Invalid Unit Specified
M159 Pinus strobus - Pinus banksiana - Quercus ellipsoidalis Forest & Woodland Macrogroup

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: These Laurentian-Acadian pine-oak forests have closed to open canopies dominated by pines (Pinus banksiana, Pinus resinosa, Pinus strobus) with a mix of oak species (Quercus ellipsoidalis, Quercus rubra) and other hardwoods, over an often heathy shrub layer. Sites typically occur on sandplains, outwash habitats, and coarse glacial deposits of sandy or loamy soils with dry to dry-mesic moisture conditions and occasional to frequent fires.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Eastern White Pine - Jack Pine - Northern Pin Oak Forest & Woodland Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Laurentian-Acadian Pine - Hardwood Forest & Woodland
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: Stands of this Laurentian-Acadian macrogroup consist of a pine or oak overstory forming an open, patchy or continuous canopy with a variable understory. A combination of Pinus strobus, Pinus banksiana, Pinus resinosa, and (less commonly) Picea mariana are typical diagnostic overstory species. Common associates include the oaks Quercus ellipsoidalis and Quercus rubra along with a mix of other hardwoods, such as Acer rubrum, Betula papyrifera, Populus grandidentata, Populus tremuloides, Thuja occidentalis, and, less commonly, Juniperus virginiana which may dominate some examples on limestone habitats. The richness of the herbaceous layer is variable, but is typically moderately poor in closed-canopy stands and poor to rich in open stands. Stands may have a dominant cover of feathermosses and lichens. Corylus cornuta and Corylus americana are common tall shrubs; common low shrubs include Vaccinium angustifolium and Vaccinium myrtilloides. This macrogroup occurs from western Minnesota to the northern and western Great Lakes region, and into the northeastern United States, and possibly southeastern Canada. It occurs primarily on sandplains, outwash habitats, and coarse glacial deposits of sandy or loamy soils. Some examples occur on thin-soil limestone habitats such as bluffs adjacent to lakes, cliffs or talus and colluvial slopes. Fire is an important disturbance. Logging and forest management impact this macrogroup across its range.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Open to closed (10 to >80%) canopy cover typical of forests and pine barrens in the northern Midwest and Northeast U.S. (and possibly southeastern Canada), and dominated by pine species, in particular Pinus strobus, Pinus banksiana (mostly in the Great Lakes), Pinus resinosa, and (less commonly) Picea mariana. Hardwoods such as Populus tremuloides, Quercus ellipsoidalis, and Quercus rubra are common associates. Shrub layer often contains a heath component. Thuja occidentalis, Pinus banksiana, and Larix laricina are diagnostic in limestone woodlands.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features: Pinus banksiana is only diagnostic in the upper Great Lakes part of the range, and is absent or rare in the eastern part.
Classification Comments: Overall composition of the macrogroup now includes all dry and dry-mesic pine-oak forests to open woodlands throughout the Laurentian-Acadian region, but it is unclear whether this macrogroup occurs in Canada; or, if so, whether it will be recognized as a distinct macrogroup, as the CNVC could treat these as edaphic expressions within Laurentian-Acadian Mesic Hardwood - Conifer Forest Macrogroup (M014). Two "subboreal" groups (G347 and G047, respectively) occur in this macrogroup; they have sufficient temperate influence to separate them from the core boreal forest types.
Similar NVC Types:
M014 Laurentian-Acadian Mesic Hardwood - Conifer Forest, note: "occurs on more mesic soils and is dominated by conifers such as Abies balsamea, Picea spp., and Tsuga canadensis and mesic hardwood species such as Acer saccharum and Betula alleghaniensis."
M012 Central Midwest Oak Forest, Woodland & Savanna, note:
M495 Eastern North American Boreal Forest, note: represents the main boreal forest that occurs to the north of this macrogroup in Canada.
Physiognomy and Structure: These sites range from closed-canopy conifer or conifer-hardwood forests to open woodlands and barrens ranging from >80% cover to as little as 10% cover. Shrub, herb, and nonvascular plants vary in cover but are limited by needle condition, dry conditions, and exposed bedrock. Fire suppression can lead to increased cover in barrens and woodland sites.
