Invalid Unit Specified
Group Detail Report: G007
Fagus grandifolia - Magnolia grandiflora - Quercus spp. Forest Group

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
This southern upland forest 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, mostly occurring on slopes.
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Translated Name:American Beech - Southern Magnolia - Oak species Forest Group
Colloquial Name:Southern Mesic Beech - Magnolia - Oak Forest
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.
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.
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.1 Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland F018 1.B.1
Division 1.B.1.Na Southeastern North American Forest & Woodland D006 1.B.1.Na
Macrogroup M008 Southern Mesic Mixed Broadleaf Forest M008 1.B.1.Na.3
Group G007 Southern Mesic Beech - Magnolia - Oak Forest G007 1.B.1.Na.3.a
Alliance A0369 Beech - Magnolia Forest A0369
Alliance A3115 White Oak - Water Oak - Dwarf Palmetto Forest A3115
No Data Available
Synonomy: = Beech-Magnolia Forest (Braun 1950)
>< Beech-Magnolia-Loblolly Slopes (Ajilvsgi 1979)
>< Floodplain Hardwood Pine Forest (Marks and Harcombe 1981)
>< Lower Slope Hardwood Pine Forest (Marks and Harcombe 1981)
>< Slope Forest (FNAI 2010a)
= Southern Mixed Hardwood Forest (Quarterman and Keever 1962)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Ajilvsgi 1979
  • Batista and Platt 1997
  • Braun 1950
  • Comer et al. 2003
  • Delcourt and Delcourt 1975
  • EPA 2004
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017a
  • FNAI 1990
  • FNAI 2010a
  • Kossuth and Michael 1990
  • Marks and Harcombe 1981
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern U.S. unpubl. data
  • Outcalt 1990
  • Quarterman and Keever 1962
  • Ware et al. 1993
States/Provinces:AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, SC, TX
Range:The range of this forest group is from southern South Carolina to central Florida, and west to eastern Texas.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
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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.
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).
Sites are often found along slopes, bluffs, or sheltered ravines above perennial streams in the region. This mesic habitat is confined to very limited, fire-sheltered areas within the natural ranges of Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River) (Kossuth and Michael 1990) and Magnolia grandiflora (Outcalt 1990). This system occurs in a variety of moist, non-wetland sites. Most common are lower slopes along streams and rivers in dissected terrain, but some examples occur on mesic flats between drier pine-dominated uplands and floodplains or on local high areas within bottomland terraces or nonriverine wet flats. There may be larger patches where side-drains join larger streams. Climate: The climate is warm temperate, humid. Most of the sites where this forest occurs can be influenced by hurricanes, wind and heavy rain. Average rainfall is 100-150 cm (40-60 inches) annually. Soil/substrate/hydrology: These sites have moderate to high fertility and moisture retention. Soils can be quite variable, ranging from coarse to loamy in surface texture. Soils are not saturated for any significant time during the growing season and seldom, if ever, are extremely dry. Soils developed from calcareous materials or rich alluvium may be basic; others are strongly acidic. Bluffs in southern Mississippi generally have loess soil, which is fine-textured. Richer and more mesic stands occur in more strongly concave and finer-textured areas.
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.
C.W. Nordman      Version Date: 12May2015

  • Ajilvsgi, G. 1979. Wild flowers of the Big Thicket, east Texas, and western Louisiana. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, TX.
  • Batista, W. B., and W. J. Platt. 1997. An old-growth definition for southern mixed hardwood forests. General Technical Report SRS-9. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC. 11 pp.
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.
  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • Delcourt, H. R., and P. A. Delcourt. 1975. The blufflands: Pleistocene pathway into the Tunica Hills. The American Midland Naturalist 94:385-400.
  • EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. 2004. Level III and IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, Corvallis, OR. Scale 1:2,000,000.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, S. Gawler, M. Hall, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, L. Sneddon, K. Schulz, J. Teague, M. Russo, K. Snow, and P. Comer, editors. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1990. Guide to the natural communities of Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory and Florida Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee. 111 pp.
  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.
  • Kossuth, S. V., and J. L. Michael. 1990. Pinus glabra Walt., spruce pine. Pages 355-358 in: R. M. Burns and B. H. Honkala, editors. Silvics of North America. Volume 1, Conifers. USDA Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook 654, Washington, DC.
  • Marks, P. L., and P. A. Harcombe. 1981. Forest vegetation of the Big Thicket, southeast Texas. Ecological Monographs 51:287-305.
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • Outcalt, K. W. 1990. Magnolia grandiflora L., southern magnolia. Pages 445-448 in: R. M. Burns and B. H. Honkala, editors. Silvics of North America. Volume 2, Hardwoods. USDA Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook 654, Washington, DC.
  • Quarterman, E., and C. Keever. 1962. Southern mixed hardwood forests: Climax in the southeastern Coastal Plain, USA. Ecological Monographs 32:167-185.
  • Ware, S., C. C. Frost, and P. D. Doerr. 1993. Southern mixed hardwood forest: The former longleaf pine forest. Pages 447-493 in: W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. Biotic communities of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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 Group 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)

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 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. []

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber-
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (
The work of E.L. Braun, E. Quarterman and C. Keever provided a foundation for the better understanding of these diverse southern upland hardwood forests.