Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland Macrogroup
Colloquial Name: Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Hierarchy Level: Macrogroup
Type Concept: This northeastern macrogroup comprises forests characterized by a number of dry-site oak and pine species occurring on a variety of well-drained substrates. Acidic parent materials of low fertility support forests dominated by Quercus coccinea, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, as well as other hardwoods such as Liriodendron tulipifera, Sassafras albidum, and pines, including Pinus rigida, Pinus pungens, Pinus strobus, and Pinus virginiana, often overtopping a well-developed heath shrub layer comprising species of Gaylussacia, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, and others. Less acidic or high base status parent materials support many of the same oak species (Quercus coccinea, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina), in combination with a variety of hickory species (Carya spp.), Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, and Fagus grandifolia. Quercus muehlenbergii is particularly characteristic of parent materials of higher base status. Vegetation of this macrogroup occurs on a variety of substrates, ranging from dry sandy soils supporting pine barrens and maritime scrub vegetation, to exposed bedrock and shale barrens.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Northeastern woodlands and forests with dominance by or importance of Quercus coccinea, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, Pinus pungens, Pinus rigida, Pinus virginiana, and by the absence or unimportance of Quercus bicolor, Quercus ellipsoidalis, Quercus macrocarpa, Quercus stellata, Pinus echinata, or Pinus taeda.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: No Data Available
Similar NVC Types:
M012 Central Midwest Oak Forest, Woodland & Savanna, note: occurs to the west and is differentiated by Quercus macrocarpa and Quercus ellipsoidalis, and the absence or unimportance of Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, and Quercus prinus.
M016 Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland, note: occurs farther south and, although overlaps in species composition, generally lacks Pinus strobus and includes Pinus echinata, Pinus taeda, and Quercus stellata as characteristic species.
M505 Laurentian-Acadian Acidic Rocky Scrub & Grassland, note:
M882 Central Midwest Mesic Forest, note:
M883 Appalachian-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: Physiognomy of this vegetation ranges from closed forest to open woodland, with deciduous trees, needle-leaved trees, or a mixture of both. The shrub layer is often well-developed and characterized by heath shrubs in more infertile settings. Where this macrogroup occurs on the coast and on other highly exposed sites such as bedrock outcrops, steep slopes, and shale barrens, canopy trees may be stunted, gnarled, or wind-sheared. Tree canopies in coastal settings may also share dominance with tall shrubs and heavy vine cover.
Floristics: Acidic parent materials of low fertility support forests dominated by Quercus coccinea, Quercus falcata, Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, as well as other hardwoods such as Liriodendron tulipifera, Nyssa sylvatica, Sassafras albidum, and pines, including Pinus pungens, Pinus rigida, Pinus strobus, and Pinus virginiana, often overtopping a well-developed heath shrub layer comprising species of Gaylussacia, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, and others. Castanea dentata is an important understory component. The herbaceous layer may be poorly developed where tree or shrub canopies are dense; typical species include Carex pensylvanica, Danthonia spicata, Deschampsia flexuosa, Gaultheria procumbens, and others.
Less acidic or neutral parent materials support many of the same oak species as on acidic parent materials, in combination with Carya spp., Betula alleghaniensis, Betula lenta, Fraxinus americana, and Fagus grandifolia. Shrubs and understory tree species can include Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, Euonymus americanus, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Oxydendrum arboreum, Viburnum acerifolium; typical species of the herb layer include Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Botrychium virginianum, Galium circaezans, Hexastylis arifolia, Hexastylis minor, Medeola virginiana, Mitchella repens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Polygonatum pubescens, Polystichum acrostichoides, and Thelypteris noveboracensis.
Quercus muehlenbergii and Acer saccharum are particularly characteristic of parent materials of higher base status. Typical shrub species in this setting may include Cercis canadensis, Viburnum prunifolium, and Viburnum rafinesquianum. The herbaceous layer is more species-rich than in infertile sites, and include mesophytic species such as Actaea pachypoda, Adiantum pedatum, Aquilegia canadensis, Asclepias quadrifolia, Carex eburnea, Carex platyphylla, Dichanthelium boscii, Elymus hystrix, Hepatica nobilis, and Packera obovata.
Dynamics: At moderate to low elevations, stands are naturally stable, uneven-aged forests, with canopy dynamics generally dominated by gap-phase regeneration. Wind or ice storms may create larger canopy openings. Fire occurred fairly frequently in pre-European-settlement times but much less so now. Higher-elevation examples may occur on exposed ridges where they are subject to frequent ice storms in the winter, windstorms in the summer, and high winds throughout the year. In pine barrens, fire is particularly important in arresting succession to hardwood dominance. Vegetation on highly exposed bedrock or very steep slopes may be edaphically controlled. In maritime situations, frequent storms, high winds, and salt spray impact physiognomy. Treefalls are common, causing canopy gaps and highly variable structure. Many of these forests were logged in early settlement, and when oaks were removed, their re-establishment was hampered by their slow growth in these exposed settings. They were replaced by fast-growing early-successional species with fruits and/or seeds that are either bird- or wind-dispersed. Heavy browsing by deer impact both the structure and composition of herbaceous and shrub layers, and can hamper tree regeneration. Outbreaks of southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) can shift pine-dominated forests and woodlands to deciduous forest.
Environmental Description: A range of environmental settings support this vegetation. Soils may be deep to shallow to essentially lacking. Substrates may be well-drained bedrock, sand, loam, or shale talus; base status ranges from low to high. Topography ranges from steep slopes to well-drained sandplains, from low elevations (sea level) to high elevations (over 1220 m [4000 feet] in the Southern Blue Ridge). Base status of parent materials is an important gradient that separates the component groups of this macrogroup.
Geographic Range: This macrogroup ranges across temperate eastern North America, from Wisconsin and southern and south-central Canada east to the Atlantic Coast, and south to Alabama and Georgia. The western extent is defined more or less by the Appalachians but does not range into the Interior Low Plateau or Ozarks, ranging east to the Atlantic Coast north to southern Maine.
Nations: CA, US
States/Provinces: AL, CT, DC, DE, GA, IL?, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI?, NC, NH, NJ, NS, NY, OH, ON, PA, QC, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Confident or certain
St. Lawrence and Champlain Valley Section
Confident or certain
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Synonomy: > Appalachian Oak Forest (Küchler 1964)
= Appalachian Oak section (Dyer 2006)
> Black Oak: 110 (Eyre 1980)
= Chestnut Oak - American Chestnut Forest Group (Faber-Langendoen and Menard 2006)
< Chinquapin Oak - Ash - Red-cedar Forest Group (Faber-Langendoen and Menard 2006) [This group includes forests further west in which Juniperus ashei is characteristic.]
= Maritime pitch pine dune woodland (Edinger et al. 2002)
> Northeastern Oak - Pine Forest (Küchler 1964)
> Northern Red Oak: 55 (Eyre 1980)
> Oak - Chestnut Forest Region (Braun 1950) [While a forest region is not equivalent to a forest group, the characterization of the major forest cover in this region fits the macrogroup concept in part]
> Oak - Hickory Forest (Küchler 1964)
< Pitch Pine - Virginia Pine Forest Group (Faber-Langendoen and Menard 2006)
> White Oak - Black Oak - Northern Red Oak: 52 (Eyre 1980)
< White Oak: 53 (Eyre 1980)
Concept Author(s): E.L. Braun (1950)
Author of Description: L. Sneddon
Acknowledgements: We have incorporated significant descriptive information previously compiled by S.C. Gawler, M. Pyne, and D. Faber-Langendoen.
Version Date: 15Oct2014
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