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

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: White Oak - (Scarlet Oak, Black Oak, Chestnut Oak) / Black Huckleberry Forest
Colloquial Name: Low-Elevation Mixed Oak / Heath Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: 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.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: 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.
Similar NVC Types:
Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note:
Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest, note: of southern Appalachians.
Quercus alba - (Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua) / Calycanthus floridus / Athyrium filix-femina Forest, note:
Quercus alba - Quercus falcata / Vaccinium (arboreum, hirsutum, pallidum) Forest, note: described from southeastern Tennessee, with similar understory and associated species but with prominent Quercus falcata.
Quercus alba - Quercus falcata - (Carya pallida) / Gaylussacia frondosa Forest, note: of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note: of the Central Appalachians and northern Piedmont.
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: 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.
Dynamics: 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.
Environmental Description: 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.
Geographic 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.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: DC, KY, MD, PA, SC?, TN, VA, WV?
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
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
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: High
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: G5
Greasons: This community is a matrix-forming vegetation type in the Virginia and Maryland Piedmont and is probably more widespread at low elevations of the central Appalachian Mountains than documentation indicates.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
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)
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming and P. Coulling, mod. G.P. Fleming
Author of Description: G.P. Fleming, P. Coulling, L.A. Sneddon
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 22Dec2011
References:
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