North American boreal and western temperate forest vegetation

Salvador Rivas-Martínez, Daniel Sánchez-Mata & Manuel Costa

Itinera Geobotanica 12:5-316 (1999)


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Description of Plant Communities: Piceion rubentis

3. Piceion rubentis alliancia nova hoc loco

[Asteri acuminati-Piceion rubentis Peinado, Aguirre & Cruz in Plant Ecology 137: 191. 1998 (art. 8, 9) (holotype: Piceo rubentis-Abietetum balsameae Jurdant 1969 (art. 1)]

Typus nominis: Piceo rubentis-Abietetum balsameae Marcotte & Grandtner in Mem. Serv. Rech. Dir. Gen. Fôrets 19: 82. 1974 [= Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis nom. inv. (art. 10c, 42)].

Continental Temperate (subcontinental) and Oceanic Temperate (semicontinental); orotemperate; hemiboreal and upper supratemperate; humid and hyperhumid; coniferous meso- and macroforests dominated by red spruce (Picea rubens), and locally in southern Appalachian Mountains (Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee) by Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), growing on podzol soils throughout the Appalachian Province areas.

Bioclimatic diagnosis: Ic 21-32, Io 6.0-20.0, Tp 380-950, Tps 300-550, Tmin < -4º, m < -9º. [Teco-Ste, Hbo, Ote-Hum, Hhu].

Piceion rubentis has its optimum throughout the Appalachian Province territories (with some disjuncted areas in the Western Hemiboreal Great Lakes Subsector), throughout the hemiboreal and orotemperate (subalpine) humid and hyperhumid areas. The Piceion rubentis forests could be also recognized in transitional ecotones with the mixed forests of Querco-Fagetea grandifoliae classes (deciduous mixed hardwood and coniferous Temperate forests of the North American Atlantic Region), growing in the upper supratemperate hyperhumid bioclimatic belt areas. Within this alliance we recognize at least two broad regional associations: the northern and previously published Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis in the Appalachian Sector territories, and the southern "Abietetum fraseri" in the South Appalachian Sector which has its optimum throughout the orotemperate ultrahyperhumid areas of Smoky Mountains.

Characteristic species: Abies fraseri, Menziesia pilosa, Picea rubens, Rhododendron catawbiense, Ribes rotundifolium, Vaccinium erythrocarpum.

3a. Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis Marcotte & Grandtner 1974

[Piceo rubentis-Abietetum balsameae Marcotte & Grandtner in Mem. Serv. Rech. Dir. Gen. Fôrets 19: 82. 1974, Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis nom. inv. propos. (art. 42), Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis Gauthier in Étude phytosoc. de l"Islet, Montmagny et Bellechasse, MSc Thesis Univ. Laval 1970 (art. 1)]

Continental Temperate (eucontinental and subcontinental); orotemperate and hemiboreal; humid-hyperhumid and locally ultrahyperhumid; red spruce (Picea rubens) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) climactical meso- and macroforests in the Appalachian Sector territories.

Bioclimatic diagnosis: Ic 21-32, Io 6.0-20.0, Tp 380-950, Tps 300-550, Tmin < -4º, m < -9º. [Teco-Ste, Hbo, Ote-Hum, Hhu].

Table 9 shows seven relevés from Adirondack Mountains, White Mountains, New Brunswick and "Peninsula de Gaspé", belonging to hemiboreal and subalpine (orotemperate) humid to hyperhumid bioclimatic belt territories. Within the relevés sampled in mountain areas throughout the Adirondack and White Mountains, it could be distinguished a barely continental (Ic ~ 25) and heavy snowy geographical race (subassociation) with Betula alleghaniensis. At lower altitudes become frequent Betula lenta or Tsuga canadensis and in the understory Oxalis montana, Vaccinium myrtilloides, Amelanchier bartramiana and Chimaphila umbellata subsp. cisatlantica, perhaps characterizing another geographic subassociation. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and red spruce (Picea rubens) are the best two bioindicator conifers of the Temperate macrobioclimate territories which can be easily used to distinguish in Eastern North America the territories belonging to the North American Boreal and North American Atlantic Regions.

 Table 9
3a. Abieti balsameae-Piceetum rubentis

(Piceion rubentis, Gaultherio-Piceetalia)

