Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL008524
Quercus prinus / Rhododendron catawbiense - Kalmia latifolia Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Collapse All::Expand All
Translated Name:Chestnut Oak / Catawba Rosebay - Mountain Laurel Forest
Colloquial Name:Central Appalachian Chestnut Oak / Catawba Rosebay Forest
The documented range of this community is confined to the northern Virginia Blue Ridge, scattered locations in the Ridge and Valley province of west-central and southwestern Virginia, and in the gorges of the New and Gauley rivers of southern West Virginia. In addition, there are a few local outliers on sheltered, north-facing bluffs along the James River in the western Piedmont. In the main part of this association's range, stands are associated with strongly convex, upper slopes and spur crests at elevations from 325 m to over 975 m (1050-3200 feet). North or northwest aspects are common, but the type has been documented from other aspects as well, generally with high solar exposure. The vegetation is a species-poor, open to closed-canopy forest of stunted (often <20 m tall, sometimes <10 m tall), gnarled trees over a dense, evergreen tall-shrub layer. Quercus prinus is the usual canopy dominant, with occasional associates of Betula lenta, Tsuga canadensis, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, Quercus alba, Nyssa sylvatica, Acer rubrum, Pinus virginiana, and/or Pinus strobus. The shrub layer is dominated by Rhododendron catawbiense, Kalmia latifolia, and/or Rhododendron maximum (the latter primarily in West Virginia occurrences). Additional shrubs which are present at low cover include Hamamelis virginiana, Ilex montana, and Amelanchier arborea. Deciduous ericads such as Gaylussacia baccata and Vaccinium pallidum may be present but rarely contribute more than 10% cover. Herbs and subshrubs are exceedingly sparse in the densely shaded, forest-floor environment; most likely to be encountered are the evergreen species Gaultheria procumbens, Epigaea repens, Galax urceolata, Goodyera pubescens, Mitchella repens, and Chimaphila maculata, sometimes present at low cover.
No Data Available
The geographic distribution of this community and the extent to which it recurs throughout the Northern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley are somewhat uncertain and need further investigation. Although documented by plot data only on the Blue Ridge of Virginia and at New River Gorge and the Gauley River in West Virginia, similar vegetation is reported to be frequent on xeric, rocky upper slopes and summits throughout the west-central and southwestern Virginia Ridge and Valley region (T.F. Wieboldt pers. comm.). These putative Ridge and Valley occurrences sometimes contain mixtures of Rhododendron catawbiense and Rhododendron maximum, as do the Gauley River occurrences. For the most part, however, this community appears to reach optimal development in geographic areas (i.e., the Northern Blue Ridge) and drier habitats where Rhododendron maximum is spotty or absent. Tsuga canadensis is prominent in this association at New River Gorge and the Gauley River, another contrast to Virginia stands. This association (CEGL008524) is not likely to be found in the Southern Blue Ridge, where Rhododendron catawbiense is more restricted to high elevations and exposed habitats, above the elevational limits of Quercus prinus (Newell 1997, A.S. Weakley pers. comm.). Although stands of this type can be rather difficult to plot-sample, the collection of additional quantitative data from well-developed occurrences would be desirable. This community type is similar to and sometimes co-occurs with Tsuga caroliniana / Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron catawbiense Forest (CEGL007139) on the Northern Blue Ridge. The degree to which periodic fires have influenced the structure and composition of this community type needs investigation.
Synonomy: ? Quercus montana - Pinus strobus / Kalmia latifolia / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Coulling and Rawinski 1999)
? Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Association: Rhododendron catawbiense / Galax urceolata Subassociation (Rawinski et al. 1996)
= Quercus prinus / Rhododendron catawbiense - Kalmia latifolia Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
? Quercus rubra - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron catawbiense Association, pro parte (Rawinski et al. 1996)
< Chestnut Oak: 44 (Eyre 1980)

Related Type Name:In the regional analysis conducted for the Southern Appalachian part of the Appalachian Trail vegetation mapping project, plots representing this association were intensively compared with plots representing CEGL006286 and the two types were found to be distinct, both environmentally and compositionally (Fleming and Patterson 2009a).

