Invalid Unit Specified
Macrogroup Detail Report: M503
Quercus palustris - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Nyssa sylvatica Swamp Forest Macrogroup

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
This swamp forest vegetation encompasses a variety of seepage, wet flatwood and depression, and lake or pond fringe forests (nonriverine) found in the eastern United States and adjacent Canada, primarily exclusive of the coastal plains, dominated by hardwood trees, including Acer rubrum var. trilobum, Acer saccharinum, Betula nigra, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus alba, Quercus bicolor, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus palustris, and Quercus phellos.
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Translated Name:Pin Oak - Green Ash - Blackgum Swamp Forest Macrogroup
Colloquial Name:Central Hardwood Swamp Forest
These swamp forests include seepage, wet flatwood and depression, and lake or pond fringe forests (i.e., not associated with overbank flow from stream or river channels) found in the eastern United States and adjacent Canada, primarily exclusive of the coastal plains. Stands are dominated by hardwood trees, including Acer rubrum var. trilobum, Acer saccharinum, Betula nigra, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus alba, Quercus bicolor, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus palustris, and Quercus phellos. The collective range includes the northern glaciated midwestern United States ranging east into Lower New England, south into most of the south-central states, including the broad Appalachian region, the unglaciated Interior Low Plateau, and the Ouachitas and Ozarks. Examples of ~Central Interior-Appalachian Seepage Swamp Group (G044)$$ generally occur where the substrate is saturated to the surface for extended periods during the growing season, but where surface water is seldom present for more than short periods of time. This includes streamhead swales or broad sandstone ridges where soils are sandy and saturated due to a combination of perched water table and seepage flow, as well as seepage-fed wetlands on gentle slopes, with substantial seepage flow which may be influenced by wildland fire, and along the bottom slopes of smaller valleys, as well as in the upper riparian zones of larger creeks, sometimes extending upslope along small ephemeral drainages. Examples of ~South-Central Flatwoods & Pond Forest Group (G654)$$ are found in ponds, wet depressions, flats along small streams, and other related environments. Examples of ~Central Hardwood Swamp & Flatwoods Forest Group (G597)$$ are found in ponds and depressions, and include various kinds of flatwoods (where soils often contain an impermeable clay layer or fragipan creating a shallow, perched water table, soils are poorly drained to very poorly drained, and surface water may be present for extended periods of time, rarely becoming dry).
These are generally nonriverine forested wetlands, characterized by hydrologic setting, which includes flat to depressional wetlands, as well as seepage swamps, ponds, flats along small streams, and other related environments. Stands are dominated by a diverse suite of primarily wetland Quercus species or other wetland deciduous hardwood trees that vary with biogeography and hydrology. Diagnostic species include Acer rubrum var. trilobum, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, Nyssa sylvatica, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus alba, Quercus bicolor, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus palustris, and Quercus phellos.
Quercus palustris represents a northern component. Quercus michauxii would be an equivalent southern component, but it is not used as a nominal. Their ranges lack any substantial overlap. Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Quercus palustris are wide-ranging swamp tree species whose ranges primarily define the range of the macrogroup.
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.3 Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest F026 1.B.3
Division 1.B.3.Na Eastern North American-Great Plains Flooded & Swamp Forest D011 1.B.3.Na
Macrogroup M503 Central Hardwood Swamp Forest M503 1.B.3.Na.2
Group G044 Central Interior-Appalachian Seepage Swamp G044 1.B.3.Na.2.a
Group G597 Central Hardwood Flatwoods & Swamp Forest G597 1.B.3.Na.2.c
Group G654 South-Central Flatwoods & Pond Forest G654 1.B.3.Na.2.b
Group G667 Northeastern Forest Vernal Pool G667 1.B.3.Na.2.d
The floristic and hydrologic variation within this diverse macrogroup will be accommodated by the various component groups and alliances.
Synonomy:

