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Riparian Woodland

The term "riparian forest" has been variously applied to all sorts of tree-domianted communities that occur adjacent to streams and rivers. In this classification, many tree-dominated riparian communities along large to mid-sized rivers would be better classified as riparian woodlands. Riparian woodlands have relatively open canopies (owing to the fact that trees are often uprooted or broken by floods and from edge effect due to their location along relatively large wide rivers). Common tree species include silver maple (Acer saccharinum), boxelder (Acer negundo), eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), black willow (Salix nigra), green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica), and river birch (Betula nigra). They frequently have grassy herb layers (e.g. river oats,  Chasmanthium latifolium ) or thickets of river cane ( Arundinaria gigantea ) known as canebrakes may form nearly impenatrable thickets in the understory. They tend to support a diverse array of late summer and fall-flowering herbs such as various species of aster (Symphyotrichum ontarione, S. lateriflorum), giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea), wingstem (Verbesina spp.), ironweed (Vernonia gigantea), and white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima). Additionally, shrub and subcanopy strata are not usually as well-developed in riparian woodlands as in adacent upland or floodplain forests. High-climbing woody vines such as wooly pipevine ( Isoetrema  tomentosa), bullbrier ( Smilax bona-nox ), and grape vines ( Vitis  spp.) are often abundant.   Flooding is thought to play the primary role in maintaining riparian woodlands as opposed to fire, which is vital for maintenance of many upland woodland systems. 


MISSISSIPPI VALLEY LOESS PLAINS

BLUFF HILLS ECOREGION

LOESS PLAIN ECOREGION

SOUTHEASTERN PLAINS

NORTHERN HILLY GULF COASTAL PLAIN ECOREGION
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Unconsolidated Sand Cliff

INTERIOR PLATEAUS

WESTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION

PENNYROYAL PLAIN ECOREGION

NASHVILLE BASIN ECOREGION

CUMBERLAND ENCLAVE ECOREGION


  • Cumberland Enclave Limestone Cliff
  • Cumberland Enclave Shaley-Limestone Cliff

EASTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION


SOUTHWESTERN APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ESCARPMENT ECOREGION

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ECOREGION

CRAB ORCHARD MOUNTAINS

SEQUATCHIE VALLEY ECOREGION

CENTRAL APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS

CUMBERLAND MOUNTAIN THRUSTBLOCK ECOREGION

RIDGE AND VALLEY

SOUTHERN CALCAREOUS VALLEYS ECOREGION

SHALE VALLEYS ECOREGION

DISSECTED RIDGES ECOREGION

SANDSTONE RIDGES ECOREGION

BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS 

SEDIMENTARY MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

METASEDIMENTARY MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

IGNEOUS MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

AMPHIBOLITE MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

DOLOMITE COVES ECOREGION