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Classification
Scientific Name: West Gulf Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest
Unique Identifier: CES203.280

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Summary: This ecological system is found in limited upland areas, including ravines and sideslopes, of the Gulf Coastal Plain west of the Mississippi River. These areas are topographically isolated from historically fire-prone, pine-dominated uplands in eastern Texas, western Louisiana, and southern Arkansas. Sites are often found along slopes above perennial streams in the region. These sites have moderate to high fertility and moisture retention. Soils can be quite variable, ranging from coarse to loamy in surface texture. Most are acidic in surface reactions and less commonly circumneutral. Vegetation indicators are mesic hardwoods such as Fagus grandifolia, Quercus alba, and Ilex opaca, although scattered, large-diameter pines (most often Pinus taeda) are also often present. Spring-blooming herbaceous species are typical in the understory of most examples.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Some stands from Macon Ridge in Louisiana (a terrace ecoregion in the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain) are also included here. Some hardwood stands could occur on narrow ridgetops which are isolated from fire, but which would not be "mesic" in their composition or environment. These may be treated as a hardwood-dominated example of the widespread and variable West Gulf Coastal Plain Pine-Hardwood Forest (CES203.378). More information is needed.

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL007207 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Acer (floridanum, leucoderme) / Solidago auriculata Forest
CEGL007208 Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Ilex opaca / Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides Forest
CEGL007272 Quercus shumardii - Quercus pagoda - Fraxinus americana / Ostrya virginiana / Trillium ludovicianum Forest
CEGL007872 Fagus grandifolia - Magnolia grandiflora - Quercus alba / Carpinus caroliniana - Ostrya virginiana Forest
CEGL007897 Fraxinus americana - Celtis laevigata - Nyssa sylvatica - Quercus shumardii - Ulmus americana Forest
CEGL007959 Quercus alba - Quercus hemisphaerica / Prunus caroliniana - Persea borbonia - Viburnum acerifolium Forest
CEGL007971 Quercus alba - Quercus rubra / Ostrya virginiana / Arundinaria gigantea / Cynoglossum virginianum Forest
CEGL008413 Quercus alba - Carya tomentosa / Chasmanthium sessiliflorum West Gulf Coastal Plain Forest
CEGL008415 Quercus falcata - Quercus stellata - (Pinus taeda) West Gulf Coastal Plain Forest
CEGL008444 Liquidambar styraciflua - Quercus michauxii / Acer rubrum / Packera glabella - Carex tribuloides Wet Ravine Forest
CEGL008554 Fagus grandifolia - Magnolia grandiflora / Ostrya virginiana / Aesculus parviflora Forest
CEGL008575 Quercus alba / Acer leucoderme - Ostrya virginiana / Solidago auriculata Forest
CEGL008577 Magnolia grandiflora / Prunus caroliniana - Carpinus caroliniana / Arundinaria gigantea Forest
CEGL008581 Quercus alba - Quercus nigra / Ostrya virginiana / Sabal minor 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)  
Very Long Disturbance Interval  
Broad-Leaved Tree  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Cypripedium kentuckiense
  (Southern Lady's-slipper)
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    
 
 
Magnolia grandiflora G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer barbatum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Ilex opaca var. opaca T5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cynoglossum virginianum G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago auriculata G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Trillium ludovicianum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides T5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Pantherophis obsoletus
  (Eastern Ratsnake)
G5      
Plestiodon fasciatus
  (Five-lined Skink)
G5      
Plestiodon laticeps
  (Broad-headed Skink)
G5      
Terrapene carolina
  (Eastern Box Turtle)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AR, LA, TX
Global Range: This system is limited to particular upland areas (especially ravines and sideslopes) of the Gulf Coastal Plain west of the Mississippi River, with some occurrences on Macon Ridge (a terrace ecoregion in the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain) in Louisiana.

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
40 Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain Confident or certain
41 West Gulf Coastal Plain Confident or certain
42 Mississippi River Alluvial Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
37 Ouachita Hills and Delta Confident or certain
44 Ozark Highlands Predicted or probable
99 Southern Gulf Plains Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4129
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1323
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2323

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Feb2011
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans, M. Pyne, E. Lunsford and L. Elliott

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


References
  • Ajilvsgi, G. 1979. Wild flowers of the Big Thicket, east Texas, and western Louisiana. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, TX.

  • 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.

  • Elliott, L. 2011. Draft descriptions of systems, mapping subsystems, and vegetation types for Phases I, II, III, and IV. Unpublished documents. Texas Parks and Wildlife Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping Project. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, San Antonio.

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

  • Marks, P. L., and P. A. Harcombe. 1981. Forest vegetation of the Big Thicket, southeast Texas. Ecological Monographs 51:287-305.


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Data last updated: March 2019