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A3236 Acer barbatum - Quercus shumardii - Fraxinus americana Coastal Plain Forest Alliance

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: These are mesic calcareous forests of the coastal plains. Canopies are diverse and may contain Acer barbatum, Aesculus glabra, Carya myristiciformis, Fraxinus americana, Juglans nigra, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus shumardii, Tilia americana var. caroliniana, and Ulmus rubra.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Southern Sugar Maple - Shumard Oak - White Ash Coastal Plain Forest Alliance
Colloquial Name: Coastal Plain Mesic Southern Sugar Maple - Oak Forest
Hierarchy Level: Alliance
Type Concept: This alliance includes mesic calcareous forests of the coastal plains of the southeastern United States. Canopies are diverse and may contain Acer barbatum, Aesculus glabra, Carya myristiciformis, Fraxinus americana, Juglans nigra, Quercus muehlenbergii, Quercus shumardii, Tilia americana var. caroliniana, Ulmus rubra, and other calciphilic deciduous trees. The forests of this alliance occur on moist flats, lower slopes, or bluffs over calcareous substrates. Examples of areas from which these forests are known include limestones of the East Gulf Coastal Plain, the Black Belt (Selma Chalk) of the Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain, and related areas in other parts of the southeastern coastal plains, including the Red Hills of Alabama. It is probably also found on terraces along the Broad River, in the Georgia Piedmont, and on low to midslopes along the Savannah River, reportedly on circumneutral (high magnesium) soils in the Outer Coastal Plain.
Diagnostic Characteristics: The combination of these mesic/calciphilic species (Acer barbatum, Quercus shumardii, Fraxinus americana) in the coastal plains should be diagnostic, distinguishing them from similar forests in the interior provinces.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features: Acer barbatum, Quercus shumardii, and Fraxinus americana are diagnostic, and they serve to distinguish these forests from similar ones in the interior provinces.
Classification Comments: No Data Available
Similar NVC Types:
Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba - Quercus nigra Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is southern mesic forest with beech-oak dominance.
Quercus alba - Carya alba Mesic Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is mesic Coastal Plain oak-hickory forest.
Quercus shumardii - Quercus pagoda - Fraxinus americana Coastal Plain Forest Alliance, note: is rich mesic cherrybark oak-Shumard oak forest.
Physiognomy and Structure: These are closed-canopy forests with dense and diverse shrub and herbaceous strata.
Floristics: These forests are dominated by variable mixtures of calciphilic deciduous trees, including Acer barbatum, Aesculus glabra, Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Carya laciniosa, Carya myristiciformis, Celtis laevigata, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Gleditsia triacanthos, Juglans nigra, Liriodendron tulipifera, Quercus shumardii, Quercus muehlenbergii, Tilia americana var. caroliniana, Ulmus alata, Ulmus americana, and Ulmus rubra. The subcanopy stratum may include Acer rubrum, Asimina triloba, Carpinus caroliniana, Cercis canadensis, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Morus rubra, and Ostrya virginiana. Shrubs and woody vines may include Aesculus pavia var. pavia, Arundinaria gigantea, Berchemia scandens, Bignonia capreolata, Callicarpa americana, Cocculus carolinus, Cornus drummondii, Crataegus calpodendron, Crataegus marshallii, Euonymus americanus, Euonymus atropurpureus, Frangula caroliniana, Hydrangea quercifolia, Ilex decidua, Menispermum canadense, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Ptelea trifoliata, Sideroxylon lycioides, Smilax bona-nox, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, Toxicodendron radicans, Viburnum rufidulum, and Vitis aestivalis. Herbaceous species may include Allium canadense, Anemone virginiana, Arisaema dracontium, Arisaema triphyllum ssp. quinatum, Aristolochia serpentaria, Botrychium virginianum, Campanulastrum americanum, Cardamine concatenata, Carex albicans (= Carex artitecta), Carex blanda, Carex cephalophora, Carex cherokeensis, Carex gracilescens, Carex jamesii, Carex laxiflora var. serrulata, Carex muehlenbergii, Carex oxylepis, Carex willdenowii, Chasmanthium latifolium, Cynoglossum virginianum, Dasistoma macrophylla, Desmodium nudiflorum, Desmodium pauciflorum, Dichanthelium boscii, Dioscorea quaternata, Euphorbia commutata, Frasera caroliniensis, Lilium michauxii, Luzula echinata, Monotropa hypopithys, Oxalis violacea, Pachysandra procumbens, Panax quinquefolius, Penstemon tubiflorus, Phlox divaricata, Phryma leptostachya, Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. michauxiana, Podophyllum peltatum, Polygonatum biflorum, Prenanthes altissima, Ruellia strepens, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sanicula odorata, Scrophularia marilandica, Silene stellata, Smilax herbacea, Smallanthus uvedalius, Spigelia marilandica, Thalictrum thalictroides, Thelypteris kunthii, Trillium recurvatum, Viola affinis, and Viola walteri. Drier examples of this alliance in the Florida Panhandle contain many species of the Southeastern Coastal Plain, including the palms Rhapidophyllum hystrix and Sabal minor. Juglans nigra may not be present in South Carolina occurrences.
Dynamics: These are generally mesic forests in relatively fire-sheltered environments. Stands are vulnerable to the effects of canopy removal and subsequent soil erosion. No examples are known to be protected, and some 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.
Environmental Description: This vegetation is known from a variety of mesic, base-rich coastal plain habitats, including moist, north-facing, calcareous bluffs, and calcareous or other base-rich or circumneutral soils, including soils derived from coquina or other limestone outcrops or more recent shell deposits. Examples are known from limestones of the East Gulf Coastal Plain of the Florida Panhandle and Alabama Red Hills, and from the Black Belt (Selma Chalk) of the Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain of east-central Mississippi and central Alabama. This vegetation probably also occurs on terraces along the Broad River, in the Georgia Piedmont, and on low to midslopes along the Savannah River, reportedly on circumneutral (high magnesium) soils in the Outer Coastal Plain.
Geographic Range: Vegetation of this alliance is found in the coastal plains of the southeastern United States from South Carolina south to Florida and west to Mississippi.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: AL, FL, GA, LA?, MS, SC
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
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Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
Greasons:
Concept Lineage: This alliance includes the coastal plain portion of A.214. Four of the five associations in A.214 are placed here.
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: ? Mesic Calcareous Bluff (Morris et al. 1993)
? Upland Hardwood Forest (FNAI 1992a)
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.
Version Date: 14Mar2014
References:
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, M. Hall, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, L. Sneddon, K. Snow, and J. Teague. 2013-2017b. Screening alliances for induction into the U.S. National Vegetation Classification: Part 1 - Alliance concept review. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.
  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992a. Natural communities. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 6 pp.
  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992b. Natural community classification. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 16 pp.
  • Morris, M. W., C. T. Bryson, and R. C. Warren. 1993. Rare vascular plants and associate plant communities from the Sand Creek Chalk Bluffs, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. Castanea 58:250-259.
  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.
  • Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.