Habitats of North Carolina
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General Shrublands
General Upland Heath Thickets
General Description A key factor of this habitat is the presence of shrubby species of the Ericaceae that form dense thickets in a variety of upland habitats. This group occurs widely across the state, with all members being found extensively in at least two of the state's physiographic provinces. All of these species occur in upland habitats; species that occur in both uplands and wetlands are included in other habitats.

Heaths included in this habitat are all shrubs and most occur in either open woodlands or in barrens that lack a tree canopy. Almost all are associated with acidic, rocky or sandy soils but at least one species, Vaccinium stamineum, also occurs in Basic Oak-Hickory Forests (LeGrand and Sorrie, 2019). Species of Vaccinium and Gaylucassia are found in most occurrences of this habitat. Dense tangles of Kalmia latifolia that exclude most other species of shrubs are also included.

Most of the insect members of this habitat are herbivores on Blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) and Huckleberries (Gaylussacea), although there are several that additionally feed on Azaleas (deciduous Rhododendrons), Staggerbush (Lyonia mariana), Fetterbush (Eubotrys sp.). One species, Callophrys augustinus, feeds primarily on Kalmia latifolia.

This habitat does not include thickets of evergreen Rhododendrons, which are more restricted to the mountains and support a different set of symbiotic species. Both the General Upland Heath Thickets and Montane Rhododendron Thickets and Balds intersect the General Shrublands and Thickets habitat, which contains generalists that make use of all types of shrubby habitats in the state.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: ridges and slopes. Slope Aspect: occurs on all slopes aspects as well as on ridges. Soil Moisture: Dry to mesic. Soil texture: all types from loamy to alluvial. Soil pH: typically acidic but with some variants on circumneutral substrates. Soil Nutrient Content: typically poor, occasionally rich. Microclimate: Warm to cool; dry to xeric. Hydrological Features: surface waters are common to scarce. Flood Frequency: rarely flooded on lower slopes to never flooded on ridges and upper slopes. Flood Duration: nonexistent to transient. Fire Frequency: common to rare. Drought Frequency: frequent to rare. Ice Storm Damage: low to severe. Wind Storm Damage: moderate to severe; may play an important role in creating canopy gaps, which some heaths need for regeneration. Insolation: full sun to full shade

Biotic Structure Key Species species belonging to the Ericaceae must be present Vegetation Type: closed-canopy forest to shrublands that completely lack a forest canopy. Strata: shrub layer is well-developed but herbs are often absent. Shelter: Woody debris and leaf litter are usually plentiful

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Ericaceae species // Callophrys augustinus-Acronicta tritona-Catocala andromedae-Catocala gracilis-Pangrapta decoralis-Probole nepiasaria-Xestia dilucida
Vaccinium species // Acrobasis vaccinii-Catocala sordida-Chrysanympha formosa

Determining Species
Taxa Global RankState RankProbability of Extirpation (PE)
Acrobasis amplexella GNRSU0.0020
Acrobasis vaccinii - Cranberry Fruitworm Moth GNRS3S40.0020
Aroga argutiola GNRS2S30.0164
Catocala andromedae - Andromeda Underwing G5S4S50.0002
Catocala gracilis - Graceful Underwing G5S4S50.0002
Catocala sordida - Sordid Underwing G5S40.0007
Chrysanympha formosa - Formosa Looper G5S40.0007
Lyonetia latistrigella - Rhododendron Leaf Miner GNRSU0.0020
Probole nepiasaria - Heath Probole Moth GNRS2S40.0058
Xestia dilucida - Dull Reddish Dart Moth G5S4S50.0002
Callophrys augustinus - Brown Elfin G5S40.0007
Gaylussacia baccata - Black Huckleberry G5S50.00
Gaylussacia dumosa - Dwarf Huckleberry G5S50.00
Gaylussacia frondosa - Dangleberry G5S50.00
Kalmia latifolia - Mountain Laurel G5S50.00
Vaccinium arboreum - Sparkleberry G5S50.00
Vaccinium fuscatum - Black Highbush Blueberry G5S50.00
Vaccinium pallidum - Hillside Blueberry G5S50.00
Vaccinium stamineum - Deerberry G5S50.00
Vaccinium tenellum - Small Black Blueberry G5S50.00
Expected Number of Extirpations with a PE value (Sum of PE) = 0.0309
N = Number of Extant Species with a PE value = 11
Average PE = ENE/N = 0.0028
Number of S5 species = 9
Proportion of Secure Species = Number of S5 Species/N = 0.8182
Habitat Risk Index = ENE x (1 – PSS) = 0.0056

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species
Estimated Security of the Habitat
Index of Habitat Imperilment
Identified Risks
Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
Updated on 2022-01-02 14:36:47