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Braun 1950
  • Bryant 1999
  • Bryant and Held 2001
  • Bryant and Martin 1988
  • Evans 1991
  • Evans, M. pers. comm.
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017a
  • Foti 1994b
  • Kost et al. 2007
  • Schafale and Weakley 1990
  • Schafale pers. comm.
  • Walz pers. comm.
States/Provinces:AL, AR, CT, DC?, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK?, ON, PA, QC, RI, SC, TN, VA, WV
Nations:CA, US
Range:The collective range includes the northern glaciated midwestern United States and adjacent Canada, ranging east into Lower New England, south into most of the south-central states, including the broad Appalachian region, including the Piedmont, from Alabama to Kentucky, and the Ouachitas and Ozarks of Arkansas and Oklahoma.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
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Stands of this macrogroup are composed of broad-leaved deciduous trees. The canopy can range from moderate to dense. The density of shrubs and herbs varies based on the extent of canopy closure, hydrologic regime, and disturbance regime. In the current landscape, most are closed-canopy forests, but with greater fire frequencies they would have varied more in the past.
Stands are dominated by hardwood trees, typical of wet-mesic to wet conditions, including Acer rubrum var. trilobum, Acer saccharinum, Betula nigra, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Nyssa sylvatica, Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa biflora, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus alba, Quercus bicolor, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus palustris, and Quercus phellos. Understories and ground layers vary with biogeography and hydrology, but some possible shrub components include Alnus serrulata, Carpinus caroliniana, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Ilex opaca var. opaca (central), Leucothoe racemosa (= Eubotrys racemosa), Lyonia lucida, Vaccinium corymbosum, and Viburnum nudum. The herb layer is quite variable. Forbs such as Boehmeria cylindrica, Impatiens capensis, Rudbeckia laciniata, and Saururus cernuus (central) are also often prominent with various wetland grasses, sedges, and rushes, including Carex albolutescens, Carex intumescens, Carex joorii, Chasmanthium laxum, Cinna arundinacea, and others. Large wetland ferns such as Osmunda cinnamomea and Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis are often prominent. Large Smilax tangles sometimes occur, and some examples have substantial amounts of Sphagnum spp. There is some floristic variation with latitude and elevation, with southern and lower-elevation associations containing Magnolia virginiana and/or Nyssa biflora, which are more typical of the coastal plain. In drier examples, Quercus rubra, Quercus stellata, and/or Quercus velutina may occur. Other species (in drier zones or phases) include Campsis radicans, Cardamine bulbosa, Croton willdenowii, Danthonia spicata, Leersia virginica, Manfreda virginica, Porteranthus stipulatus, and Pycnanthemum tenuifolium.
This wooded wetland vegetation encompasses various primarily non-alluvial wetlands of the eastern and central United States. This diverse suite of communities includes types associated with ponds and depressions, as well as various kinds of flatwoods. Flatwoods often contain an impermeable clay layer or fragipan creating a shallow, perched water table, soils are poorly drained to very poorly drained, and surface water may be present for extended periods of time, rarely becoming dry. These wetlands result from topographic or edaphic circumstances that promote an enhanced hydroperiod at these sites, and this affects both the vegetation and the dynamics. Ponds and flatwoods have some features in common, and are united at this level, but will be discussed separately where this is necessary. Examples of ~Central Interior-Appalachian Seepage Swamp Group (G044)$$ occur in small patches where relatively constant or seasonal seepage water creates wetland conditions. This seepage commonly occurs at the base of slopes on the edge of bottomlands or in headwaters of small streams. Examples also occur on gently sloping hillsides where impermeable soils and slope force shallow groundwater to the surface. The soils are seasonally to permanently saturated, but without substantial standing water. In north-central swamps and flatwoods (~Central Flatwoods & Swamp Forest Group (G597)$$), soils are poorly drained to very poorly drained, and may have a dense clay hardpan or some other impermeable clay layer or fragipan that limits internal drainage and can create a shallow, perched water table. Some soils may be deep (100 cm or more), consisting of peat or muck. Rainwater accumulates in the basins and persists through the wet season, occasionally persisting all year. Some examples become dry, with drought possible during the summer and autumn months. These fluctuating moisture levels can lead to complexes of forest upland and wetland species.
Moderate
In ~Central Interior-Appalachian Seepage Swamp Group (G044)$$, the presence of seepage is the most important environmental factor. Long-term droughts will affect seepage flow and presumably have an impact on the vegetation. Canopy dynamics are not well-known and potentially may vary substantially over short distances in response to wetness. Wetness clearly limits recruitment of most tree and shrub seedlings to drier microsites in the wettest examples, and fire is also important in some examples. Long-term geomorphic processes may also be important. Headward erosion by small streams, or meandering by larger stream channels, sometimes drains seeps and eliminates the wetland vegetation. In north-central swamps and flatwoods (~Central Flatwoods & Swamp Forest Group (G597)$$), water level dynamics are the most important factor, differentiating them from the surrounding uplands and differentiating the various components from one another. Most depressions and basins have a very limited watershed area, so water comes largely from rainfall. Variation in rainfall patterns will drive variation in duration of flooding, though most basins have an outlet that ultimately limits water depth. Fire is presumably naturally rare in these systems, although they would naturally be exposed to fires spreading from the surrounding uplands. Standing water and lack of continuous fuel would limit fires to the edges of ponds, with greater influence in flatwoods.
Authors:
M. Pyne      Version Date: 15Oct2014


References:
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.
  • Bryant, W. S. 1999. Flatwoods of the Jackson Purchase Region, western Kentucky: Structure and composition. In: S. W. Hamilton, E. W. Chester, D. S. White and M. T. Finley. 1999. Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium on the Natural History of the Lower Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN.
  • Bryant, W. S., and M. E. Held. 2001. An ordination of the plant communities of the Jackson Purchase Region of Kentucky. Pages 11-18 in: Contributed Papers: Session I: Botany. Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN. [http://www.apsu.edu/field_biology/center/sym2001/botany.htm]
  • Bryant, W. S., and W. H. Martin. 1988. Vegetation of the Jackson Purchase of Kentucky based on the 1820 general land office survey. Pages 264-276 in: D. H. Snyder, editor. Proceedings of the first annual symposium on the natural history of lower Tennessee and Cumberland river valleys. Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN. 328 pp.
  • Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
  • Evans, Marc. Personal communication. Ecologist. Kentucky Natural Heritage Program, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort.
  • 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. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • Foti, T., compiler. 1994b. Natural vegetation classification system of Arkansas, draft five. Unpublished document. Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Little Rock. 8 pp.
  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. [http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/reports/2007-21_Natural_Communites_of_Michigan_Classification_and_Description.pdf]
  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Walz, Kathleen. Personal communication. Ecologist, New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Trenton.


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

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Author(s). publicationYear. Description Title [last revised revisionDate]. United States National Vegetation Classification. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, D.C.

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About this document
This document contains type descriptions at the Macrogroup 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:

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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)
We have incorporated significant descriptive information previously compiled by S. Menard and S. Gawler.