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CEGL006462 Quercus (rubra, alba) / Carpinus caroliniana - (Halesia tetraptera) / Maianthemum racemosum Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: (Northern Red Oak, White Oak) / American Hornbeam - (Mountain Silverbell) / Feathery False Lily-of-the-Valley Forest
Colloquial Name: Oak - Hickory Floodplain Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This association is a closed-canopy to somewhat open-canopy deciduous floodplain forest on the highest positions of river floodplains. These alluvial terraces are infrequently flooded and some are possibly no longer flooded. Low frequency and low energy of flooding is evidenced by the development of litter layers and organic-enriched soil horizons. Soils are well-drained sands and sandy loams, and soil moisture regime may be somewhat dry. The soils are slightly to moderately acidic and have relatively high cation levels. Slopes range from level to steep. The canopy is frequently composed of very large-diameter, tall trees, with species more typical of uplands. Dominant trees in the canopy include Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Acer saccharum. Additional trees which may occur in the canopy and subcanopy include Acer rubrum, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia tripetala, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Prunus serotina var. serotina, and Ulmus americana. The small tree Halesia tetraptera is dominant in some areas as a well-developed tall-shrub layer and may extend into the tree subcanopy; Sassafras albidum may also occur as a small tree. Additional shrubs include Carpinus caroliniana, Dirca palustris, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Smilax rotundifolia, Magnolia tripetala, Asimina triloba, and Viburnum prunifolium. Low shrubs may be present, though typically sparse, and include Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Chionanthus virginicus, Euonymus americanus, Hamamelis virginiana, and Smilax rotundifolia. Characteristic herbs include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Cynoglossum virginianum, Dichanthelium boscii, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Hexastylis virginica, Hydrastis canadensis, Maianthemum racemosum, Packera aurea, Polygonatum biflorum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Verbesina alternifolia.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: This association has canopy composition similar to Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest (CEGL007267), but it is differentiated by its occurrence on floodplains and by the abundance of Halesia tetraptera and other mesophytic species in the understory.
Similar NVC Types:
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: This association is a closed-canopy to somewhat open-canopy deciduous floodplain forest dominated by tree species more typical of uplands. Many of the stands are composed of very large-diameter, tall trees. Dominant trees in the canopy include Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Acer saccharum. Additional trees which may occur in the canopy and subcanopy include Acer rubrum, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Juglans nigra, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia tripetala, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Prunus serotina var. serotina, and Ulmus americana. The small tree Halesia tetraptera is dominant in some areas as a well-developed tall-shrub layer and may extend into the tree subcanopy; Sassafras albidum may also occur as a small tree. Additional shrubs include Carpinus caroliniana, Dirca palustris, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Smilax rotundifolia, Magnolia tripetala, Asimina triloba, and Viburnum prunifolium. Low shrubs may be present, though typically sparse, and include Xanthorhiza simplicissima, Chionanthus virginicus, Euonymus americanus, Hamamelis virginiana, and Smilax rotundifolia. Characteristic herbs include Ageratina altissima, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Cynoglossum virginianum, Dichanthelium boscii, Eurybia divaricata, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Hexastylis virginica, Hydrastis canadensis, Maianthemum racemosum, Packera aurea, Polygonatum biflorum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sedum ternatum, Thelypteris noveboracensis, and Verbesina alternifolia. Vascular plant species richness in the eight 400-square-meter sampled plots ranges from 16 to 79 (mean at New River = 32; mean at Bluestone = 69; Gauley = 44).
Dynamics: This association was probably much more abundant prior to development of upper floodplains and alluvial terraces for agriculture and transportation corridors starting in the late 1700s continuing through the mid-1900s.
Environmental Description: This association occurs in small patches on the highest positions of river floodplains which are infrequently flooded and possibly on alluvial terraces which are no longer flooded. The largest patches occur on large point bars which have developed along inside bends of large meanders. Evidence of flooding includes fluvial topography, accumulations of rocks on the upstream side of tree bases, and some flotsam. Sites have fluvial microtopography of levees and swales formed from sandy alluvium. Low frequency and low energy of flooding is evidenced by the development of litter layers and organic-enriched soil horizons. Soils are stone-free or somewhat stony, moderately well- to well-drained sands and sandy loams derived from alluvium, and soil moisture regime may be somewhat dry. Soil chemistry analyzed from six plots indicates slightly acidic soils (mean pH = 5.8 at New River and 5.0 at Bluestone) and relatively high levels of some nutrients (Ca, Mg, Zn) and relatively low levels of organic matter compared to soils of most upland forests in the area. Soil from the one sampled plot at Gauley River is considerably more acidic (pH=4.1). Slopes range from level to steep. Elevations of mapped stands range from 247 to 506 m.
Geographic Range: This association is currently known only from West Virginia along the New, Bluestone, and Gauley rivers.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: WV
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest - Coniferous Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M221    Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C     Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: G1
Greasons: This association is a small-patch high floodplain terrace forest known only from the Gauley, New, and Bluestone rivers in West Virginia. It has been reduced in extent by agriculture from the eighteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century, and more recently has been further reduced by the construction of a railroad in the Gauley River valley. Fewer than ten occurrences are estimated, covering less than one square kilometer in area. Continued threats include housing development and road construction outside of NPS lands. Dams on these rivers has reduced peak flow, and it is possible that this lack of natural flooding will further reduce the extent of this vegetation.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy:
Concept Author(s): J.P. Vanderhorst
Author of Description: J.P. Vanderhorst and S.C. Gawler
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 01Apr2010
References:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.