Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Shumard Oak - Cherrybark Oak - White Ash Coastal Plain Forest Alliance
Colloquial Name: Coastal Plain Shumard Oak - Cherrybark Oak - White Ash Forest
Hierarchy Level: Alliance
Type Concept: This alliance includes mesic upland oak forests of the Southeastern Coastal Plain, which occur over calcareous substrates as well as over loess deposits. The canopies of stands are typically dominated by some combination of Quercus pagoda and Quercus shumardii, with Acer barbatum, Carya spp., Fraxinus americana, Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus michauxii, and Ulmus spp. Stands may also contain Diospyros virginiana, Fagus grandifolia, Gleditsia triacanthos, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Juglans nigra, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia acuminata, Morus rubra, Pinus taeda, and Tilia americana. The somewhat rare Carya myristiciformis may be present within its range. As presently circumscribed, this alliance includes rich forests of lower slopes above cypress or bottomland hardwood forests, as well as oak or oak-hardwood forests adjacent to Keiffer Prairies or Jackson Prairies of Louisiana, and other forests found over limestones or other basic to circumneutral strata in the East Gulf Coastal Plain and Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain.
Diagnostic Characteristics: These forests are primarily distinguished by their dominance by Quercus pagoda and/or Quercus shumardii, and by their mesic upland environment.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Some examples may exhibit dominance by other species (e.g., Acer barbatum, Fraxinus americana, Liquidambar styraciflua) but Quercus pagoda and/or Quercus shumardii should at least be present. Quercus pagoda and/or Quercus shumardii may also be found in bottomland or floodplain terraces. These associations are not covered by this alliance.
Similar NVC Types:
Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba - Quercus nigra Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is southern mesic forests with beech-oak dominance.
Quercus alba - Carya alba Mesic Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is mesic Coastal Plain oak-hickory forest.
Acer barbatum - Quercus shumardii - Fraxinus americana Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is southern mesic forest without beech-oak dominance.
Physiognomy and Structure: These are closed-canopy forests with dense and diverse shrub and herbaceous strata.
Floristics: The canopies of stands are typically dominated by some combination of Quercus pagoda and Quercus shumardii, with Acer barbatum, Carya spp., Fraxinus americana, Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus falcata, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus michauxii, and Ulmus spp. Stands may also contain Diospyros virginiana, Fagus grandifolia, Gleditsia triacanthos, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Juglans nigra, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia acuminata, Morus rubra, Pinus taeda, and Tilia americana. The somewhat rare Carya myristiciformis may be present within its range. The mesic calcareous forests associated with Jackson Prairies in Louisiana contain a dense canopy dominated by Fraxinus americana, Quercus pagoda, and Quercus shumardii, with Acer barbatum, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia acuminata, Pinus taeda, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus michauxii, Quercus muehlenbergii, and Quercus phellos. The open to fairly dense subcanopy contains Acer barbatum, Asimina triloba, Cercis canadensis, Cornus florida, Frangula caroliniana, Hamamelis virginiana, Ostrya virginiana, Sideroxylon lanuginosum, Ulmus alata, and Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. The sparse shrub and woody vine layer includes Aesculus pavia var. pavia, Arundinaria gigantea ssp. gigantea, Berchemia scandens, Bignonia capreolata, Cocculus carolinus, and Rhus aromatica. The sparse herb layer includes Aristolochia serpentaria, Botrychium virginianum, Carex cherokeensis, Delphinium carolinianum, Dioscorea quaternata, Lithospermum tuberosum, Passiflora lutea, Phlox divaricata, Phryma leptostachya, Podophyllum peltatum, Polygonatum biflorum, Smilax herbacea, Spigelia marilandica, Taenidia integerrima, and Trillium ludovicianum. In Kentucky, typical canopy trees include Quercus falcata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus pagoda, Quercus phellos, and Quercus stellata. These are often mixed with swamp species such as Quercus palustris and upland forest species such as Quercus alba.
Dynamics: These are mesic forests of relatively fire-sheltered environments. Stands are vulnerable to the effects of canopy removal and subsequent soil erosion. Some examples are highly threatened by timber removal and development. Other threats include windthrow, microclimate modification from intensive silvicultural practices on adjacent uplands, herbicide use, and vegetation damage by feral hogs. At Kentucky sites, flooding occurs in winter, and groundwater probably remains high throughout most years, but upper soil horizons may become relatively dry in the summer. In the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Arkansas, the soils are slowly permeable and shrink and crack upon drying. The water table is within 46 cm (18 inches) of the surface, and these soils are usually associated with ephemeral and semipermanent creeks and flats intermingled with blackland prairies and woodlands.
Environmental Description: This alliance includes mesic upland forests of the Southeastern Coastal Plain, and occasionally in the Interior Low Plateau, which occur over calcareous substrates as well as over loess deposits. As presently circumscribed, this alliance includes forests of lower slopes above cypress or bottomland hardwood forests, as well as oak or oak-hardwood forests adjacent to Keiffer Prairies or Jackson Prairies of Louisiana. Stands at Fort Benning, Georgia/Alabama, are found on islands or extended peninsulas in the now-impounded Chattahoochee River, on land which is apparently composed of circumneutral and/or calcium-rich material weathered from limestones upstream. One other association attributed here occurs on calcareous clays of various Tertiary formations (e.g., Fleming, Catahoula?, Vicksburg?, Jackson, Cane River, Wilcox) in the uplands of central and northern Louisiana and presumably eastern Texas. In Kentucky, vegetation of this alliance occurs in the Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain. At these sites, flooding occurs in winter, and groundwater probably remains high throughout most years, but upper soil horizons may become relatively dry in the summer.
Geographic Range: This alliance is found in the coastal plains of the southeastern United States from South Carolina to Florida and Texas, and north in the interior to Arkansas, Kentucky, and possibly Tennessee and Oklahoma.
States/Provinces: AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, OK?, SC, TN?, TX
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)|
Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Concept Lineage: The members of this alliance primarily come from the old alliance A.252 (10/11), but there is also one from A.283 (1/9).
Synonomy: ? Cedar Elm - Hackberry / Justicia Loamy Wet-Mesic Stream Bottoms (Turner et al. 1999)
>< Sugarberry-Elm Series (Diamond 1993)
Concept Author(s): M. Pyne, in Faber-Langendoen et al. (2013)
Author of Description: M. Pyne
Acknowledgements: We have incorporated significant descriptive information previously compiled by Alan Weakley and Latimore Smith.
Version Date: 14Mar2014
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