Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of Early Succesional and Semi-Natural Habitats:
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Early Succesional and Semi-Natural Habitats
General Successional Fields and Forblands
Habitat Overview This habitat is composed of open, forb-dominated fields that invade lands opened up by disturbances; in our area, these fields follow clearing of forests, or the abandonment of cultivated fields which themselves occupy lands once covered with forests. If left to natural processes, these habitats are transitory and will eventually be replaced by the return of forests. This habitat includes the most generalized examples, with its species occurring in at least two of the state's physiographic provinces. Soils typically have some loammy content; fields growing on sandy substrates are treated separately. Both upland and lowland examples are included.

The Determining Plant Species of this habitat type mainly consist of dicot forbs and vines; the grasses that typically occur in successional fields are treated separately in the General Successional and Semi-Natural Grasslands habitat, which strongly intersects the one considered here but has a somewhat different ecological trajectory. Similarly, the trees associated with successional or semi-natural grasslands are covered in the Forest-Field Ecotones and Groves habitat.

Animal members of this habitat group are in some cases obligate herbivores on the plant members of the group but most are associated more generally with areas of dense herbaceous vegetation. Like the plant species, these animals are well-adapted for dispersal, allowing them to keep up with a constantly changing environment. Several of the insects belonging to this group -- especially the butterflies -- lead a nomadic, migratory lifestyle, reproducing opportunistically whenever they find suitable populations of their host plants.

Although now associated with human-disturbed landscapes, the native species that we include as members of this habitat were originally adapted to rapidly colonizing lands where forest cover was destroyed by floods, fire, or storms. Some are found in other, more persistent types of open habitats but the majority of the occurrences of these species are believed to associated with sites undergoing succession back to forest. Under natural conditions, these habitats are fairly ephemeral, with the species needing to be well-adapted to dispersal in order to keep up with shifting landscape conditions.

Following conversion of much of the former forest lands in eastern North America to croplands, these species became much more common and widespread than their original condition. They are now so associated with abandoned farm lands that they are now described as "old field" species. Although many exotic "weeds" are now major components of successional habitats, these are left out of consideration in determining the conservation needs of this habitat.

