Habitats of North Carolina
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General Shrublands
Laurel Shrublands
General Description This habitat is defined by the presence of members of the Lauraceae. Collectively, this family occupies includes an extremely wide spectrum of environmental conditions, ranging from dry, sandy uplands to very wet, acidic peatlands and swamp forests.

The Determining Species include oligophagous herbivores that feed on several members of this family and consequently occur throughout the range of Lauraceae in North Carolina. Normally, the plant members -- which are more specialized in terms of their habitat requirements -- would be placed in separate habitats. However, a single habitat factor now over-rides all other considerations:
the threat posed by a introduced species complex, the Red Bay Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) and the Laurel Wilt fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) that is actively transported and farmed by the beetle. Most, if not all of our native species of Lauraceae are vulnerable to the attacks by this complex, which has devastated vast areas occupied by members of this family, particularly in the Coastal Plain but potentially spreading throughout the state.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: ridges, slopes, bottomlands, and wet flats. Slope Aspect: occurs on all slopes aspects as well as on ridges and flats. Soil Moisture: Dry to hydric. Soil texture: loamy, sandy, peaty. Soil pH: generally acidic. Soil Nutrient Content: generally poor. Microclimate: Warm to cool; humid to dry. Hydrological Features: surface waters are common to scarce. Flood Frequency: permanently to never flooded. Flood Duration: nonexistent to permanent. Fire Frequency: frequent to occasional. Drought Frequency: frequent to rare. Insolation: full sun to full shade

Biotic Structure Key Species species belonging to the Lauraceae must be present Key Threat: Laurel Wilt/Ambrosia Beetles. Vegetation Type: closed-canopy forests, including swamp forests, to dry open woodlands. woody debris and leaf litter are usually plentiful

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Sassafras albidum // Caloptilia sassafrasella-Cenopis saracana-Phaecasiophora niveiguttana
Sassafras albidum-Lindera benzoin // Papilio troilus
Sassafras albidum-Persea species // Palamedes Swallowtail
Persea species //Cryptaspasma bipenicilla-Phyllocnistis hyperpersea-Phyllocnistis subpersea

While the Red Bay Ambrosia Beetle and Laurel Wilt fungus are found only in association with members of the Lauraceae in North Carolina, as exotic species, without any established ecological controls, they are not counted as members of this habitat. Their presence within a given stand should actually be given a high negative value in terms of their reflection on the quality and/or viability of the occurrence.

Determining Species
Pterourus palamedesPalamedes SwallowtailG4S4S40.00041
Pterourus troilusSpicebush SwallowtailG5S5S50.00000
Phyllocnistis subperseaGNRS1S2S1S20.11107
Phyllocnistis hyperperseaa red bay leaf minerGNRS1S3S1S30.03699
Cryptaspasma bipenicillaGNRS2S3S2S30.01230
Caloptilia sassafrasellaSassafras Leafminer MothGNRS3S5S3S50.00041
Phaecasiophora niveiguttanaLabyrinth MothGNRS3S5S3S50.00041
Cenopis saracanaGNRSUSU0.00202
Lindera melissifoliaSouthern SpicebushG3S1S10.33330
Lindera subcoriaceaBog SpicebushG3S2S20.03699
Persea borboniaRed Bay, Upland Red BayG5S2S20.03699
Litsea aestivalisPondspiceG3S2S3S2S30.01230
Persea palustrisSwamp Bay, Swamp Red BayG5S5S2S30.01230
Lindera benzoinSpicebushG5S5S3S40.00132
Sassafras albidumSassafrasG5S5S3S40.00132
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 15
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 15
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 14
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 1
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.06667
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.59813
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.03988
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 14 x 0.03988 = 0.55832

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species
Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
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
References Best G.S., Fraedrich S.W. 2018. An assessment of the potential impact of laurel wilt on clonal populations of Lindera melissifolia (Pondberry). Southeastern Naturalist 17(4):616-29.

Gezon, Z.J., Braatz, E.Y., Duxbury, C., Savage, A. and Daniels, J.C., 2019. Long-term trends in Persea palustris and Lauraceae-dependent butterfly species in central Florida before and after the introduction of laurel wilt disease. Journal of Insect Conservation, 23(2):341-350.

Shearman, T.M., Wang, G.G., Peet, R.K., Wentworth, T.R., Schafale, M.P. and Weakley, A.S., 2017. A community analysis for forest ecosystems with natural growth of Persea spp. in the southeastern United States. Castanea, 83(1), pp.3-27. Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Timothy-Shearman/publication/322142753_A_Community_Analysis_for_Forest_Ecosystems_with_Natural_Growth_of_Persea_spp_in_the_Southeastern_United_States/links/5a96f37daca27214056b3141/A-Community-Analysis-for-Forest-Ecosystems-with-Natural-Growth-of-Persea-spp-in-the-Southeastern-United-States.pdf
Updated on 2022-01-02 14:38:46