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Classification
Scientific Name: Cumberland Sandstone Glade and Barrens
Unique Identifier: CES202.337

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Summary: This system encompasses a complex of sparsely vegetated rock outcrops, perennial grasslands, and woodlands on shallow soils on the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Herbaceous plants, including Diamorpha smallii and Minuartia glabra, are typical of the outcrops in Tennessee. In Alabama, Bigelowia nuttallii and Schizachyrium scoparium are important. Pinus virginiana and Acer rubrum are typical of the current condition of many of the woodlands surrounding these outcrops on the Cumberland Plateau. This dominance pattern may be due to lack of disturbance. Pinus rigida, Pinus echinata, and/or Quercus montana (= Quercus prinus) may also occur. Scattered shrubs, such as Gaylussacia spp., Vaccinium arboreum, and Chionanthus virginicus, occur on the margins in patches of deeper soil. Various mosses and fruticose lichens such as Cladonia spp. and Cladina spp. may be prominent in some examples. To the west, in the Interior Highlands (Ozark, Ouachita, and Interior Low Plateau regions), this system is replaced by Central Interior Highlands Dry Acidic Glade and Barrens (CES202.692) (both are found in Kentucky, with the latter in the Shawnee Hills of the Interior Low Plateau).

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES202.692 Central Interior Highlands Dry Acidic Glade and Barrens


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL004061 Schizachyrium scoparium - Danthonia sericea - Liatris microcephala - (Eurybia surculosa) Grassland
CEGL004343 Diamorpha smallii - Minuartia glabra Sandstone Grassland
CEGL004622 Bigelowia nuttallii - Coreopsis pulchra - Liatris microcephala Grassland
CEGL007119 Pinus virginiana - Pinus (rigida, echinata) - (Quercus montana) / Vaccinium pallidum Forest
CEGL007707 Schizachyrium scoparium - Andropogon (gyrans, ternarius, virginicus) Grassland
CEGL008470 Kalmia latifolia - Gaylussacia (baccata, brachycera) Cumberland Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Steppe/Savanna
Spatial Pattern: Small patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Woody-Herbaceous  
Rock Outcrops/Barrens/Glades  
Acidic Soil  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Bigelowia nuttallii
  (Nuttall's Rayless-goldenrod)
G3G4  
Callophrys irus
  (Frosted Elfin)
G3  
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Catocala herodias gerhardi
  (Herodias or Pine Barrens Underwing)
G3T3  
Coreopsis pulchra
  (Woodland Tickseed)
G2  
Erynnis martialis
  (Mottled Duskywing)
G3  
Helianthus longifolius
  (Longleaf Sunflower)
G3  
Liatris microcephala
  (Small-head Gayfeather)
G3G4  
Liatris turgida
  (Turgid Gayfeather)
G3  
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ  
Sabatia capitata
  (Appalachian Rose-gentian)
G2  
Talinum mengesii
  (Menges' Fameflower)
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
%
Pinus echinata G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus virginiana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Vaccinium arboreum G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Bigelowia nuttallii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Eurybia surculosa G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Liatris microcephala G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Sabatia capitata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Talinum teretifolium G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G5 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
Ammodramus henslowii
  (Henslow's Sparrow)
G4      
Anolis carolinensis
  (Green Anole)
G5      
Callophrys irus
  (Frosted Elfin)
G3      
Canis rufus
  (Red Wolf)
G1Q LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Catocala herodias gerhardi
  (Herodias or Pine Barrens Underwing)
G3T3      
Erynnis martialis
  (Mottled Duskywing)
G3      
Lampropeltis triangulum
  (Milksnake)
G5      
Mustela nivalis
  (Least Weasel)
G5      
Neotoma floridana haematoreia
  (Southern Appalachian Woodrat)
G5T4Q      
Ophisaurus attenuatus
  (Slender Glass Lizard)
G5      
Plestiodon inexpectatus
  (Southeastern Five-lined Skink)
G5      
Puma concolor couguar
  (Eastern Cougar)
G5TXQ      
Sceloporus undulatus
  (Eastern Fence Lizard)
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 found in the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia.

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

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
48 Cumberland Highlands Confident or certain
53 Appalachia Confident or certain
57 Southern Appalachia Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5414
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1398
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2398

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

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

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.

  • DeSelm, H. R., and N. Murdock. 1993. Grass-dominated communities. Pages 87-141 in: W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Upland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

  • Duffey, E., M. G. Morris, J. Sheail, L. K. Ward, D. A. Wells, and T. C. E. Wells. 1974. Grassland ecology and wildlife management. Chapman and Hall, London.

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

  • Estes, J., R. Tyrl, and J. Brunken, editors. 1979. Grasses and grasslands: Systematics and ecology. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

  • 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.

  • McKinney, M. L., and J. L. Lockwood. 1999. Biotic homogenization: A few winners replacing many losers in the next mass extinction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 14: 450-453.

  • Murdock, Nora. No. date. U.S. National Park Service, Appalachian Highlands Network, Ashville, NC.

  • Noss, R. F. 2013. Forgotten grasslands of the South: Natural history and conservation. Island Press, Washington, DC. 317 pp.

  • Perkins, B. E. 1981. Vegetation of sandstone outcrops of the Cumberland Plateau. M.S. thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. xi plus 121 pp.

  • Quarterman, E., M. P. Burbanck, and D. J. Shure. 1993. Rock outcrop communities: Limestone, sandstone, and granite. Pages 35-86 in: W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Upland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • 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.

  • Taft, J. B. 1997a. Savanna and open-woodland communities. Pages 24-54 in: M. W. Schwartz, editor. Conservation in highly fragmented landscapes. Chapman and Hall, New York. 436 pp.

  • Taft, J. B. 2009. Effects of overstory stand density and fire on ground layer vegetation in oak woodland and savanna habitats. In: T. F. Hutchinson, editor. Proceedings of the 3rd Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference. 2008 May 20-22. Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-46. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.

  • Taft, J. B., M. W. Schwartz, and L. R. Phillippe. 1995. Vegetation ecology of flatwoods on the Illinoian till plain. Journal of Vegetation Science 6:647-666.

  • Wiens, J. A., and M. I. Dyer. 1975. Rangeland avifaunas: Their composition, energetics and role in the ecosystem. Pages 146 182 in: D. R. Smith, technical coordinator. Proceedings of the Symposium on Management of Forest and Range Habitats for Nongame Birds. 1975 May 6-9. Tucson, AZ. General Technical Report WO-1. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.


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