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A3372 Prunus virginiana - Acer spicatum - Cornus sericea Seep Alliance

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence: This alliance accommodates small shrubby to herbaceous seepage swamps known only from high elevations (>915 m [3000 feet]) in Vermont within a matrix of Abies balsamea-dominated forest.
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Chokecherry - Mountain Maple - Red-osier Dogwood Seep Alliance
Colloquial Name: Vermont High-Elevation Seepage Swamp
Hierarchy Level: Alliance
Type Concept: This alliance accommodates shrubby to herbaceous seepage swamps known only from high elevations (>915 m [3000 feet]) in Vermont. Characteristic tall shrubs include Prunus virginiana, Acer spicatum, and Sambucus racemosa. Cornus sericea may also be important. Ribes triste is a relatively constant short shrub. Other shrubs may include Viburnum opulus var. americanum and Ribes lacustre, along with saplings of upland species which are common in the surrounding forest. Herbaceous species may include Ageratina altissima, Athyrium filix-femina, Chelone glabra, Dryopteris campyloptera, Glyceria striata, Laportea canadensis, Ranunculus recurvatus, Solidago rugosa, and Tiarella cordifolia. These stands occupy small openings ranging from several hundred square meters to several hectares on moderate to somewhat steep slopes within a matrix of Abies balsamea-dominated forest. They are most likely maintained by groundwater seepage. The locations in Vermont include the Coolidge Range of the Green Mountains in central Vermont, as well as possibly from Mansfield Mountain, Bolton Mountain, Haystack Mountain in Lowell; Spruce Mountain in Plainfield; and Signal Mountain in Groton.
Diagnostic Characteristics: These are shrubby to herbaceous seepage swamps known only from high elevations (>915 m [3000 feet]) in specific locations in central Vermont. This vegetation is seemingly too distinctive to be placed elsewhere.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: This alliance only accommodates one association (at present), Prunus virginiana - Acer spicatum - Ribes triste / Angelica atropurpurea - Heracleum maximum Seepage Shrubland (CEGL006583). Although restricted to Vermont, this type has no equivalent state type published by Thompson and Sorenson (2000). Additional regional review is needed. The matrix of Abies balsamea-dominated forest corresponds to Abies balsamea - (Betula papyrifera var. cordifolia) Forest (CEGL006112).
Similar NVC Types:
Cornus sericea Pacific Slope Shrub Swamp Alliance, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: These stands occupy small openings ranging from several hundred square meters to several hectares on moderate to somewhat steep slopes.
Floristics: Characteristic tall shrubs include Prunus virginiana, Acer spicatum, and Sambucus racemosa. Cornus sericea may also be important. Ribes triste is a relatively constant short shrub. Other shrubs may include Viburnum opulus var. americanum and Ribes lacustre, along with saplings of upland species which are common in the surrounding forest. Herbaceous species may include Ageratina altissima, Athyrium filix-femina, Chelone glabra, Dryopteris campyloptera, Glyceria striata, Laportea canadensis, Ranunculus recurvatus, Solidago rugosa, and Tiarella cordifolia.
Dynamics: The processes that maintain these shrublands of comparatively nutrient-demanding, typically low-elevation, and diverse species within a typical high-elevation balsam fir-dominated forest are uncertain and somewhat enigmatic. It is likely that periodic soil saturation at least inhibits conifer invasion; the wetland indicator status of many species and seepages within the stands support this. Stands occur too high on slopes and on too moderate slopes for avalanches to be a factor.
Environmental Description: These shrublands occur on moderately steep slopes near ridgetops within a matrix of balsam fir-dominated forest, at elevations from 1020 to 1230 m (3300-4000 feet). They appear to be maintained by groundwater seepage near or at the ground surface. The soil is damp at the surface in mid-June and small flowing rivulets occur within stands. The Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program (VNNHP 1991) describe this vegetation as a "circumneutral seep."
Geographic Range: These shrubby to herbaceous seepage swamps are currently known only from high elevations (>915 m [3000 feet]) in the Coolidge Range of the Green Mountains in central Vermont. This vegetation also may occur in New Hampshire.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: NH?, VT
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name: Adirondack-New England Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M212    Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C     Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: GNR
Greasons:
Concept Lineage: Includes one of two Northeastern members of the old A.1016, which is otherwise midwestern.
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy:
Concept Author(s): E. Sorenson and L. Sneddon, in Faber-Langendoen et al. (2013)
Author of Description: D. Faber-Langendoen
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 18Dec2014
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.
  • VNNHP [Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program]. 1991. Significant ecological features of the Appalachian Trail corridor in Vermont. Unpublished report to the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conference, and U.S. Forest Service, Green Mountain National Forest. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Waterbury, VT.