Invalid Unit Specified
Alliance Detail Report: A3430
Quercus phellos Piedmont-Cumberland Wet Depression Forest Alliance

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
These are wet depressions in the Piedmont, Cumberland, and Interior Plateau regions of the southeastern United States with Quercus phellos, primarily a coastal plain species, as an indicator and typically dominant canopy component.
Collapse All::Expand All
Translated Name:Willow Oak Piedmont-Cumberland Wet Depression Forest Alliance
Colloquial Name:Piedmont-Cumberland Willow Oak Wet Depression Forest
This alliance includes vegetation of wet depressions and related habitats in the Piedmont, Cumberland, and Interior Plateau regions of the southeastern United States from Alabama north to Kentucky and Maryland. Examples have Quercus phellos as an indicator and typically dominant to codominant component of the canopy. It is noteworthy as an indicator in these regions as it is primarily a species of the coastal plains. The associated species vary across this range. Additional canopy trees include Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus alba, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus nigra, Quercus shumardii, and Quercus stellata. Some other canopy and subcanopy trees include Acer barbatum, Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Celtis laevigata, Fraxinus americana, Juglans nigra, Morus rubra, Nyssa biflora, and Ulmus americana. The small understory trees Cercis canadensis, Cornus florida, Cornus foemina, Crataegus viridis, Quercus oglethorpensis, and Sideroxylon lycioides may also occur. Some herbs that are found in component associations include Carex albolutescens, Carex intumescens, Carex joorii, Chasmanthium laxum, Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Dichanthelium boscii, Dulichium arundinaceum, Glyceria striata, Hymenocallis occidentalis, Podophyllum peltatum, and Zephyranthes atamasca. This alliance occurs in upland depressions and swales in flatwoods that do not receive overbank flooding, including gently sloped upper drainages in flat Piedmont terrain with dense clay hardpan soils that have restricted internal drainage; shallow depressions in ridgetop or plateau-top sandstone of the Cumberland Plateau or on limestones and dolostones in the Southern Ridge and Valley; sloping terrain or shallowly depressed upland flats over gabbro-derived clays in the Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina; as well as depression swamps found in the Piedmont and in limited areas of the adjacent inner Coastal Plain.
Examples of this group are distinctive for being dominated by Quercus phellos and being found in the Piedmont and Cumberland regions of the southeastern United States. Quercus phellos is primarily a species of the coastal plains.
Quercus phellos is primarily a species of the coastal plains, and is characteristic of this alliance, which is found in interior regions. Quercus phellos is typically a dominant to codominant component of the canopy in examples of this alliance.
No Data Available
Synonomy: >< IIA10d. Upland Depression Swamp (Allard 1990)
>< Sweetgum - Willow Oak: 92 (Eyre 1980)
>< Willow Oak - Water Oak - Diamondleaf (Laurel) Oak: 88 (Eyre 1980)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Allard 1990
  • Ambrose 1990a
  • Clark 1978
  • Evans 1991
  • Eyre 1980
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017b
  • Gemborys and Hodgkins 1971
  • Glascock and Ware 1979
  • Golden 1979
  • Klimas 1988b
  • Schafale and Weakley 1990
States/Provinces:AL, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA
Nations:US
Range:This alliance is primarily found in the Piedmont, southern Ridge and Valley/Cumberlands, and Interior Low Plateau of the southeastern United States from Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky south to Georgia and Alabama. One southern Piedmont association is peripheral to the adjacent Atlantic Coastal Plain and northern Piedmont.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:
Province Code:   Occurrence Status:
Section Name:
Section Code:     Occurrence Status:
Stands of this alliance are dominated by broad-leaved deciduous trees and have sparse to well-developed shrub and herbaceous strata.
Examples of this alliance have Quercus phellos as an indicator and typically dominant to codominant component of the canopy. It is noteworthy as an indicator in these interior regions as it is primarily a species of the coastal plains. The associated species vary across the alliance's range. Additional canopy trees include Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus alba, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii, Quercus nigra, Quercus shumardii, and Quercus stellata. Some other canopy and subcanopy trees include Acer barbatum, Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Celtis laevigata, Fraxinus americana, Juglans nigra, Morus rubra, Nyssa biflora, and Ulmus americana. The small understory trees Cercis canadensis, Cornus florida, Cornus foemina, Crataegus viridis, Quercus oglethorpensis, and Sideroxylon lycioides may also occur. Vines are abundant and diverse. They may include Berchemia scandens, Bignonia capreolata, Campsis radicans, Cocculus carolinus, Lonicera sempervirens, Matelea carolinensis, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Passiflora lutea, Smilax bona-nox, Smilax glauca, Smilax rotundifolia, Toxicodendron radicans, Trachelospermum difforme, and Vitis rotundifolia. Some herbs that are found in component associations include Carex albolutescens, Carex intumescens, Carex joorii, Chasmanthium laxum, Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Dichanthelium boscii, Dulichium arundinaceum, Glyceria striata, Hymenocallis occidentalis, Podophyllum peltatum, and Zephyranthes atamasca.
This vegetation is confined to a variety of upland wet depressions and swales in flatwoods that do not receive overbank flooding, found in the Piedmont, Cumberland, and Interior Plateau regions of the southeastern United States. These environments include upland depressions, including gently sloped upper drainages in flat Piedmont terrain with dense clay hardpan soils that have restricted internal drainage; shallow depressions in ridgetop or plateau-top sandstone of the Cumberland Plateau or on limestones and dolostones in the Southern Ridge and Valley; sloping terrain or shallowly depressed upland flats over gabbro-derived clays in the Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina; as well as depression swamps found in the Piedmont and in limited areas of the adjacent Inner Coastal Plain.
Low
Community dynamics are not well-known. These communities probably exist naturally as uneven-aged, old-growth forests. However, wetness and shallow rooting depth may make them more susceptible to windthrow than most upland forests, and subject to larger canopy gaps. Both extreme wet and extreme dry periods would stress some component species and might cause tree mortality. Floods, if any, have little flow, and flood disturbance is correspondingly low, but the clearing of ground by flowing water is likely important to the establishment of some herbaceous species. In examples on gabbro in Piedmont Georgia, the water table is never far from the surface because of the very subdued topography, and the ground may be saturated for extended periods of time during the growing season. In winter and early spring, large areas of standing water are typically found, helping create the unusual habitat conditions. In summer and fall, as the water table drops, the Iredell soil shrinks and becomes almost pavement-like, even though the water table may be only a foot or two below the soil surface (Clark 1978).
Authors:
M. Pyne      Version Date: 08Jan2014


