The range of this system is primarily composed of circumneutral substrates, which exert an expected influence on the composition of the vegetation.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: To the north, this transitions into Northeastern Interior Calcareous Oak Forest (CES202.452). This system (CES202.457) is defined as distinct because of its location in the portion of the Ridge and Valley region which is transitional to the "Oak-Pine-Hickory" region (Greller 1988). Southern Ridge and Valley / Cumberland Dry Calcareous Forest (CES202.457) occurs primarily in the "Southern Limestone/Dolomite Valleys and Low Rolling Hills" (67f) and the "Southern Shale Valleys" (67g) of Griffith et al. (2001), as well as calcareous parts of 68b and 68c (where it is more limited in extent). In addition, the system could be found in drier, more exposed portions of 66f, "Limestone Valleys and Coves" (Griffith et al. 2001), but most of this terrain is probably more mesic and concave. This ecoregion and "Southern Sedimentary Ridges" (66e) are part of the "Blue Ridge" but are clearly transitional to the Ridge and Valley region. Ecoregion 66e is more likely too acidic to support this system. It is also possible in the "Carter Hills" (EPA Ecoregion 70h of Woods et al. (2002)) of Kentucky and in limited portions of related parts of EPA Ecoregion 70 (Western Allegheny Plateau) in Kentucky.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES202.024 Southern Ridge and Valley Calcareous Glade and Woodland
CES202.359 Allegheny-Cumberland Dry Oak Forest and Woodland
CES202.602 Central Appalachian Alkaline Glade and Woodland
CES202.691 Central Interior Highlands Calcareous Glade and Barrens


