Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL006271
Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:(Chestnut Oak, Scarlet Oak) / Mountain Laurel / (Beetleweed, Eastern Teaberry) Forest
Colloquial Name:Chestnut Oak Forest (Subxeric Ridge Type)
This community includes subxeric ridgetop and exposed slope forests in the Southern Appalachians, ranging south and east into the upper Piedmont, north into the Central Appalachians, and north and west into the Ridge and Valley. This community occurs over shallow soils, primarily on south- to west-facing slopes and ridgetops where solar exposure is high. Soils are rocky, infertile, dry, acidic sandy loams typically derived from sandstone. The community includes forests with canopies strongly dominated by Quercus prinus and/or Quercus coccinea, with lesser amounts of Quercus velutina, Quercus rubra, Quercus falcata, Oxydendrum arboreum, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus virginiana, and Acer rubrum, occurring over a typically dense shrub stratum dominated by ericaceous species. The shrub layer may vary between evergreen and deciduous dominance. Typical shrub species include Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron maximum, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and (in the more southern portions of the range) Leucothoe recurva. In addition, Castanea dentata may occur abundantly as root sprouts. The herb layer is typically sparse and includes subshrubs such as Epigaea repens and Gaultheria procumbens. Other common species include Chamaelirium luteum, Chimaphila maculata, Galax urceolata, Magnolia fraseri, Sassafras albidum, Symplocos tinctoria, Smilax rotundifolia, and Smilax glauca. This community is distinguished by its overall floristic composition, with a high abundance of acid-loving ericaceous species, which are indicative of this community's extremely infertile, acidic soils.
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 A0248 Chestnut Oak - Scarlet Oak Forest A0248
Association CEGL006271 Chestnut Oak Forest (Subxeric Ridge Type) CEGL006271
Like the other matrix oak/heath forests in Virginia, this type can occur on a wide variety of topographic positions, as long as soil conditions are favorable. A similar association defined for the southern Cumberland Plateau, Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL008431), occurs over sandstone or other geologies not as acidic as the Blue Ridge type and lacks species indicative of the Blue Ridge association, such as Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and Gaultheria procumbens.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, Acer rubrum is often dominant or codominant in these forests, presumably on former American chestnut (Castanea dentata) sites. In the Blue Ridge-Piedmont transition, below 853 m (2800 feet) elevation, where this community is often associated with Pinus rigida forests and woodlands, Quercus falcata may be a component of the canopy, and the shrub stratum is strongly dominated by Vaccinium pallidum. A similar association defined for the southern Cumberland Plateau, Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL008431), occurs over sandstone or other geologies not as acid as the Blue Ridge type and lacks species indicative of the Blue Ridge association, such as Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and Gaultheria procumbens.

