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M013 Robinia pseudoacacia - Liriodendron tulipifera - Acer platanoides Ruderal Forest Macrogroup

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: This ruderal forest macrogroup is found in eastern temperate North America, and shows evidence of former and heavy human disturbance, including to the soil, and contains a disparate mix of exotic and generalist native tree, shrub and herb species.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Black Locust - Tuliptree - Norway Maple Ruderal Forest Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Eastern North American Ruderal Forest
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: This ruderal forest macrogroup is found in eastern temperate North America, and shows evidence of former and heavy human disturbance, such as through plowing, grading, skidding, etc., followed by plantings, but has been allowed to succeed more-or-less spontaneously. The tree layer is dominated (>80% cover) by "weedy" or generalist native tree species, or exotic invasive tree species. The list of ruderal tree species are as follows: Conifers: Juniperus ashei, Juniperus virginiana, Pinus rigida, Pinus strobus, Pinus virginiana. Hardwoods: Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Amelanchier spp., Betula populifolia, Crataegus spp., Crataegus crus-galli, Crataegus mollis, Diospyros virginiana, Fraxinus americana, Gleditsia triacanthos, Gymnocladus dioicus, Juglans nigra, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Malus fusca, Morus rubra, Populus tremuloides, Prunus pensylvanica, and Prunus serotina. Naturalized exotics include the conifer Pinus thunbergii and hardwoods Acer platanoides, Ailanthus altissima, Catalpa bignonioides, Malus spp., Morus alba, Paulownia tomentosa, and Robinia pseudoacacia (although a native in the central hardwoods region, it is so widely planted outside of its range that it is essentially exotic in character). Common conifer planted tree species in old or abandoned plantations include Larix decidua, Picea abies, Picea glauca, Pinus banksiana, Pinus resinosa, Pinus strobus, Pinus sylvestris, and Pinus virginiana. In these stands, trees may still show evidence of being planted in rows and be of uniform age. Regeneration of tree species in abandoned plantations rarely consists of the current overstory. Understory shrub and herb species can be sparse in old conifer plantations, and typically are native generalists or exotics. Understory shrub and herb species in all stands vary from exotic invasives to native generalists. Invasive shrub species include a variety of honeysuckles (Lonicera japonica, Lonicera morrowii, Lonicera tatarica, Lonicera x bella), Rhamnus cathartica, and others.
Diagnostic Characteristics: A specified list of ruderal or generalist native species [see Floristics] form mono-dominant stands and typically have associated shrub and herb layers that contain generalist native or exotic species. The ruderal natives or exotics are >80% (90%?) of the canopy. The vegetation may also show evidence of former and heavy human use as planted vegetation, as evidenced by trees being planted in rows, and dominant trees may be a monoculture or mix of native and exotic species, most often conifers, that may have high commercial value for pulp or lumber.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features: Tree species chosen to name the type are typical generalist native or exotic tree species, but are not dominant in every stand. An exotic tree species was chosen to illustrate the non-native component that is typical of the overall composition of these stands, but it is not found in all stands. Separation of native-dominated and exotic-dominated canopies occurs at the group level.
Classification Comments: Species that typify the ruderal forest category include those that are able to establish on disturbed sites, especially when the disturbance includes soil alternation, such as plowing, landfills, graded sites, etc. Ruderal species traits include shade intolerance, wind dispersal, and high reproductive capacity. More information on the characteristic dominant trees is needed to distinguish the groups in this macrogroup from Southeastern Native Ruderal Forest Group (G031) in Southeastern North American Ruderal Forest Macrogroup (M305). Species more typical of that group include Carya illinoinensis, Catalpa spp. (including Catalpa bignonioides, Catalpa speciosa), or Maclura pomifera.