Short Citation:
  • Coulling and Rawinski 1999
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • Eyre 1980
  • Fleming 2002b
  • Fleming and Coulling 2001
  • Fleming and Patterson 2003
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009a
  • Fleming and Patterson 2009b
  • Fleming and Patterson 2011a
  • Fleming et al. 2001
  • Fleming et al. 2004
  • Fleming et al. 2006
  • Newell 1997
  • Rawinski et al. 1996
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2007
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2010
  • Wieboldt pers. comm.
  • WVNHP unpubl. data b
States/Provinces:VA, WV
Nations:US
Range:The documented range of this community includes the southern part of the Central Appalachians and adjacent areas of the Southern Blue Ridge, Southern Ridge and Valley, and Cumberland Mountains in Virginia and West Virginia. In addition, there are a few local outliers on sheltered, north-facing bluffs along the James River in the western Virginia Piedmont.
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 an exceptionally species-poor, open to closed-canopy forest of somewhat stunted (<20 m tall) to very stunted (<10 m tall), gnarled deciduous or mixed evergreen-deciduous trees over a dense, evergreen tall-shrub layer. Quercus prinus is the canopy dominant, with occasional associates of Tsuga canadensis, Betula lenta, Nyssa sylvatica, Acer rubrum, Quercus velutina, Quercus coccinea, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Betula alleghaniensis, Pinus virginiana, and/or Pinus strobus. Acer rubrum and Oxydendrum arboreum may be abundant subcanopy trees. Rhododendron catawbiense and Kalmia latifolia, each with mean cover of 25-50% in plots, dominate the shrub layer; Rhododendron maximum may be locally important in West Virginia occurrences. Additional shrubs present at low cover include Acer pensylvanicum, Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis virginiana, Ilex montana, Ilex opaca, Amelanchier arborea, Smilax rotundifolia, Vaccinium pallidum, and Viburnum acerifolium. Although not documented in plots, Pieris floribunda is reported to be a characteristic shrub of this community in the Thunder Ridge - Apple Orchard Mountain area of Virginia's Bedford and Botetourt counties (Rawinski et al. 1996). Herbs and subshrubs are exceedingly sparse in the densely shaded forest floor environment, but the evergreen species Gaultheria procumbens, Epigaea repens, Galax urceolata, Goodyera pubescens, Mitchella repens, and Chimaphila maculata are sometimes present at low cover. Occasional herbs include Aralia nudicaulis, Conopholis americana, Cypripedium acaule, Dryopteris intermedia, Hexastylis virginica, and Polypodium virginianum. The bryophyte layer may have significant cover by Leucobryum glaucum; other bryophytes identified in plots include Hypnum imponens, Thuidium delicatulum, Dicranum scoparium, Bazzania trilobata, and Polytrichum juniperinum. Lichens collected from this community include Cladonia caroliniana, Cladonia uncialis, Flavoparmelia baltimorensis, and Umbilicaria mammulata. Vascular plant species richness (per 400 square meters) of Virginia plot-sampled stands ranges from 9 to 16 taxa (mean = 12); in the nine WV sampled plots it ranges from 13 to 33 taxa (mean = 22.4).
This type is generally associated with strongly convex, upper slopes, cliff tops, and spur crests at elevations from 325 m to over 975 m (1050-3200 feet). Plot-sampled stands have various aspects, with north or northwest aspects most common. Slopes are mostly steep, generally >20° but sometimes as low as 10°. Piedmont occurrences of this vegetation type differ somewhat from the main part of the range: they are confined to steep, sheltered bluffs subtending the James River at <200 m (650 feet) elevation. Site moisture potential appears to be in the subxeric to submesic range, with soils in plots described as well- to rapidly-drained, dry sandy loam and silty clay. Surface cover of rocks varies from low to high, and soils have thick, poorly decomposed duff layers. Soils are extremely acidic (mean pH = 4.1) and infertile, with low levels of most nutrients (Ca, Cu, K, Mg, Mn, P, Zn).
Moderate
No Data Available
Authors:
G. Fleming, P. Coulling, S.C. Gawler      Version Date: 01Apr2010


References:
  • Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • 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. 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., 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 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., 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]
  • Newell, C. L. 1997. Local and regional variation in the vegetation of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 1008 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.
  • 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.
  • Wieboldt, Thomas F. Personal communication.
  • 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

Date Accessed:

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

About spatial standards:
The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee (hereafter called the FGDC) is tasked to develop geospatial data standards that will enable sharing of spatial data among producers and users and support the growing National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), acting under the Office of Management Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 (OMB 1990, 2000) and Executive Order #12906 (Clinton 1994) as amended by Executive Order #13286 (Bush 2003). FGDC subcommittees and working groups, in consultation and cooperation with state, local, tribal, private, academic, and international communities, develop standards for the content, quality, and transferability of geospatial data. FGDC standards are developed through a structured process, integrated with one another to the extent possible, supportable by the current vendor community (but are independent of specific technologies), and publicly available.

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
  • NatureServe (NS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)

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)