References:
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.
  • Clark, R. C. 1978. Natural landmark site evaluation: Georgia. Monticello Bottomland Woods, Jasper County. Unpublished document.
  • Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
  • 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.
  • Gemborys, S. R., and E. J. Hodgkins. 1971. Forests of small stream bottoms in the coastal plain of southwestern Alabama. Ecology 52:70-84.
  • Glascock, S., and S. Ware. 1979. Forests of small stream bottoms in the peninsula of Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science 30:17-21.
  • Golden, M. S. 1979. Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont. Ecology 60:770-782.
  • Klimas, C. V. 1988b. Forest vegetation of the leveed floodplain of the lower Mississippi River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experimental Station, Lower Mississippi River Environmental Program. Report No. 11. Vicksburg, MS. 281 pp.
  • 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.


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.

About spatial standards:
The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee (hereafter called the FGDC) is tasked to develop geospatial data standards that will enable sharing of spatial data among producers and users and support the growing National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), acting under the Office of Management Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 (OMB 1990, 2000) and Executive Order #12906 (Clinton 1994) as amended by Executive Order #13286 (Bush 2003). FGDC subcommittees and working groups, in consultation and cooperation with state, local, tribal, private, academic, and international communities, develop standards for the content, quality, and transferability of geospatial data. FGDC standards are developed through a structured process, integrated with one another to the extent possible, supportable by the current vendor community (but are independent of specific technologies), and publicly available.

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)