Forest plantation stands (tracked in 7. Agricultural & Developed Vegetation Cultural Class (CCL01) could become ruderal forests, if not intensively managed, the planted trees begin to die out, and the ground layer is invaded by native species.
Similar NVC Types:
M305 Southeastern North American Ruderal Forest, note:
M123 Eastern North American Ruderal Grassland & Shrubland, note: "is an earlier stage of this type with dominance by shrub and herb vegetation, typically found on abandoned agricultural fields."
Physiognomy and Structure: The forests often form mono-dominant or mixed-dominance stands. Trees may still show evidence of being planted rows and be of uniform age. Regeneration of tree species, if present at all, rarely consists of the current overstory. Understory shrub and herb species can be sparse in old conifer plantations.
Floristics: The tree layer is dominated (>80% cover) by ruderal or generalist native tree species, or exotic/invasive tree species. The list of ruderal tree species are as follows: Conifers: Juniperus ashei, Juniperus virginiana, Pinus rigida, Pinus strobus, Pinus virginiana. Hardwoods: Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Amelanchier spp., Betula populifolia, Crataegus spp., Crataegus crus-galli, Crataegus mollis, Diospyros virginiana, Fraxinus americana, Gleditsia triacanthos, Gymnocladus dioicus, Juglans nigra, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Morus spp., Malus fusca, Morus rubra, Populus tremuloides, Prunus pensylvanica, and Prunus serotina. Naturalized exotics include the conifer Pinus thunbergii and hardwoods Acer platanoides, Ailanthus altissima, Catalpa bignonioides (exotic in Canada), Morus alba, Paulownia tomentosa, and Robinia pseudoacacia (although a native in the central hardwoods region, it is so widely planted outside of its range that it is essentially exotic in character). Both the ruderal natives and naturalized exotic species often form mono-dominant or mixed-dominance stands. Common conifer planted tree species in old or abandoned plantations include Larix decidua, Picea abies, Picea glauca, Pinus banksiana, Pinus resinosa, Pinus strobus, Pinus sylvestris, and Pinus virginiana. A variety of old hardwood planted species may also occur, including Prunus serotina, Juglans nigra, Populus spp., and Robinia pseudoacacia. Understory shrub and herb species in all stands vary from exotic invasives to native generalists. Invasive shrub species include a variety of honeysuckles (Lonicera japonica, Lonicera morrowii, Lonicera tatarica, Lonicera x bella), Rhamnus cathartica, and others.
Dynamics: Stands are a later stage in the development of vegetation on sites that were heavily disturbed by humans, including plowing, grading, skidding, etc. Earlier stages of vegetation on abandoned agricultural sites include old fields dominated by annual and perennial weeds, grasses and shrubs, as described by ~Eastern North American Ruderal Grassland & Shrubland Macrogroup (M123)$$. Sometimes these later stages are facilitated by planting trees. Because the extensive soil disturbances typically lead to a mix of weedy native and exotic shrub and herb species, the stands take on a strongly ruderal composition, even if native trees invade or are planted. Canopy cover may be as low as 10%, but eventually stands may have more-or-less continuous canopy, leading to a shift to a more shade-tolerant ground layer. Succession of old fields to ruderal forests has been well-documented. Wright and Fridley (2010) recently showed that there are biogeographic and latitudinal patterns to the development of these forests. Further information on the dynamics of this type can be found in the many references provided by them.

Stands may also originate from abandoned forest plantation stands (tracked in 7. ~Agricultural & Developed Vegetation Cultural Class (CCL01)$$). The planted trees begin to die out, and the ground layer is invaded by native species.

There may be a range of responses of forests to various human and natural disturbances (Foster 2000). The ruderal forests described here have a current combination of characteristics that show a strong deviation from the native forests that historically occupied the site and which persist today (Singleton et al. 2001, Bellemare et al. 2002). For example, Bellemare et al. (2002) compared primary rich mesic forests (logged, but never cleared) with secondary forests that established on former agricultural lands in western Massachusetts. They found that species with seeds lacking morphological adaptations for dispersal (barochores) (e.g., Cardamine diphylla, Tiarella cordifolia), those with adaptations for ant dispersal (myrmecochores) (e.g., Asarum canadense, Claytonia caroliniana) or strictly clonal (Cardamine maxima) are common in primary forest, but are less frequent or absent in nineteenth and twentieth century secondary stands. In contrast, species with fruits consumed and dispersed by vertebrates (endozoochores) or dispersed by the wind (anemochores) and which are common in primary forest (e.g., Arisaema triphyllum, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Eurybia divaricata, Polystichum acrostichoides) have colonized many secondary stands, often within a few decades of stand initiation. Where invasive tree, shrub or herb species have not established (as appears to be the case for their study), these secondary stands may recover enough diagnostic species to be classified as depauperate examples of rich mesic forest. But if their composition is predominantly ruderal native and invasive species, they would be classified as this macrogroup.
Environmental Description: Sites show evidence of former and heavy human use, particularly with extensive and intensive soil disturbances, including plowing, grading, skidding, etc. Sites include uplands and marginally wet sites that have been altered by logging, clearing for agriculture or other activities.
Geographic Range: This macrogroup is found across much of the northeastern temperate region of the United States and Canada, west to the Great Lakes and Tallgrass Prairie region and south to the south-central United States.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces: CT, DC, DE, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MB?, ME, MI, MN, MO, NB, NC?, ND, NE, NF, NH, NS, NY, OH, ON, PA, PE, QC, RI, SC?, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV
US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)
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Plot Analysis Summary:
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNA
Greasons:
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 M013 Eastern North American Ruderal Forest M013 1.B.2.Na.90
Group G030 Eastern North American Native Ruderal Forest G030 1.B.2.Na.90.a
Group G032 Eastern North American Exotic Ruderal Forest G032 1.B.2.Na.90.b
Concept Lineage:
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Concept Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen and S. Menard (2006)
Author of Description: D. Faber-Langendoen and S. Franklin
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 15Oct2014
References:
  • Bellemare, J., G. Motzkin, and D. R. Foster. 2002. Legacies of the agricultural past in the forested present: An assessment of historical land-use effects on rich mesic forests. Journal of Biogeography 29:1401-1420.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., and S. Menard. 2006. A key to eastern forests of the United States: Macrogroups, groups, and alliances. September 15, 2006. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • 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. 2010-2019a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • Foster, D. 2000. From bobolinks to bears: Interjecting geographical history into ecological studies, environmental interpretation, and conservation planning. Journal of Biogeography 27:27-30.
  • Singleton, R., S. Gardescu, P. L. Marks, and M. A. Geber. 2001. Forest herb colonization of postagricultural forests in central New York State, USA. Journal of Ecology 89:325-338.
  • Wright, J. P., and J. D. Fridley. 2010. Biogeographic synthesis of secondary succession rates in eastern North America. Journal of Biogeography 37:1584-1596.