Provisional. A provisional ecological site description has undergone quality control and quality assurance review. It contains a working state and transition model and enough information to identify the ecological site.
Major Land Resource Area (MLRA): 127X–Eastern Allegheny Plateau and Mountains
This ecosite is found in mountains, plateau in MLRA 127: Eastern Allegheny Plateau and Mountains. This site occupies the Allegheny Mountain Section of the Appalachian Highlands of the Appalachian Plateau Province. The deeply dissected plateau in this area terminates in a high escarpment, the Allegheny Front, in the eastern part of the area. Steep slopes are dominant, but level to gently rolling plateau remnants are conspicuous in the northern part of the area. The area is dominantly forest, containing large blocks of state forest, game lands, and national forest. Less than one-tenth of the MLRA consists of urban areas.
This site crosswalks to Landfire biophysical setting (BpS)Central and Southern Appalachian Spruce-Fir Forest
NatureServe (2007) describes this as Central and Southern Appalachian Spruce-Fir Forest CES202.028
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL006029 Picea rubens - Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia / Dryopteris intermedia Forest
CEGL006152 Picea rubens - (Tsuga canadensis) / Rhododendron maximum Forest
CEGL008501 Picea rubens / Betula alleghaniensis / Bazzania trilobata Forest
Ecological site concept
This site contains predominately Spodosols and Inceptisols located on high elevation (mean elevation > 973m) uplands that are frigid (MAAT <= 45 degrees F).
From Landfire http://www.landfire.gov/index.php:
This system consists of forests in the highest elevation zone of the Southern Blue Ridge and parts of the central Appalachians. Generally occurring on all topographic positions above 1676m (5500ft), up to the highest peaks, but can be found as low as 975m(3200ft) at the northern range in West Virginia (NatureServe 2007). Occurs in the Central Appalachian Broadleaf-Coniferous and Forest Meadow ecological provinces, and the Northern Ridge and Valley and Blue Ridge Mountain ecological sections (others also likely). Generally, site conditions are poor, with short frost-free seasons.
Soils are highly variable, ranging from deep mineral soils to well-developed boulder fields. Soils may be saturated for long periods from a combination of precipitation and seepage. Any kind of bedrock may be present, but most sites have erosion-resistant felsic igneous or metamorphic rocks (NatureServe 2007). Toward the southern end of the range, soils are most often rocky and acidic, with low base saturation; toward the northern end, sites tend to be characterized by shallow, poorly developed, easily eroded soils on steep slopes. A thick organic soil layer is frequently present.
Overall hydrology is mesic, ranging from wet in bogs, seeps, and the most protected sites to dry-mesic on some exposed upper slopes and ridges. Mesic conditions and generally a cool, wet climate are maintained by high annual rainfall, frequent fog deposition, low temperatures, and heavy shading. This type would have dominated the landscape throughout with inclusions of other forest types in wetter spots, or at higher elevations.
Table 1. Dominant plant species