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F018 Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland Formation

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland is dominated by broad-leaved evergreen trees, sometimes with dwarfed stems and small, sclerophyllous leaves (in Mediterranean climates), or various combinations of broad-leaved deciduous, broad-leaved evergreen and needle-leaved evergreen conifer trees. Winters are mild (mostly frost-free) and may be the rainiest season, springs are temperate-humid, summers are hot-dry, and autumn is often dry.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland Formation
Colloquial Name: Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland
Hierarchy Level: Formation
Type Concept: Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland is found in North America (Mediterranean Basin and Mediterranean of California, the warm, dry interior of Great Basin and Madrean regions, and warm-temperate regions of the Southeastern Coastal Plain), Chile, South Africa, Australia, India and Southeast Asia. The climate is mild with mostly frost-free and often rainy winters, temperate-humid springs, and hot-dry summers. The vegetation varies from (a) dominance by broad-leaved evergreen trees, sometimes with dwarfed stems, and microphyll to small mesophyll leaves, with varying levels of sclerophylly (Mediterranean) to (b) various combinations of broad-leaved deciduous, broad-leaved evergreen or needle-leaved evergreen conifer trees. Natural disturbances include wind and fire.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Broad-leaved evergreen trees, sometimes with dwarfed stems, microphyll to small mesophyll leaves, sclerophyllous (Mediterranean); or various combinations of broad-leaved deciduous, broad-leaved evergreen or needle-leaved evergreen conifer trees. Mild (mostly frost-free) winter, temperate humid spring, hot-dry summer, and mild, often dry autumn seasons. Rainy season in winter and dry summers (Mediterranean).
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: The warm-temperate Mediterranean regions around the world typically contain both the classic Mediterranean scrub (2.B.1. Mediterranean Scrub & Grassland Formation (F038)), and the forests and woodlands included here. Cool-temperate and warm-temperate forests may be difficult to distinguish, but cool-temperate forests are more strongly dominated by broad-leaved deciduous trees, and broad-leaved evergreen trees are essentially absent. Braun (1950) includes at least parts of these warm-temperate forests in her "Deciduous Forest Formation" (the "Southeastern Evergreen Forest Region"), but briefly notes a "Subtropical Broad-leaved Evergreen Forest" that includes central Florida southward.

Various ecoregional treatments recognize the distinct vegetation and climate of the warm-temperate region, e.g., Brown et al. (1998) separates cool-temperate from warm-temperate vegetation. Walter (1985) recognizes two warm-temperate biomes, the "Zonobiome of the Winter-Rain Region with an Arid-Humid Climate and Sclerophyllic Woodlands" (Zone IV) and the "Zonobiome of the Warm-Temperate Humid Climate" (Zone V), distinct from the cool-temperate biome "Zonobiome of the Temperate-Nemoral Climate" (Zone VI) and the boreal biome "Zonobiome of the Cold-Temperate Boreal Climate" (Zone VIII). Similarly, Schultz (1995) recognizes the two warm-temperate regions, which he refers to as: "Mediterranean-Type subtropics" (with world distribution shown in his Figure 129) and "Humid subtropics" (with world distribution shown in his Figure 171). We prefer the term warm-temperate to subtropics. Schultz states that "apart from the driest sites and those with lowest nutrient contents, all the regions of the Mediterranean-Type subtropics were originally covered by forests of mostly evergreen sclerophyllous species of trees" and in the European Mediterranean region, these were mostly evergreen oak, such as Quercus ilex. Today, many of these regions are more typically dominated by sclerophyllous shrub formations, as described in 2.B.1 Mediterranean Scrub & Grassland Formation (F038).
Similar NVC Types:
F008 Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland, note: More strongly dominated by broad-leaved deciduous trees; broad-leaved evergreen trees essentially absent. Frost regularly occurs, with snow common in the northern parts of the regions.
F012 Temperate Grassland & Shrubland, note: Open woodlands or tree savannas, with grassy or shrubby understories, and with trees 10% cover or more are placed in 1.B.1 ~Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland Formation (F018)$$,but may have strong floristic similarities to grasslands.
F026 Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest, note: 1.B.1 ~Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland Formation (F018)$$ typically contains well-drained soils and lacks any aquatic vegetation, peat or muck layer.
F003 Tropical Dry Forest & Woodland, note: Broad-leaved evergreen trees may be common in 1.B.1 ~Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland Formation (F018)$$, comparable to 1.A.1 ~Tropical Dry Forest & Woodland Formation (F003)$$ (i.e., evergreen leaves are typically small), but deciduousness in Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland is caused by frost, and types are found north or south of 23°N and S latitude.
F038 Mediterranean Scrub & Grassland, note: The vegetation is more commonly scrub-shrub, typically sclerophyllous, or with open (sometimes annual-dominated) grasslands and forb meadows. Combinations of dwarf scrubby trees <2 m tall with low shrubs may grade into Warm Temperate Forest.
Physiognomy and Structure: The vegetation varies from (a) dominance by broad-leaved evergreen trees, sometimes with dwarfed stems, and microphyll to small mesophyll leaves, with varying levels of sclerophylly (Mediterranean) to (b) various combinations of broad-leaved deciduous, broad-leaved evergreen or needle-leaved evergreen conifer trees. Natural disturbances include wind and fire.
Floristics:
Dynamics: No Data Available
Environmental Description: Climate: Freezing temperatures of short duration are expected, generally occurring every year during winter months. The potential growing season is more than 200 days with less than an average of 150 days a year subject to temperatures below 0°C or chilling fog (Brown et al. 1998). Spring is mild, summers are hot-dry, and autumns are mild and often dry. Rainy season in winter is most strong in Mediterranean climates. Average annual precipitation varies from 25 to 100 cm (10-40 inches).

Soil/substrate/hydrology: Soils are often strongly weathered. Soils are various, with Ultisols and Alfisols most common, and productive, but in some regions the soils are worn by thousands of years of human use (Soil Survey Staff 1999) [see Brady and Weil (2002) for comparison of U.S. soil orders with Canadian and FAO systems].
Geographic Range: Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland is found in the Mediterranean Basin and Mediterranean and warm-temperate regions in North America (California, Southeastern Coastal Plain), Chile, South Africa, Australia, India and Southeast Asia.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces:
Omernik Ecoregions:
Plot Analysis Summary:
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
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.1 Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland F018 1.B.1
Division 1.B.1.Nd Madrean-Balconian Forest & Woodland D060 1.B.1.Nd
Division 1.B.1.Nc Californian Forest & Woodland D007 1.B.1.Nc
Division 1.B.1.Na Southeastern North American Forest & Woodland D006 1.B.1.Na
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: = Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (Brown et al. 1998)
Concept Author(s): Hierarchy Revisions Working Group, Federal Geographic Data Committee (Faber-Langendoen et al. 2014)
Author of Description: D. Faber-Langendoen
Acknowledgements:
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.
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.
  • 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.
  • Schultz, J. 1995. The ecozones of the world. Springer-Verlag, New York.
  • Soil Survey Staff. 1999. Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. Second edition. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington, DC.
  • Walter, H., translated by O. Muise. 1985. Vegetation of the Earth and ecological systems of the geo-biosphere. Third edition. Springer-Verlag, New York. 149 pp.