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002070 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis Forest
CEGL004583 Quercus stellata - Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana / Ulmus alata - (Cotinus obovatus) Woodland
CEGL006017 Acer saccharum - Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis Forest
CEGL007124 Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana - (Quercus spp.) Ruderal Forest
CEGL007240 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra - Carya ovata / Cercis canadensis - Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana Forest
CEGL007281 Robinia pseudoacacia - Celtis occidentalis - (Fraxinus americana, Liriodendron tulipifera) Ruderal Forest
CEGL007808 Quercus muehlenbergii - Quercus shumardii - Carya (carolinae-septentrionalis, ovata) Forest
CEGL008442 Quercus shumardii - Quercus muehlenbergii - Acer (floridanum, saccharum) / Ostrya virginiana Forest
CEGL008443 Quercus alba - Quercus stellata / Ostrya virginiana - Acer floridanum / Chasmanthium sessiliflorum Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Forest and Woodland
Spatial Pattern: Matrix, 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)  
Circumneutral Soil  
Broad-Leaved Tree  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aureolaria patula
  (Spreading Yellow False Foxglove)
G3  
Berberis canadensis
  (American Barberry)
G3G4  
Brachoria cedra
  (Cedar Millipede)
G2G3  
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Carex radfordii
  (Radford's Sedge)
G3  
Clematis addisonii
  (Addison's Leatherflower)
G1?  
Coreopsis latifolia
  (Broadleaf Tickseed)
G3  
Delphinium exaltatum
  (Tall Larkspur)
G3  
Helianthus glaucophyllus
  (Whiteleaf Sunflower)
G3G4  
Helicodiscus diadema
  (Shaggy Coil)
G1  
Hydrastis canadensis
  (Goldenseal)
G3G4  
Lysimachia fraseri
  (Fraser's Loosestrife)
G3  
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3  
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3  
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3  
Melanoplus serrulatus
  (Serrulate Melanoplus)
G1G3  
Monarda fistulosa ssp. 1
  (Smoke Hole Bergamot)
G5T1T2  
Panax quinquefolius
  (American Ginseng)
G3G4  
Paxistima canbyi
  (Canby's Mountain-lover)
G2?  
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3  
Polymnia laevigata
  (Tennessee Leafcup)
G3  
Prosartes maculata
  (Nodding Mandarin)
G3G4  
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ  
Pycnanthemum beadlei
  (Beadle's Mountainmint)
G2G4  
Pycnanthemum torrei
  (Torrey's Mountainmint)
G2  
Ruellia purshiana
  (Pursh's Wild Petunia)
G3  
Sedum nevii
  (Nevius' Stonecrop)
G3  
Silene ovata
  (Ovate Catchfly)
G3  
Sisyrinchium dichotomum
  (Reflexed Blue-eyed-grass)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Speyeria diana
  (Diana Fritillary)
G3G4  
Taenidia montana
  (Mountain Parsley)
G3  
Thaspium pinnatifidum
  (Cutleaf Meadow-parsnip)
G2G3  
Trillium pusillum
  (Least Trillium)
G3  
Trillium simile
  (Jeweled Wakerobin)
G3  
Virginia valeriae pulchra
  (Mountain Earthsnake)
G5T3T4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer saccharum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Carya ovata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana T5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus alba G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus muehlenbergii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus shumardii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus stellata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Robinia pseudoacacia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Juniperus virginiana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Celtis occidentalis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Paxistima canbyi G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Frasera caroliniensis G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pycnanthemum torrei G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sisyrinchium dichotomum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Thaspium pinnatifidum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex radfordii G3 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
Agkistrodon contortrix
  (Copperhead)
G5      
Anguispira kochi
  (Banded Tigersnail)
G5      
Anolis carolinensis
  (Green Anole)
G5      
Brachoria cedra
  (Cedar Millipede)
G2G3      
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Cemophora coccinea copei
  (Northern Scarletsnake)
G5T5      
Crotalus horridus
  (Timber Rattlesnake)
G4      
Helicodiscus diadema
  (Shaggy Coil)
G1      
Melanoplus acrophilus acrophilus
  (a spur-throat grasshopper)
G2G3T2T3      
Melanoplus cherokee
  (Cherokee Melanoplus)
G1G3      
Melanoplus divergens
  (Divergent Melanoplus)
G2G3      
Melanoplus serrulatus
  (Serrulate Melanoplus)
G1G3      
Mustela nivalis
  (Least Weasel)
G5      
Neotoma floridana haematoreia
  (Southern Appalachian Woodrat)
G5T4Q      
Peromyscus leucopus
  (White-footed Deermouse)
G5      
Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus
  (Northern Coal Skink)
G5T5      
Plestiodon inexpectatus
  (Southeastern Five-lined Skink)
G5      
Plethodon hubrichti
  (Peaks of Otter Salamander)
G2G3      
Psectrotarsia hebardi
  (Hebard's Noctuid Moth)
GU      
Pseudacris brachyphona
  (Mountain Chorus Frog)
G5      
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ      
Sciurus carolinensis
  (Eastern Gray Squirrel)
G5      
Speyeria diana
  (Diana Fritillary)
G3G4      
Synanthedon castaneae
  (Chestnut Clearwing Moth)
G3G5      
Tamias striatus
  (Eastern Chipmunk)
G5      
Tantilla coronata
  (Southeastern Crowned Snake)
G5      
Virginia valeriae pulchra
  (Mountain Earthsnake)
G5T3T4      
Virginia valeriae valeriae
  (Eastern Earthsnake)
G5T5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AL, GA, KY, TN, VA
Global Range: This system is endemic to the Southern Ridge and Valley and the Cumberland Plateau escarpment in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
202-Central Interior and Appalachian C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
50 Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley Confident or certain
59 Central Appalachian Forest Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
48 Cumberland Highlands Confident or certain
53 Appalachia Confident or certain
57 Southern Appalachia Confident or certain
61 Northern Appalachia Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4319
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1376
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2376

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 07Oct2016
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Griffith, G. E., J. M. Omernik, J. A. Comstock, S. Lawrence, G. Martin, A. Goddard, V. J. Hulcher, and T. Foster. 2001. Ecoregions of Alabama and Georgia. (Two-sided color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs). U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. Scale 1:1,700,000.

  • 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).

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1996c. Portfolio assessment and conservation plan for calcareous glades of the Interior Low Plateau (working draft of August 1996). Calcareous Glades Conservation Team, The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, NC. 28 pp.

  • Woods, A. J., J. M. Omernik, W. H. Martin, G. J. Pond, W. M. Andrews, S. M. Call, J. A. Comstock, and D. D. Taylor. 2002. Ecoregions of Kentucky (two-sided color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs). U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. (map scale 1:1,000,000)


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