Invalid Unit Specified
Formation Detail Report: F036
Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest Formation

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest is a tree-dominated wetland influenced by minerotrophic groundwater (rarely ombrotrophic), either on mineral or organic (peat) soil, found in northern, high latitudes of North America and Eurasia, with extended cold winters and short mild summers.
Collapse All::Expand All
Translated Name:Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest Formation
Colloquial Name:Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest is a forested wetland and peatland. These swamps are defined as tree-dominated wetlands in a boreal climate that are influenced by minerotrophic groundwater, either on mineral or organic (peat) soils; less commonly, they occur in transitional floodplain habitats. The vegetation is generally dominated by over 10% cover by tall woody, mostly needle-leaved trees and the wood-rich (less commonly sphagnum-rich) peat that this vegetation lays down. The water table is below the major portion of the ground surface, and the dominant ground surface is at the hummock, that is, 20 cm or more above the average summer groundwater level. It is the aerated (or partly aerated) zone of substrates above the water that is available for root growth of trees and/or tall shrubs. The nutrient regime in swamps is highly variable, ranging from base-rich conditions with pH above 7.0 (very rare), to base-poor conditions where pH can be in the range of 4.5 or lower. Various swamp forms may be recognized, based on the base-rich/pH gradient, i.e., calcareous-rich (eutrophic), intermediate (mesotrophic), and poor (oligotrophic to ombrotrophic).
Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest is defined as a tree-dominated wetland in a boreal climate that is influenced by minerotrophic groundwater, either on mineral or organic (peat) soils; less commonly, they occur in transitional floodplain habitats. The vegetation is dominated by >10% cover from needle-leaved trees and the wood-rich (less commonly sphagnum-rich) peat that this vegetation lays down.
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.5 Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest F036 1.B.5
Division 1.B.5.Na North American Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest D016 1.B.5.Na
Subarctic and arctic (polar) flooded and swamp forests, including willow swamps (though these may not exceed 2 m), belong in this formation. Forested bogs and fens (>10% canopy) are also included here.
Synonomy: = Boreal Swamp and Riparian Forest (Brown et al. 1998)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Brady and Weil 2002
  • Brandt 2009
  • Brown et al. 1998
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2015c
  • National Wetlands Working Group 1997
States/Provinces:
Nations:CA, US
Range:Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest is found in North America, from Greenland to Newfoundland and across northern Canada into Alaska, and in Eurasia throughout most of Scandinavia and Russia, and parts of China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia (Brandt 2009). It is absent from the Southern Hemisphere.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:
Province Code:   Occurrence Status:
Section Name:
Section Code:     Occurrence Status:
Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest is a forested or wooded wetland and peatland. These swamps are defined as tree-dominated wetlands that are influenced by minerotrophic groundwater, either on mineral or organic soils. The vegetation is dominated by >10% cover by mostly needle-leaved trees and the wood-rich peat that this vegetation lays down; less commonly, they occur in transitional floodplain habitats (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).

There are two general physiognomic variants of boreal swamps: coniferous (needle-leaved) swamps and hardwood (broad-leaved deciduous) swamps. Mixtures of the above can also be described. The understory contains shade-tolerant forest species. Generally in boreal regions, deciduous hardwoods occur in somewhat richer conditions and the deciduous swamps in drier wetland locations. Coniferous swamps occur across a wider range of trophic levels from rich to poor (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).
Soil/substrate/hydrology: The water table is below most of the ground surface, and the dominant ground surface is at the hummock, that is, 20 cm or more above the average summer groundwater level. It is the aerated (or partly aerated) zone of substrates above the water that is available for root growth of trees and/or tall shrubs. Boreal swamps are not as wet as marshes, fens, and the open bogs. The drier treed swamps grade into upland forest on mineral soil, and the wettest treed swamps include tree fen, which is wetter with less tree canopy cover. Tree bogs can form on raised bogs, where the sphagnum mat may be relatively dry (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).

Boreal Flooded & Swamp Forest occurs on mineral soils as well as on peat. In the boreal region, the texture of underlying mineral soils is variable, ranging from clays to sands, and they frequently are Gleysols. On sands, iron-rich ortsteins or fragipans are often present, acting as impermeable layers that impede water drainage. Swamps on mineral soils tend to accumulate peat by the paludification process. When organic soils develop, they are Histosols (U.S. system) or Mesisols or Humisols (Canadian system) that are rich in woody peat, at least in the surface layers [see Brady and Weil 2002 for comparison of U.S. soil orders with Canadian and FAO systems]. Swamps on peat have developed by a basin-filling process or by paludification of previously drier mineral soils. In the basin-filling process, the previous ecosystem was a marsh or open fen, whereas in paludification, the swamp has developed over an older, dry upland forest on mineral soil (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).

The nutrient regime in swamps is highly variable, ranging from base-rich conditions with pH above 7.0, to base-poor conditions where pH can be in the range of 4.5 or lower. Swamp forms may be recognized based on the base-rich/pH gradient, i.e., calcareous-rich (eutrophic), intermediate (mesotrophic), and poor (oligotrophic to ombrotrophic) (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).

There are two general physiognomic variants of Boreal Swamp & Flooded Forest: coniferous (needle-leaved) swamps and hardwood (broad-leaved deciduous) swamps. Mixtures of the above can also be described. The understory contains shade-tolerant forest species. Generally in boreal regions, deciduous hardwood swamps occur in somewhat richer conditions, giving way to shrub swamps and marshes as conditions get wetter. Coniferous swamps occur across a wider range of trophic levels from rich to poor (National Wetlands Working Group 1997).
Moderate
No Data Available
Authors:
D. Faber-Langendoen, after National Wetlands Working Group (1997)      Version Date: 17Oct2014


References:
  • Brady, N. C., and R. R. Weil. 2002. The nature and properties of soils. Thirteenth edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Brandt, J. P. 2009. The extent of the North American boreal zone. Environmental Review 17:101-161.
  • Brown, D. E., F. Reichenbacher, and S. E. Franson. 1998. A classification of North American biotic communities. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 141 pp.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, C. Josse, A. Weakley, D. Tart, G. Navarro, B. Hoagland, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, G. Fults, and E. Helmer. 2015c. Classification and description of world formation types. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-000. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO.
  • National Wetlands Working Group. 1997. Wetlands of Canada. C. D. A. Rubec, editor. Ecological Land Classification Series No. 24. Environment Canada, Ottawa, and Polyscience Publications, Inc., Montreal. 452 pp.


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 Formation 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)

Disclaimer:
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 USNVC.org 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. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)
Ken Baldwin