Classification of Vegetation Communities of Maryland: First Iteration
A Subset of the International Classification of Ecological
Concept: Wetland forests dominated by Picea rubens or mixtures of Picea rubens and Tsuga canadensis, occurring outside the main range of Abies balsamea. These forests often have a dense shrub layer dominated by Rhododendron maximum and may have coverage by Sphagnum species. Some occurrences have Taxus canadensis in the understory. Listera smallii is characteristic in the sparse herb stratum. Other characteristic herbs include Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Huperzia lucidula, and Dryopteris campyloptera. Forests in this alliance occur on saturated substrates, where surface water is seldom present, but the soil is saturated to surface for extended periods during the growing season. These forests are known from poorly drained bottomlands, above 3500 feet elevation (1070 m) in the Southern Blue Ridge, but also occur in the northern Ridge and Valley and central Appalachians. It historically occurred in Tennessee.
Comments: Forests in this alliance are distinguished by having a forest structure and lacking Abies balsamea and by having little herbaceous cover and low species richness. Examples from the Southern Blue Ridge include Alarka Laurel and Long Hope Valley, North Carolina.
Range: This alliance is found in North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
States/Provinces: MD NC PA TN VA? WV
TNC Ecoregions: 51:C, 59:C, 60:C
USFS Ecoregions: 212Fb:CCC, 212Fd:CCC, 212G:CC, 221Bd:CCP, M212Ea:CCC, M221Aa:CCC, M221Ba:CCC, M221Bb:CCC, M221Bc:CCC, M221Dc:CCC
Federal Lands: USFS (George Washington, Jefferson?, Nantahala, Pisgah)
Synonymy: Swamp Forest-Bog Complex, Spruce Subtype (Schafale and Weakley 1990); Red Spruce: 32, in part (Eyre 1980); Red spruce palustrine forest (Fike 1999); Red spruce palustrine woodland (Fike 1999); Boreal Conifer Swamp, in part (Smith 1991)
References: Eyre 1980, Fike 1999, Schafale and Weakley 1990, Smith 1991, Weakley and Schafale 1994
Authors: M.P. SCHAFALE/A.S. WEAKLE, RW, East Identifier: A.198
PICEA RUBENS - (TSUGA CANADENSIS) / RHODODENDRON MAXIMUM SATURATED FOREST
Red Spruce - (Eastern Hemlock) / Great Rhododendron Saturated Forest
Swamp Forest - Bog Complex (Spruce Type) G2? (97-12-01)
Ecological Group (SCS;MCS): Appalachian Highlands Forested Bogs (470-10; n/a)
Concept: This spruce-hemlock wetland forest of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains occurs on relatively flat terrain in poorly drained bottomlands of small streams at high elevations (above 3500 feet elevation in the Southern Blue Ridge to above 2000 feet in the central Appalachians). It historically occurred in Tennessee. Soils are seasonally to semipermanently saturated due to a high water table or seepage from adjacent slopes. The tree canopy is dominated by Picea rubens or mixtures of Picea rubens and Tsuga canadensis. Other tree species that may occur in the canopy or subcanopy include Tsuga canadensis, Betula alleghaniensis, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Taxus canadensis, and Amelanchier arborea. This forest often has a dense shrub layer dominated by Rhododendron maximum with other associates often including Kalmia latifolia, Ilex verticillata, Ilex collina, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), and Vaccinium spp. The herbaceous layer is sparse, with the majority of herbaceous species restricted to openings, and includes Carex trisperma, Carex folliculata, Glyceria melicaria, Osmunda cinnamomea, Osmunda regalis, and Maianthemum canadense. Listera smallii, Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Huperzia lucidula, and Dryopteris campyloptera are characteristic herbs. The bryophyte layer is of variable cover but is dominated by Sphagnum. The absence of Abies balsamea and the importance of Rhododendron maximum differentiate this forest from Picea rubens - Abies balsamea / Sphagnum magellanicum Forest (CEGL006311).
Comments: This community is rare in the Southern Blue Ridge, and remaining examples are in poor condition throughout its range. It is known from the Blue Ridge of North Carolina (Alarka Laurel, Long Hope Valley), and was historic in Tennessee.
States/Provinces: MD:S?, NC:S1, PA:S?, TN:SH, VA?, WV:S?
TNC Ecoregions: 51:C, 59:C, 60:C
USFS Ecoregions:212Fb:CCC, 212Fd:CCC, 212G:CC, 221Bd:CCP, M212Ea:CCC, M221Aa:CCC, M221Ba:CCC, M221Bb:CCC, M221Bc:CCC, M221Dc:CCC
Federal Lands: USFS (Nantahala, Pisgah)
Synonymy: Red spruce-hemlock/great laurel swamp (CAP pers. comm. 1998), IIE1a. Southern Appalachian Bog Complex (Allard 1990) B. in part, Swamp Forest-Bog Complex (Spruce Subtype) (Schafale 1998a), Oligotrophic Forest (Rawinski 1992), Red Spruce: 32 (Eyre 1980) B, Red Spruce-Northern Hardwoods (17) (USFS 1988)
References: Allard 1990, Anderson 1990, Anderson et al. 1990, CAP pers. comm. 1998, Eyre 1980, Fike 1999, Peet et al. 2002, Rawinski 1992, Rawinski et al. 1994, Richardson and Gibbons 1993, Schafale 1998a, Schafale and Weakley 1990, Stotler and Crandall-Stotler 1977, USFS 1988, Weakley and Schafale 1994
Authors: M.G. Anderson, mod. K.D. Patterson, ECS Confidence: 2 Identifier: CEGL006277
- Maryland Vegetation Classification Subset Report I.A. Evergreen forest
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