Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Red Maple - Tuliptree - Sugarberry Ruderal Flooded & Swamp Forest Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Southeastern North American Ruderal Flooded & Swamp Forest
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: This forest macrogroup represents vegetation growing on bottomland, riparian, and other wetland sites which have been subjected to anthropogenic disturbance and are dominated by trees which are characteristic of disturbed wetland sites and altered flooding regimes, such as Acer rubrum, Celtis laevigata, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, Pinus taeda, and Quercus nigra. Also included are sites which may not have been subject to anthropogenic disturbance but have become dominated by invasive exotic trees or tall shrubs which are prolific seed-producers, such as Ligustrum sinense, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Schinus terebinthifolius, and Triadica sebifera. Some of these forests, whether composed of exotic or native generalist trees, also have an exotic plant-dominated field (herb) stratum. Managed tree plantations in wetland sites are not included here, for instance of Pinus elliottii var. elliottii or Pinus taeda. However, if these planted wetland stands are not managed and take on a more spontaneous, irregular structure and composition, such as becoming mixed with broad-leaved deciduous trees, they may be included here. The disturbances and resulting composition of these ruderal forests are typically distinct from native wetland forests subject to natural disturbances such as flooding, tornados, and hurricanes. This macrogroup is found in warm temperate areas in the south-central and southeastern United States, from New Jersey to Florida, and west to Arkansas and Texas.
Diagnostic Characteristics: These are ruderal wetland forests that are shaped by strong anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., clearcut, drained, plowed, abandoned and reflooded lands) found in the south-central and southeastern United States. Acer rubrum, Celtis laevigata, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus taeda, and Pinus elliottii var. elliottii are typical codominant trees, but the macrogroup is floristically variable and lacks diagnostic tree species which can be used for all sites. Also included here are ruderal riparian woodlands of the Edwards Plateau, dominated by Prosopis glandulosa and Ulmus crassifolia, but which floristically have broad southeastern affinities. Some ruderal wetland stands are dominated by invasive exotic trees or tall shrubs, such as Ligustrum sinense, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Schinus terebinthifolius, and Triadica sebifera.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features: The nominal tree species are typical of this macrogroup in much of the southeast region. One or more of these nominal tree species will dominate ruderal wetland forests. They are typical of disturbed, successional, ruderal wetland forests. Celtis laevigata is more common in ruderal floodplains and riparian areas of the Edwards Plateau of Texas. On the Florida peninsula and along the Gulf coast, forests dominated by Triadica sebifera and other exotic trees are more common.
Classification Comments: Altered flooding regimes, high cover or dominance by invasive exotic trees, or high cover of native successional wetland trees following anthropogenic forest disturbances are characteristic of these ruderal forests. Similar NVC types include floristically similar but not ruderal forest vegetation found in wetlands of the south-central and southeastern United States. This macrogroup concept may be original; a literature review is needed to confirm this and further literature review is needed for developing the synonymy.
Similar NVC Types:
M031 Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest, note: "is a natural floodplain forest, not ruderal."
M032 Southern Coastal Plain Evergreen Hardwood - Conifer Swamp, note: "is natural, not ruderal."
M033 Southern Coastal Plain Basin Swamp & Flatwoods, note: "is natural basin swamp, mostly with Nyssa biflora and Quercus phellos."
M154 Southern Great Plains Floodplain Forest & Woodland, note: is natural riparian woodland of the Edwards Plateau.
M161 Pond-cypress Basin Swamp, note: is natural Taxodium ascendens dome swamp.
Physiognomy and Structure: Usually these forests are of mixed broad-leaved deciduous and needle-leaved evergreen physiognomy.
Floristics: These ruderal forests are variably dominated by trees which are characteristic of disturbed wetland sites, including Acer rubrum, Celtis laevigata, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, and Pinus taeda. Thus, these forests may be mixed complexes or strongly dominated by a single species. Included here are ruderal riparian woodlands of the Edwards Plateau, dominated by Prosopis glandulosa and Ulmus crassifolia, but which floristically have broad southeastern affinities, with Carya illinoinensis, Celtis laevigata, Maclura pomifera, Sapindus saponaria, and Sideroxylon lanuginosum. Also included are sites which have become dominated by invasive exotic trees which are prolific seed-producers, such as Ligustrum sinense, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Schinus terebinthifolius, and Triadica sebifera. These invasive exotic trees can increase following natural disturbances such as hurricanes, tornados, and wildfire. Triadica sebifera, Schinus terebinthifolius, and Ligustrum sinense have seeds which are dispersed by birds, and can germinate far from the parent plants. Some of these forests, whether composed of exotic or native generalist trees, also have an exotic plant-dominated field (herb) stratum. Some exotic graminoid plants are Cynodon dactylon, Cyperus entrerianus, Echinochloa crus-galli, Microstegium vimineum, and Paspalum notatum. Exotic forbs include Alliaria petiolata, Alternanthera philoxeroides, and others. The exotic vine Lonicera japonica is common in the field (herb) stratum, and climbing on trees and shrubs.
Dynamics: These forests are prone to the same natural disturbances typical of wetlands in the southern United States: flooding (which may be severe), tornados, hurricanes, drought, and in some instances wildland fire (such as during drought conditions). Freezing temperatures do occur in winter as far south as southern Florida, and many of the ruderal wetland forests there show dominance or codominance by Acer rubrum, which is more tolerant of freezing temperatures than other trees native to south Florida. Many forests initiated as tree plantations, but which have been subject to severe natural disturbance, belong in this macrogroup. Also included are stands initiated as tree plantations which have become codominated by other tree species that have persisted and regenerated or naturally dispersed and regenerated into a stand, and where the stand is not presently intensively managed as a tree plantation.
Environmental Description: Climate: Warm-temperate. Soil/substrate/hydrology: This macrogroup occurs in areas prone to some flooding, such as along rivers, creeks, or on hydric soil flats which may be extensive and poorly drained. Generally, the flooding regime has been anthropogenically altered, e.g., channelization, levees. It generally occurs on hydric soils or on soils which are prone to some flooding (but are not hydric). Included here are ruderal riparian woodlands of the Edwards Plateau, which are prone to some flooding and have broad floristic affinities to the Southeast.
Geographic Range: This macrogroup is found in warm-temperate areas in the south-central and southeastern United States, from New Jersey to Florida, and west to Arkansas and Texas.
States/Provinces: AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Synonomy: >< Loblolly Pine - Hardwood 82 (Eyre 1980) [not including uplands.]
> Mesquite 68 (Eyre 1980) [mainly is riparian.]
> Slash Pine - Hardwood 85 (Eyre 1980) [unburned flatwoods.]
>< Sugarberry-American Elm-Green Ash 63 (Eyre 1980)
> Sweetgum - Yellow-Poplar 87 (Eyre 1980)
Concept Author(s): Faber-Langendoen et al. (2014)
Author of Description: C. Nordman and S. Franklin
Version Date: 15Oct2014
- 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]
- FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010b. Altered landcover types. Tallahassee, FL. [http://www.fnai.org/PDF/Altered_communities_Final_2010.pdf]
- Matthews, E. R., R. K. Peet, and A. S. Weakley. 2011. Classification and description of alluvial plant communities of the Piedmont region, North Carolina, U.S.A. Applied Vegetation Science 14:485-505.