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Alliance Detail Report: A3372
Prunus virginiana - Acer spicatum - Cornus sericea Seep Alliance

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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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Translated Name:Chokecherry - Mountain Maple - Red-osier Dogwood Seep Alliance
Colloquial Name:Vermont High-Elevation Seepage Swamp
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.
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.
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).
Synonomy:

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017b
  • VNNHP 1991
States/Provinces:NH?, VT
Nations:US
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.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
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
These stands occupy small openings ranging from several hundred square meters to several hectares on moderate to somewhat steep slopes.
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 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."
Low
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.
Authors:
D. Faber-Langendoen      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.


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

Date Accessed:

To cite a description:
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 Alliance 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:

U.S. Government
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Navy (NAVY)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Non U.S. Government
  • NatureServe (NS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)

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)