Floristics: Pinus strobus and Pinus resinosa are diagnostic overstory species. In the northwestern Great Lakes portion of the range, Pinus banksiana and Picea mariana can be dominant in dry forest and woodland sites. In dry-mesic northern forests, Picea mariana, Picea glauca, Picea rubens, and/or Abies balsamea can occur in the canopy. Quercus rubra or Quercus ellipsoidalis are common oak hardwood associates. Early-successional hardwoods such as Acer rubrum, Betula papyrifera, Populus grandidentata, and Populus tremuloides are often present and may codominate with the conifers and oaks in some stands. In limestone woodlands, the most abundant trees are Thuja occidentalis and Pinus banksiana with Larix laricina as a common associate. The understory ranges from moderate cover to extremely poor. Common tall shrubs include Amelanchier spp. and Corylus cornuta. Dwarf-shrubs can be very common, especially where gaps in the canopy occur in more closed-canopy examples and within barrens and woodland sites. Common species include ericaceous species such as Gaultheria procumbens, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Vaccinium myrtilloides. Less commonly Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda and Juniperus horizontalis occur on enriched sites. In closed-canopy sites with a moderate herb layer, common species include Aralia nudicaulis, Chimaphila umbellata, Cornus canadensis, Epigaea repens, Eurybia macrophylla, Maianthemum canadense, Oryzopsis asperifolia, Pteridium aquilinum, and Trientalis borealis. The predominant moss species are Dicranum spp. and Pleurozium schreberi. Characteristic herbs in Great Lakes barrens are dominated by grasses and sedges, including Andropogon gerardii, Apocynum androsaemifolium, Carex pensylvanica, and Schizachyrium scoparium. Grasses and sedges such as Carex eburnea, Carex richardsonii, Carex scirpoidea, Clinopodium arkansanum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Sporobolus heterolepis also dominate the herbaceous layer in limestone woodlands.
Dynamics: Fire is an important natural disturbance, including occasional catastrophic and crown fires, which allow the regeneration of pines on these sites. A combination of surface fires every 20-30 years and severe crown fires every 100-150 years maintained presettlement Pinus spp. communities (Heinselman 1973, Whitney 1986, Frelich 1992). Logging and subsequent fires are also predominant in some examples of this type and may result in open bracken grasslands (Curtis 1959).
Environmental Description: This macrogroup occurs in a cool north temperate to sub-boreal climate on glaciated landscapes such as outwash plains, glacial lakeplains and river terraces. Substrates include sand and gravel deposits on flats, such as outwash sands, delta sands, eskers, kames, kame terraces, and dry lake sands. Sites occur on dry to dry-mesic thin to deep mineral soils ranging from dry sands to dry-mesic loams. Some sites can occur on rocky or bedrock soils (Curtis 1959).
Geographic Range: This macrogroup is found within the northern temperate (Laurentian-Acadian) areas of the U.S. and Canada. It ranges from western Minnesota into the northeastern United States and south-central and southeastern Canada. The more sub-boreal examples extend into northeastern Minnesota and northern New England, and may occur into southeastern Canada.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces: CT, DE, MA, MB?, MD, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NS?, NY, OH, ON?, PA, QC?, RI, VT, WI
US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name: Northeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 211    Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Wisconsin Central Sands Section
Section Code: 222R     Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions:
Plot Analysis Summary:
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
Concept Lineage:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: > Northern dry forest (Curtis 1959)
> Northern dry-mesic forest (Curtis 1959)
= Northern forest - xeric (Curtis 1959)
Concept Author(s): J.T. Curtis (1959)
Author of Description: S. Menard, S. Gawler, and D. Faber-Langendoen
Version Date: 21May2015
  • Comer, P. J., D. A. Albert, and M. Austin (cartography). 1998. Vegetation of Michigan circa 1800: An interpretation of the General Land Office Surveys 1816-1856. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 2-map set, scale: 1:500,000.
  • Comer, P. J., D. A. Albert, H. A. Wells, B. L. Hart, J. B. Raab, D. L. Price, D. M. Kashian, R. A. Corner, and D. W. Schuen. 1995a. Michigan's native landscape, as interpreted from the General Land Office Surveys 1816-1856. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 78 pp. plus digital map.
  • Curtis, J. T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin: An ordination of plant communities. Reprinted in 1987. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 657 pp.
  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
  • 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]
  • Frelich, L. E. 1992. The relationship of natural disturbances to white pine stand development. Presented at the White Pine Symposium: History, Ecology, Policy and Management, Duluth, MN. September 16-18, 1992.
  • Heinselman, M. L. 1973. Fire in the virgin forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota. Journal of Quaternary Research 3:329-382.
  • Minnesota DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources]. 2003. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.
  • Whitney, G. G. 1986. Relation of Michigan's presettlement pine forests to substrate and disturbance history. Ecology 67(6):1548-1559.