Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL008521
Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, prinus) / Gaylussacia baccata Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:White Oak - (Scarlet Oak, Black Oak, Chestnut Oak) / Black Huckleberry Forest
Colloquial Name:Low-Elevation Mixed Oak / Heath Forest
This community is a matrix forest of dry, nutrient-poor uplands of the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont Plateau, occurring locally in similar low-elevation landscapes of the Northern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley, Cumberland Plateau and Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain provinces. The type is well-documented across Virginia, and to a lesser extent in Tennessee and Maryland, but probably also occurs at similar sites in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Stands are located between 30 and 700 m (100-2300 feet) elevation on rolling to sublevel sites of Piedmont and Inner Coastal Plain uplands, mountain valleys and lower mountain slope benches. In the mountains, many documented occurrences are located on ancient alluvial fan deposits, which are especially extensive along the western foot of the Blue Ridge. The vegetation is a closed to very open oak forest with mixed and variable canopy dominance by Quercus alba, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus prinus. Various Pinus spp., including Pinus virginiana, Pinus echinata, Pinus strobus, and Pinus rigida, are frequent overstory associates, particularly following fire or logging disturbances. Quercus falcata, Quercus stellata, Carya glabra, and Carya alba are infrequent canopy trees. Nyssa sylvatica, Amelanchier arborea and, in the southern part of the range, Oxydendrum arboreum attain exceptional abundance and stature in these forests, dominating the subcanopy layers and occasionally reaching the overstory. Acer rubrum and Sassafras albidum are other common understory trees. In typical stands, the shrub layer is dominated by deciduous ericaceous species, herbaceous species are sparse, and species-richness is moderate to very low.
No Data Available
Vegetation Hierarchy
Name:Database Code:Classification Code:
Class 1 Forest & Woodland C01 1
Subclass 1.B Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland S15 1.B
Formation 1.B.2 Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland F008 1.B.2
Division 1.B.2.Na Eastern North American Forest & Woodland D008 1.B.2.Na
Macrogroup M502 Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland M502 1.B.2.Na.2
Group G015 Appalachian Oak / Chestnut Forest G015 1.B.2.Na.2.a
Alliance A2048 Eastern Black Oak - White Oak Dry Forest A2048
Association CEGL008521 Low-Elevation Mixed Oak / Heath Forest CEGL008521
This unit is distinct among Virginia's oak/heath forests in its occurrence on low-elevation, rolling to sub-level, usually non-rocky terrain of the Piedmont and mountains. Quercus alba, normally a minor tree in montane oak/heath forests, is characteristic and usually codominant, while the prevalence of deciduous ericads and the presence of the low-elevation oaks Quercus falcata and Quercus stellata further distinguish the type. Quercus prinus and Kalmia latifolia, although present and occasionally abundant, are not as important in this unit as in related Central Appalachian oak/heath vegetation types, particularly Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL006299). The latter is generally associated with relatively steep, often rocky terrain of the Central Appalachians and dissected topography in the Piedmont. Originally, the concept of this type (CEGL008521) was restricted to "Piedmont"-like landscapes in the mountains. However, additional quantitative data analysis of a statewide (Virginia) set of 180 oak/heath plots led to a broader conceptual interpretation that includes both montane and Piedmont stands. The type is represented by 54 plots from Virginia, and 20 from Maryland and the District of Columbia. Attempts to split this unit based on the presence or absence of Quercus prinus have proven unworkable because significant environmental or floristic differences between the putative groups are lacking.
Synonomy: = Quercus (coccinea, falcata) - Pinus (taeda, virginiana) / Gaylussacia baccata - Vaccinium stamineum / Chimaphila maculata Forest (Walton et al. 2001)
= Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, prinus) / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Fleming and Taverna 2006)
= Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, prinus) / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Fleming et al. 2007b)
= Quercus alba - Quercus coccinea - Quercus velutina / Amelanchier arborea / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Young et al. 2007a)
= Quercus alba - Quercus coccinea - Quercus velutina / Gaylussacia baccata - Vaccinium stamineum Forest (Fleming 2002a)
? Quercus alba - Quercus falcata - Carya tomentosa / Cornus florida Association (Rawinski et al. 1996)
= Quercus alba - Quercus montana / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (McCoy and Fleming 2000)
> Quercus alba - Quercus velutina - Quercus coccinea / Gaylussacia baccata - Vaccinium stamineum Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2003)
> Quercus coccinea - Quercus velutina - Quercus alba / Amelanchier arborea / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
> Quercus montana - Quercus alba / Vaccinium pallidum - Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2003)
= Quercus prinus - Quercus alba / Vaccinium pallidum - (Gaylussacia baccata) Forest (Fleming 2002a)
< White Oak - Black Oak - Northern Red Oak: 52 (Eyre 1980) [black oak - scarlet oak variant]
= White Oak - Scarlet Oak - Pine Type (Schmalzer and DeSelm 1982)