Altitude (1=10m) 74 145 85 68 8 28 25 62
Number of species 19 19 19 19 20 22 23 20
Ordinal number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Trees:
Picea rubens 4 2 3 3 3 3 3 V
Abies balsamea 3 4 4 4 3 2 3 V
Betula papyrifera 1 . 2 2 1 . 1 IV
Acer rubrum . . . 1 . 2 2 III
Picea glauca . . . . 2 2 2 III
Populus tremuloides . . . . 2 1 1 III
Acer spicatum . . . . + 2 1 III
Betula alleghaniensis + + . + . . . III
Populus balsamifera . . . . 1 . 2 II
Thuja occidentalis . . . . + . 1 II
Characteristic species:
Maianthemum canadense 1 1 2 1 2 3 3 V
Aralia nudicaulis 1 + + + 2 1 2 V
Cornus canadensis 2 2 1 . 3 1 3 IV
Sorbus americana . 1 2 2 1 . . IV
Trientalis borealis 2 . + 1 + . 2 IV
Oxalis montana 1 1 1 + . . . IV
Clintonia borealis . . 1 2 . 2 2 IV
Viburnum lantanoides . 1 + 2 . . . III
Vaccinium angustifolium . . . . 3 2 2 III
Linnaea americana . . . . 1 2 2 III
Sambucus pubens + . . . . + . II
Amelanchier sanguinea . 2 1 . . . . II
Lycopodium annotinum . . 3 . . 1 . II
Amelanchier bartramiana . . . . 2 1 . II
Companion species:
Pteridium pubescens 1 1 1 + 1 2 2 V
Dicranum scoparium 2 1 3 3 . . . IV

Other species. Trees: Tsuga canadensis 1 in 1. Picea mariana 2 in 6. Acer saccharum 1 in 7. Characteristic species: Streptopus americanus 1 in 3, + in 4. Prunus pensylvanica 2, Gymnocarpium dryopteris 2, Rubus pedatus 1 in 1. Alnus crispa 3, Ledum groenlandicum 3, Vaccinium microphyllum 2, Kalmia angustifolia 2, Rhododendron lapponicum 1 in 2. Coptis groenlandica 3, Phegopteris connectilis 2, Acer pensylvanicum + in 3. Trillium sp. 2, Nemopanthus mucronatus 2, Vaccinium myrtilloides 1 in 4. Rubus strigosus 2 in 5. Orthilia secunda 2, Alnus rugosa 1, Chimaphila cisatlantica 1 in 6. Actaea rubra 1 in 7. Companion species: Amelanchier laevis 2 in 5, 1 in 7. Corylus cornuta + in 6, 1 in 7. Pleurozium schreberi 3, Polytrichum commune 1, Spiraea sp. + in 1. Carex sp. 2, Solidago randii + in 2. Cladonia sp. 2 in 4. Fragaria americana 1 in 5. Lonicera canadensis 2 in 6. Osmunda claytoniana 2, Fagus grandifolia + in 7.

Localities: 1. New York: Adirondack Mountains. Lake Placid. 44º25'N-74º01'W. W, 10%, 22 m, 90 cm, 500 m2 (reg. 1995b: 11). 2. New Hampshire: White Mountains, Mount Washington. 44º18'N-71º19'W. E, 25%, 30 m, 60 cm, 400 m2 (reg. 1995b: 81). 3. New Hampshire: White Mountains, Mount Washington. 44º18'N-71º18'W. N, 10%, 20 m, 40 cm, 200 m2 (reg. 1995b: 74). 4. New Hampshire: White Mountains, Mount Washington, Tuckermann Trail. 44º18'N-71º17'W. NE, 10%, 30 m, 60 cm, 400 m2 (reg. 1995b: 72). 5. Québec: Péninsule de Gaspé. Lac Matapédia. 47º59'N-66º59'W. SW, 10%, 25 m, 60 cm, 400 m2 (reg. 1995b: 56). 6. Québec: New Brunswick, Menneval. 47º43'N-67º04'W. W, 10 %, 25 m, 60 cm, 400 m2 (reg. 1995b: 60). 7. Québec: New Brunswick, Saint Léonard. 47º43'N-67º04'W. S, 10%, 30 m, 60 cm, 500 m2 (reg. 1995b: 64). 8. Synthesized table.

Type relevé (lectotypus hoc loco): Marcotte & Grandtner in Mem. Serv. Rech. Dir. Gen. Fôrets 19: 82, tb. 52, n. 2. 1974 sub Piceo rubentis-Abietetum typicum. Site: Québec. La Patrie. Mont Mégantic. 45°30N-70°50W. 700 m, W, 35 %. Estimated bioclimatic factors: Continental Temperate , eucontinental (Ic ~ 30), orotemperate hemiboreal (Tp ~ 700), lower hyperhumid (Io ~ 14.0), Positive Summer Temperature Tps ~ 380. Biogeographic location: North American Atlantic Region, Central-Eastern North American Province, Appalachian Sector. Floristic combination: Linnaeo-Piceetea characteristic species, trees: 2 Abies balsamea, + Acer spicatum, 4 Betula papyrifera, 3 Picea rubens. Others: 4 Abies balsamea (S2), 1 Betula papyrifera (S2), 2 Picea rubens (S2), 1 Clintonia borealis. Companion species: + "Brotherella recurvans", + Dicranum flagellare, 2 Dicranum fuscescens, 1 Dryopteris spinulosa [D. carthusiana], 1 Plagiothecium laetum, + Pleurozium schreberi, + Polytrychum ohioense, + Trillium undulatum.