Common (Translated Scientific) Name: American Beech - Southern Magnolia - Oak species Forest Group
Colloquial Name: Southern Mesic Beech - Magnolia - Oak Forest
Hierarchy Level: Group
Type Concept: This group occurs on the southern Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains on slopes, bluffs, or sheltered ravines where fire is naturally rare. It is generally within the warm temperate broadleaf evergreen climate zone, represented by the range of Magnolia grandiflora. Stands are mesic or dry-mesic, and vegetation typically includes species such as Fagus grandifolia, Magnolia grandiflora, Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River), and other species rarely encountered outside this group in the region. Other canopy taxa may include Quercus spp., Carya spp., Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, and others. There is a mixture of broadleaf evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, and there also tend to be spring ephemeral wildflowers typical of areas further north, such as Trillium spp. Some component associations are also found in temporarily flooded floodplains adjacent to these slopes, but this is primarily an upland type. Soils are generally deep, but can be quite variable in texture and reaction chemistry, ranging from coarse to loamy and from basic to acidic. They are not saturated for any significant time during the growing season and seldom, if ever, are extremely dry.
Diagnostic Characteristics: The vegetation typically includes species such as Fagus grandifolia, Magnolia grandiflora, Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River), and other species representing a mixture of broadleaf evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs in southern upland forests, mostly on slopes.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: No Data Available
Similar NVC Types:
G034 Oak - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest, note:
G166 Southern Mesic Beech - Oak - Mixed Deciduous Forest, note:
G790 Southern Evergreen Oak Forest, note:
G798 Coastal Live Oak - Hickory - Palmetto Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: These are mesic (and often rich) forests on slopes and in ravines (and less frequently upper terraces) of the southern coastal plains typically with a combination of broad-leaved evergreen trees, broad-leaved deciduous trees, and possibly evergreen needle-leaved trees. Woody plant diversity can be very high and forbs include spring ephemeral wildflowers.
Floristics: Stands are mesic, and vegetation typically includes species such as Fagus grandifolia, Magnolia grandiflora, Pinus glabra, and other species rarely encountered outside of bluffs or ravines. All woody strata contain a mixture of evergreen and deciduous species. Canopies are diverse; in addition to the aforementioned taxa, other canopy taxa may include Quercus alba, Quercus pagoda, Quercus michauxii, Quercus falcata, Quercus shumardii, Quercus velutina, Quercus laurifolia, Quercus nigra, Quercus hemisphaerica, Pinus echinata, Pinus taeda, Nyssa sylvatica, Fraxinus americana, Carya alba, Carya glabra, Ulmus alata, Ulmus americana, Ulmus rubra, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Liquidambar styraciflua (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data 2003). The presence of Pinus taeda is normal at lower frequencies, but higher ones may indicate past disturbance or removal of the hardwood canopy and subsequent increase of Pinus taeda. Additional subcanopy taxa may include Acer barbatum, Acer rubrum, Oxydendrum arboreum, Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Ostrya virginiana, Prunus caroliniana, Prunus serotina, Symplocos tinctoria, Persea palustris, Magnolia macrophylla, Halesia diptera, Styrax grandifolius, Sassafras albidum, Ilex opaca, Hamamelis virginiana, Magnolia pyramidata, Tilia americana var. caroliniana, Zanthoxylum clava-herculis, Crataegus marshallii, Morus rubra, and Cornus florida. The shrub layer can be very diverse. Trees may support lianas and epiphytes. Shrubs and woody vines include Illicium floridanum, Hydrangea quercifolia, Arundinaria gigantea, Halesia diptera, Aesculus pavia, Calycanthus floridus var. floridus, Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Viburnum rufidulum, Viburnum dentatum, Ilex vomitoria, Berchemia scandens, Vitis rotundifolia, Decumaria barbara, Callicarpa americana, Ampelopsis arborea, Frangula caroliniana, Smilax tamnoides (= Smilax hispida), Gelsemium sempervirens, Sabal minor, Schisandra glabra, Lindera benzoin, Asimina parviflora, Cornus drummondii, Bignonia capreolata, and Euonymus americanus. Except in gaps, herbs are scarce (Batista and Platt 1997). Herbs and herbaceous vines include Thelypteris kunthii, Cystopteris protrusa, Viola walteri, Polystichum acrostichoides, Galium obtusum, Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Aristolochia serpentaria, Trillium foetidissimum, Desmodium nudiflorum, Lithospermum tuberosum, Boehmeria cylindrica, Ageratina altissima var. altissima, Sanicula canadensis, Sanicula marilandica, Arisaema dracontium, Tillandsia usneoides, Cryptotaenia canadensis, Adiantum pedatum, Passiflora lutea, Cynoglossum virginianum, Botrychium virginianum, Ranunculus recurvatus, Mikania scandens, and Clematis crispa (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data 2003).
Dynamics: In these forests, natural disturbance occurs in canopy gaps. These forests occur in ravines and on slopes near rivers or creeks, and are naturally protected from wildland fire. Wind and heavy rain from hurricanes can cause canopy gaps where trees are toppled or broken.