Related Type Name:At Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, this association is similar in composition to and transitions into Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL008431) in xeric topographical setting where Quercus prinus dominates the canopy composition.

Short Citation:
  • Anderson et al. 1977
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • Eyre 1980
  • Fleming 2002a
  • Fleming 2002b
  • Fleming 2007
  • Fleming and Coulling 2001
  • Fleming and Moorhead 2000
  • Fleming and Patterson 2003
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009a
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009b
  • Fleming and Patterson 2011a
  • Fleming and Taverna 2006
  • Fleming et al. 2001
  • Fleming et al. 2004
  • Fleming et al. 2006
  • Fleming et al. 2007b
  • Hall and Mathews 1974
  • Harbor 1996
  • Harrison 2004
  • Harrison 2011
  • Lea et al. 2012
  • McCoy and Fleming 2000
  • Patterson 2008a
  • Patterson 2008c
  • Patterson 2008e
  • Rawinski et al. 1996
  • Schmalzer and DeSelm 1982
  • Taverna and Patterson 2008
  • Walton et al. 2001
  • Young et al. 2006
  • Young et al. 2007a
  • Young et al. 2009
States/Provinces:DC, KY, MD, PA, SC?, TN, VA, WV?
Nations:US
Range:In parts of the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont, this is a common forest of dry, nutrient-poor uplands. It occurs less frequently in similar low-elevation landscapes of the Central Appalachians (Northern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces), and the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. It reaches the eastern edge of its range in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and northern Virginia, where it extends slightly into the Coastal Plain along the fall zone. It also occurs in Pennsylvania and possibly West Virginia.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:231   Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
Section Name:Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code:231A     Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
No Data Available
The vegetation is a closed to very open oak forest with mixed and variable canopy dominance by Quercus alba, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus prinus. Various Pinus spp., including Pinus virginiana, Pinus echinata, Pinus strobus, and Pinus rigida, are frequent overstory associates, particularly following fire or logging disturbances. Quercus falcata, Quercus stellata, Carya glabra, and Carya alba are infrequent canopy trees. Nyssa sylvatica, Amelanchier arborea and, in the southern part of the range, Oxydendrum arboreum attain exceptional abundance and stature in these forests, dominating the subcanopy layers and occasionally reaching the overstory. Acer rubrum and Sassafras albidum are other common understory trees. The shrub layer is typically dominated by deciduous ericaceous species, with Gaylussacia baccata, Vaccinium pallidum, and/or Vaccinium stamineum consistently forming dense colonies. Less abundant or constant shrubs and vines include Castanea pumila, Quercus ilicifolia, Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron periclymenoides, Lyonia ligustrina, Vaccinium stamineum, Smilax glauca, Smilax rotundifolia, and Cornus florida. Despite high shrub densities, a number of low-cover herbs and subshrubs occur in the type, including Chimaphila maculata, Isotria verticillata, Uvularia puberula, Epigaea repens, Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum, Cypripedium acaule, Gentiana villosa, Comandra umbellata, Angelica venenosa, and Iris verna. Mean species richness of 54 Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia plot samples is 25 taxa per 400 square meters.
Stands are located between 30 and 700 m (100-2300 feet) elevation on rolling to sublevel sites of Piedmont and Inner Coastal Plain uplands, mountain valleys and lower mountain slope benches. The type is generally distributed in nutrient-poor soils of the Piedmont uplands. In the mountains, many documented occurrences are located on ancient alluvial fan deposits, which are especially extensive along the western foot of the Blue Ridge from Page County south to Rockbridge County, Virginia. Similar but smaller fans are common where incising streams drain "piedmont" landforms at the foot of Ridge and Valley strike ridges (Harbor 1996). Slopes of plot-sampled stands range from 1-13° (mean = 6°), with aspects essentially flat to westerly. Soils of these sites are deep, very oligotrophic, gravelly loams with low pH and base status. Exposed rocks of any kind (outcrops, boulders, or stones) are usually sparse to absent. Most sites appear to have a history of fires.
High
Drought-prone habitats and an abundance of inflammable shrubs make this vegetation type susceptible to periodic fires. Mesophytic, fire-intolerant species such as Fagus grandifolia, Acer rubrum, and Ilex opaca are rapidly invading the understories of many Piedmont stands from which fire has been excluded for many decades.
Authors:
G.P. Fleming, P. Coulling, L.A. Sneddon      Version Date: 22Dec2011