In 55 plots classified as this association (homoteneity = 0.60) in the Appalachian Trail analysis (Fleming and Patterson 2009a), the most constant species, in order of descending constancy are Acer rubrum, Kalmia latifolia, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea, Nyssa sylvatica, Vaccinium pallidum, Oxydendrum arboreum, Galax urceolata, Smilax rotundifolia, Castanea dentata, Sassafras albidum, and Smilax glauca. Species richness ranges from 13-52 species and averages 30 species per 400-m2 plot sample. In this same analysis, a group of 11 plots from the Great Smoky and Nantahala mountains segregated as a distinct group in cluster analysis. While the composition of this group fits within the broad concept of this association (CEGL006271), this "southern variant" is distinguished by the dominance of Gaylussacia ursina and the greater importance of Quercus rubra, Pyrularia pubera, Tsuga canadensis, and Magnolia fraseri than in the "typic" expression of CEGL006271. Further, species that are common in the "typic" expression of CEGL006271, Quercus coccinea, Nyssa sylvatica, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia baccata, and Leucothoe recurva, are absent or inconstant in the "southern variant." Based on available plot data, environmental and geographic distinctions could not be made between the two groups, but further study may be warranted.
Synonomy: = Quercus alba - Quercus velutina - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum - (Kalmia latifolia) forest (Vanderhorst 2001b)
? Quercus montana - Quercus coccinea / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Moorhead 2000)
= Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Gaylussacia ursina Forest (Patterson 1994)
? Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Association, pro parte (Rawinski et al. 1996) [see CEGL006282.]
= Quercus prinus - Quercus coccinea / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
= Chestnut Oak - Chestnut Forest (Whittaker 1956)
? Chestnut Oak Forests (McLeod 1988)
? Chestnut Oak type (Golden 1974)
< Chestnut Oak: 44 (Eyre 1980) [chestnut oak - scarlet oak variant.]
? Chestnut oak-scarlet oak/ericad forest: (matrix) xeric, S- & SW-facing slopes (CAP pers. comm. 1998)
< IA6d. Chestnut Oak Slope and Ridge Forest (Allard 1990)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Allard 1990
  • CAP pers. comm. 1998
  • Evans 1991
  • Evans et al. 2009
  • Eyre 1980
  • Fleming and Coulling 2001
  • Fleming and Moorhead 2000
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009a
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009b
  • Fleming and Patterson 2011a
  • Fleming et al. 2001
  • Golden 1974
  • Major et al. 1999
  • McLeod 1988
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern U.S. unpubl. data
  • Nelson 1986
  • Patterson 1994
  • Peet et al. unpubl. data
  • Pyne 1994
  • Rawinski et al. 1996
  • Schafale 1998b
  • Schafale 2012
  • Schafale and Weakley 1990
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • TDNH unpubl. data
  • Vanderhorst 2001b
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2007
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2010
  • VDNH 2003
  • White 2003
  • White 2006
  • Whittaker 1956
States/Provinces:GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV
Nations:US
Range:The center of distribution for this community is the Southern Blue Ridge of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northeastern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina. It ranges south and east into the upper Piedmont and north into the Central Appalachians. This type is common in the Southern Ridge and Valley and Cumberland Mountains of southwestern Virginia and presumably Kentucky.
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
Stands of this association are forests with canopies strongly dominated by Quercus prinus and Quercus coccinea alone or in mixture. Quercus velutina is an important associate in some stands. Other trees, usually in lesser amounts, include Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Quercus falcata, Oxydendrum arboreum, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus virginiana, Pinus rigida, Betula lenta, and Acer rubrum. In addition, Carya alba, Carya glabra, Magnolia acuminata, and Magnolia fraseri are present in some areas. The canopy trees grow over a typically dense shrub stratum dominated by ericaceous species, which may display either evergreen or deciduous dominance. Typical shrub species include Kalmia latifolia, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia ursina, and Gaylussacia baccata. Some areas may feature Rhododendron maximum, Rhododendron calendulaceum, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Leucothoe recurva. In addition, Castanea dentata may occur abundantly as root sprouts. The herb layer is typically sparse and includes subshrubs such as Epigaea repens and Gaultheria procumbens. Other common species include Carex digitalis var. digitalis, Chamaelirium luteum, Chimaphila maculata, Coreopsis major, Galax urceolata, Danthonia spicata, Dichanthelium dichotomum var. dichotomum, Dioscorea quaternata, Hieracium venosum, Houstonia longifolia, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Solidago caesia, Symplocos tinctoria, and Potentilla simplex. Mosses include Dicranum fulvum, Dicranum scoparium, Thuidium delicatulum, and Leucobryum glaucum. Macrolichens include Flavoparmelia baltimorensis, Cladonia furcata, Lasallia papulosa, and Umbilicaria mammulata. This community is distinguished by its overall floristic composition, with a high abundance of acid-loving ericaceous species, which are indicative of this community's extremely infertile, acid soils. In the Great Smoky Mountains Acer rubrum is often dominant or codominant in these forests, presumably on former American chestnut (Castanea dentata) sites. In the Blue Ridge-Piedmont transition, below 853 m (2800 feet) elevation, where this community is often associated with Pinus rigida forests and woodlands, Quercus falcata may be a component of the canopy, and the shrub stratum is strongly dominated by Vaccinium pallidum.
This community occurs on upper slopes, ridges and spurs, usually convex, primarily on south- to west-facing slopes and ridgetops where solar exposure is high. This community includes subxeric ridgetop forests in the Southern Blue Ridge, ranging south and east into the upper Piedmont and north into the Central Appalachians, and west into the Ridge and Valley. Soils are rocky, infertile, dry to very dry, acidic sandy loams to clay loams often derived from sandstone. These forests occur on moderate to very steep slopes or on flat to gently sloping interfluves. Sites supporting this association are typically below 1067 m elevation (3500 feet), but range up to 1280 m (4200 feet). The average elevation of 55 plots classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail project (Fleming and Patterson 2009a) is 845 m (2771 feet), ranging from 262 m (860 feet) to 1305 m (4281 feet).
High
There is abundant evidence of past fires in this community, and the vegetation may be fire-adapted, although information on natural fire regimes is lacking. Most sites have a history of logging.
Authors:
K.D. Patterson, R. White and S.C. Gawler      Version Date: 01Apr2010


References:
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
  • Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
  • 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.
  • 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 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., 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.
  • Golden, M. S. 1974. Forest vegetation and site relationships in the central portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 275 pp.
  • Major, C. S., C. Bailey, J. Donaldson, R. McCoy, C. Nordman, M. Williams, and D. Withers. 1999. An ecological inventory of selected sites in the Cherokee National Forest. Cost Share Agreement #99-CCS-0804-001. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.
  • McLeod, D. E. 1988. Vegetation patterns, floristics, and environmental relationships in the Black and Craggy mountains of North Carolina. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 222 pp.
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.
  • Patterson, K. D. 1994. Classification of vegetation in Ellicott Rock Wilderness, Southeastern Blue Ridge Escarpment. M.S. thesis, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. 91 pp.
  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  • Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 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.
  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.
  • Vanderhorst, J. 2001b. Plant communities of the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia: Northern and southern thirds. Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Elkins. 146 pp.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, Z. Arcaro, and S. C. Gawler. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gauley River National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/148. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.
  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
  • White, Jr., R. D. 2003. Vascular plant inventory and plant community classification for Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 160 pp.
  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.
  • Whittaker, R. H. 1956. Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecological Monographs 26:1-80.


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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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)