Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL006923
Tsuga canadensis - Quercus prinus - Betula lenta Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:Eastern Hemlock - Chestnut Oak - Sweet Birch Forest
Colloquial Name:Central Appalachian Hemlock - Chestnut Oak Forest
This association is a hemlock - mixed oak forest which often occurs on steep northeastern to northwestern exposures. It ranges from the New Jersey Highlands south to the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, Cumberlands, and Piedmont provinces of Maryland and West Virginia. Occurrences in West Virginia are known from the Bluestone River Gorge and are likely elsewhere. Stands occur at elevations from 150 m to about 750 m (500-2500 feet) on moderately to very steep, sheltered slopes. Northerly aspects and middle slope positions prevail among documented examples. Some sites are "boulderfields" with up to 60% cover by large rocks. Geologic substrate is variable. Soils are usually very stony to extremely stony sandy loams, consistently oligotrophic, with very low pH and base status. Stands of this association are typically floristically depauperate and generally dominated by variable combinations of Quercus prinus and Tsuga canadensis. Betula lenta and, less commonly, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, and Quercus rubra are major overstory associates, each attaining codominance in a subset of stands. Quercus alba, Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus strobus, Sassafras albidum, and Fagus grandifolia are minor overstory associates. Small trees and shrubs can be absent or sparse due to dense shading by hemlock, with Hamamelis virginiana most consistently providing moderate cover. Less frequently, Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron maximum, and Viburnum acerifolium are shrub components. At some New Jersey sites, a single dense stratum or multiple open strata of ericaceous species can develop, including Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia baccata, and Vaccinium pallidum. The herb layer of this community is typically very sparse or absent; typical scattered species include Maianthemum canadense, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Chimaphila maculata, Deschampsia flexuosa, Carex swanii, and Aralia nudicaulis.
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 M883 Appalachian-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest M883 1.B.2.Na.3
Group G020 Appalachian-Central Interior Mesic Forest G020 1.B.2.Na.3.a
Alliance A3304 Southern Hemlock - Tuliptree Forest A3304
Association CEGL006923 Central Appalachian Hemlock - Chestnut Oak Forest CEGL006923
Because of devastation by hemlock woolly adelgid, understory hemlock is often all that's left in this community in Virginia. The original description was based on A. Windisch's (1993) Picatinny Arsenal Hemlock-Mixed Oak-(Heath) Cool Sub-Mesic forest description (TcQf). An expanded circumscription is based on analysis of data from 20 Maryland and Virginia plots, data from Delaware Water Gap, and 9 West Virginia plots. Analysis of more than 1300 montane Virginia plots indicated that the two Virginia plots originally assigned to this type in the National Capital Region analysis are cove plots that are better classified as Tsuga canadensis - Quercus prinus - Liriodendron tulipifera / Kalmia latifolia - (Rhododendron catawbiense) Forest (CEGL008512) (Fleming and Patterson 2009b).
Synonomy: > Picatinny Arsenal Hemlock-Mixed Oak-(Heath) Cool Sub-Mesic forest description (TcQf) (Windisch 1993)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • Edinger et al. 2002
  • Edinger et al. 2014
  • Fike 1999
  • Harrison 2004
  • Harrison 2011
  • Perez pers. comm.
  • Perles et al. 2006d
  • Perles et al. 2007
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2008
  • Windisch 1993
  • WVNHP unpubl. data b
States/Provinces:MD, NJ, NY, PA, WV
Nations:US
Range:This association ranges from the New Jersey Highlands south to the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Piedmont provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the Cumberlands in West Virginia.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:212   Occurrence Status:Predicted or probable
Section Name:Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code:M221A     Occurrence Status:Predicted or probable
No Data Available
This association is a hemlock - mixed oak forest dominated by Tsuga canadensis in association with species of Quercus and other deciduous trees indicative of relatively dry, infertile soils. Stands are typically floristically depauperate and generally dominated by variable combinations of Quercus prinus and Tsuga canadensis. Betula lenta and, less commonly, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, Quercus alba, and Quercus rubra are major overstory associates, each attaining codominance in a subset of stands. Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus strobus, Sassafras albidum, and Fagus grandifolia are very minor overstory associates. Oxydendrum arboreum and Acer saccharum, along with overstory species, may be present in the subcanopy. Small trees and shrubs are often absent or sparse due to dense shading by hemlock, with Hamamelis virginiana most consistently providing moderate cover. Less frequently, Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron maximum, Vaccinium pallidum, Amelanchier arborea, and Viburnum acerifolium are shrub components. At some New Jersey sites, a single dense stratum or multiple open strata of ericaceous species can develop, including Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia baccata, and Vaccinium pallidum. The herb layer of this community is typically very sparse or absent with scattered individuals of a few species; typical species vary somewhat with geography and include Maianthemum canadense, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Dioscorea quaternata, Chimaphila maculata, Deschampsia flexuosa, Dryopteris marginalis, Chimaphila maculata, Carex swanii, Eurybia divaricata, Goodyera pubescens, Gaultheria procumbens, Mitchella repens, Monotropa hypopithys, Monotropa uniflora, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Aralia nudicaulis. In nine West Virginia plots, vascular plant richness ranged from 16 to 43 (mean = 26.5) species per 400-square-meter plot.
Stands occur at elevations from 150 m to about 750 m (500-2500 feet) on moderately to very steep, sheltered slopes. Northern to northwestern aspects and middle slope positions prevail among documented examples. Some sites are "boulderfields" with up to 60% cover by large rocks; some appear above or below cliff bands. Geologic substrate is variable but includes shales and sandstone. Soils are usually very stony to extremely stony sandy loams, consistently oligotrophic, with very low pH and base status. Soils in eight West Virginia plots in the environs of Bluestone National Scenic River are described as dry to somewhat moist, well-drained, stone-free to very stony sandy loam, silt loam, sandy silt loam, and sandy clay loam; they tested extremely to medium acidic (mean pH = 4.4) with relatively high levels of organic matter, estimated N release, S, Al, B, and Fe and relatively low levels of Ca, Cu, K, Mg, Mn, P, and Zn compared to average values in the area.
Moderate
Extensive hemlock mortality caused by hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is changing the composition of many of these forests. Most Maryland stands are now in a degraded condition, and some have suffered virtually complete hemlock mortality. In Bluestone National Scenic River (WV), many hemlocks appear stressed, but large scale mortality was not observed during the 2003-2006 vegetation surveys.
Authors:
A. Windisch, S.C. Gawler and G.P. Fleming      Version Date: 24Feb2010


References:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.
  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.
  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 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.
  • Perez, John. Personal communication. Biologist, USDI National Park Service, Glen Jean, WV.
  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, E. A. Zimmerman, E. Eastman, and L. A. Sneddon. 2006d. Vegetation classification and mapping at Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2006/079. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, E. Eastman, L. A. Sneddon, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Classification and mapping of vegetation and fire fuel models at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2007/076. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 2 volumes.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping of Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/106. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Windisch, A. G. 1993. Natural community inventory of Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Unpublished report prepared for Picatinny Arsenal, U.S. Department of Defense. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Heritage Task Force, Trenton, NJ.
  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.


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
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  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
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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)