References:
  • Anderson, R. R., D. M. McFadden, R. J. Kramer, J. C. Dee, and G. C. Jones. 1977. Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway: Vegetation community structure and automated classification of vegetation communities. Unpublished report. National Park Service Contract No. CX6000-3-1452. Department of Biology, The American University, Washington, DC. 31 pp.
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2007. Ecological communities of the Potomac Gorge in Virginia: Composition, floristics, and environmental dynamics. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-12. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 341 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]
  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
  • Hall, R. L., and E. D. Mathews. 1974. Soil survey of Charles County, Maryland. U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. Washington, DC.
  • Harbor, D. J. 1996. Classification and mapping of geomorphology in the Peters Mountain, Laurel Fork, and Upper Piney River areas, George Washington National Forest. Unpublished report to the USDA Forest Service. Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA. 25 pp.
  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.
  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
  • Lea, C., L. A. Sneddon, and E. Eastman. 2012. Vegetation classification and mapping at Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Maryland. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2012/550. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.
  • McCoy, K. M., and G. P. Fleming. 2000. Ecological communities of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Army. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 156 pp. plus appendices.
  • Patterson, K. D. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/125. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Patterson, K. D. 2008c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/129. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 369 pp.
  • Patterson, K. D. 2008e. Vegetation classification and mapping at Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/127. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 235 pp.
  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
  • Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.
  • Taverna, K. and K. D. Patterson. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2008/126. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 277 pp.
  • Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.
  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2007a. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report, volume 1.1. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 103 pp. plus appendices and GIS products.
  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

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Author(s). publicationYear. Description Title [last revised revisionDate]. United States National Vegetation Classification. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, D.C.

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About this document
This document contains type descriptions at the Association level of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. These descriptions were primarily written by NatureServe ecologists in collaboration with Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee and a wide variety of state, federal and private partners as a part of the implementation of the National Vegetation Classification. Formation descriptions were written by the Hierarchy Revisions Working Group. The descriptions are based on consultation with natural resource professionals, published literature, and other vegetation classification systems. The Ecological Society of America's Panel on Vegetation Classification is responsible for managing the review and formal adoption of these types into the National Vegetation Classification. Partners involved in the implementation of the USNVC include:

U.S. Government
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Navy (NAVY)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Non U.S. Government
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Disclaimer:
Given the dynamic nature of the standard, it is possible a type description is incomplete or in revision at the time of download; therefore, users of the data should track the date of access and read the revisions section of the USNVC.org website to understand the current status of the classification. While USNVC data have undergone substantial review prior to posting, it is possible that some errors or inaccuracies have remained undetected.

For information on the process used to develop these descriptions see:

Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, D. Tart, B. Hoagland, C. Josse, G. Navarro, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, A. Weakley, P. Comer. 2014. EcoVeg: A new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84:533-561 (erratum 85:473).

Franklin, S., D. Faber-Langendoen, M. Jennings, T. Keeler-Wolf, O. Loucks, A. McKerrow, R.K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2012. Building the United States National Vegetation Classification. Annali di Botanica 2: 1-9.

Jennings, M. D., D. Faber-Langendoen, O. L. Louckes, R. K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2009. Standards for associations and alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. Ecological Monographs 79(2):173-199.

FGDC [Federal Geographic Data Committee]. 2008. Vegetation Classification Standard, FGDC-STD-005, Version 2. Washington, DC., USA. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)