Related NHP Natural Communities This habitat does not match any of the NHP Natural Communities (Schafale and Weakley, 1990; Schafale, 2012), which generally includes associations that persist through long period of time rather than being as transitory as this habitat normally is at any one site.
Determining Species
Taxa Global RankState RankProbability of Extirpation (PE)
Abaeis nicippe - Sleepy Orange G5S50.00
Euptoieta claudia - Variegated Fritillary G5S50.00
Junonia coenia - Common Buckeye G5S50.00
Lycaena phlaeas - American Copper G5S3S40.0020
Papilio polyxenes - Black Swallowtail G5S50.00
Phoebis sennae - Cloudless Sulphur G5S50.00
Pholisora catullus - Common Sootywing G5S50.00
Pontia protodice - Checkered White G5S1S20.1284
Pyrisitia lisa - Little Yellow G5S40.0007
Vanessa virginiensis - American Lady G5S50.00
Achillea borealis - American Yarrow G5S50.00
Agalinis purpurea - Purple False Foxglove G5S50.00
Amaranthus hybridus - Smooth Pigweed G5S50.00
Ambrosia artemisiifolia - Annual Ragweed G5S50.00
Ambrosia trifida - Giant Ragweed G5S50.00
Antennaria parlinii - Parlin's Pussytoes G5S40.0007
Chamaecrista fasciculata - Common Partridge-pea G5S50.00
Chamaecrista nictitans - Sensitive Partridge-pea G5S50.00
Chenopodium album - Lamb's-quarters G5S50.00
Coreopsis lanceolata - Lanceleaf Tickseed G5S50.00
Erigeron canadensis - Common Horseweed G5S50.00
Eupatorium capillifolium - Dog-fennel G5S50.00
Eupatorium hyssopifolium - Hyssopleaf Thoroughwort G5S50.00
Eupatorium pubescens - Hairy Thoroughwort G5S10.3584
Euphorbia nutans - Nodding Spurge G5S50.00
Gamochaeta argyrinea - Silvery Everlasting GNRS50.00
Hypericum gentianoides - Pineweed G5S50.00
Hypericum punctatum - Spotted St. John's-wort G5S50.00
Ipomoea coccinea - Red Morning-glory GNRS50.00
Ipomoea hederacea - Ivyleaf Morning-glory G5S50.00
Krigia cespitosa - Opposite-leaf Dwarf-dandelion G5S30.0058
Krigia dandelion - Potato Dwarf-dandelion G5S40.0007
Krigia virginica - Virginia Dwarf-dandelion G5S50.00
Lactuca canadensis - Canada Lettuce G5S50.00
Oenothera biennis - Common Evening-primrose G5S50.00
Oenothera laciniata - Cutleaf Evening-primrose G5S50.00
Oxalis stricta - Common Yellow Woodsorrel G5S50.00
Passiflora incarnata - Maypops G5S50.00
Persicaria pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Smartweed G5S50.00
Phytolacca americana - American Pokeweed G5S50.00
Plantago heterophylla - Slender Plantain G5S50.00
Polypremum procumbens - Juniper-leaf G5S50.00
Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium - Fragrant Rabbit-tobacco G5S50.00
Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan G5S50.00
Solanum carolinense - Carolina Horsenettle G5S50.00
Solidago altissima - Tall Goldenrod G5S50.00
Solidago erecta - Slender Goldenrod G5S50.00
Solidago gigantea - Giant Goldenrod G5S50.00
Symphyotrichum dumosum - Bushy Aster G5S50.00
Symphyotrichum pilosum - Frost Aster G5S50.00
Astrotischeria solidagonifoliella GNRSU0.0020
Caenurgia chloropha - Vetch Looper G5S50.00
Caenurgina crassiuscula - Clover Looper G5S40.0007
Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria - Blackberry Looper G5S50.00
Cirrhophanus triangulifer - Goldenrod Stowaway Moth G4SU0.0020
Condica mobilis - Mobile Groundling Moth G5S50.00
Condica sutor - Cobbler Moth G5S50.00
Condica vecors - Dusky Groundling Moth G5S50.00
Condica videns - White-dotted Groundling Moth G5S50.00
Cremastobombycia solidaginis GNRSU0.0020
Ctenoplusia oxygramma - Sharp-stigma Looper G5S4S50.0002
Dichomeris aglaia GNRS3S40.0020
Dichomeris flavocostella - Cream-edged Dichomeris Moth GNRS3S50.0007
Disclisioprocta stellata - Somber Carpet Moth G5S50.00
Epiblema otiosana - Bidens Borer Moth GNRS4S50.0002
Epiblema scudderiana - Goldenrod Gall Moth GNRS4S50.0002
Eublemma minima - Everlasting Bud Moth G5S50.00
Frumenta nundinella GNRSU0.0020
Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis - Goldenrod Gall Moth GNRSU0.0020
Hyles lineata - White-lined Sphinx G5S50.00
Idaea demissaria - Red-Bordered Wave Moth G5S50.00
Lesmone detrahens - Detracted Owlet Moth G5S4S50.0002
Lobocleta ossularia - Drab Brown Wave Moth G5S4S50.0002
Lycomorpha pholus - Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth G5SU0.0020
Ogdoconta cinereola - Common Pinkband Moth G5S50.00
Pelochrista similiana GNRS3S50.0007
Ponometia candefacta - Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth G5S50.00
Ponometia erastrioides - Small Bird-dropping Moth G5S3S40.0020
Schinia arcigera - Arcigera Flower Moth G5S50.00
Schinia nundina - Goldenrod Flower Moth G5S4S50.0002
Schinia rivulosa - Ragweed Flower Moth G5S50.00
Schinia thoreaui - Thoreau's Flower Moth G5S3S40.0020
Schinia trifascia - Three-lined Flower Moth G5S4S50.0002
Synchlora aerata - Wavy-lined Emerald G5S50.00
Synchlora frondaria - Southern Emerald Moth G5S50.00
Timandra amaturaria - Cross-lined Wave Moth G5S3S40.0020
Tornos scolopacinaria - Dimorphic Gray Moth G4S3S40.0020
Trichordestra legitima - Striped Garden Caterpillar Moth G5S4S50.0002
Campylenchia latipes
Limotettix anthracinus
Mesamia nigridorsum
Pissonotus brunneus
Publilia reticulata
Conocephalus brevipennis - Short-Winged Meadow Katydid G5S50.00
Conocephalus fasciatus - Slender Meadow Katydid G5S50.00
Melanoplus femurrubrum - Red-legged Grasshopper G5S50.00
Melanoplus sanguinipes atlanis - Lesser Migratory Locust
Melanoplus scudderi - Scudder's Short-winged Locust G5S50.00
Oecanthus latipennis - Broad-Winged Tree Cricket GNRS4S50.0002
Oecanthus quadripunctatus - Four-Spotted Tree Cricket G5S50.00
Orchelimum vulgare - Common Meadow Katydid G5S4S50.0002
Scudderia cuneata - Southeastern Bush Katydid GNRS3S40.0020
Scudderia curvicauda - Curve-Tailed Bush Katydid G5S3S40.0020
Scudderia furcata - Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid G5S50.00
Scudderia texensis - Texas Bush Katydid GNRS4S50.0002
Cryptotis parva - North American Least Shrew G5S50.00
Icteria virens - Yellow-breasted Chat G5S50.00
Lanius ludovicianus - Loggerhead Shrike G4S30.0058
Passerina caerulea - Blue Grosbeak G5S50.00
Passerina cyanea - Indigo Bunting G5S50.00
Spizella pusilla - Field Sparrow G5S50.00
Melanoplus propinquus
Ophisaurus attenuatus - Slender Glass Lizard G5S20.0460
Rubus flagellaris - Northern Dewberry G5S50.00
Rubus occidentalis - Black Raspberry G5S40.0007
Rubus pensilvanicus - Pennsylvania Blackberry G5S50.00
Rubus trivialis - Southern Dewberry G5S30.0058
Sceptridium lunarioides - Winter Grapefern G4SH0.00
Expected Number of Extirpations with a PE value (Sum of PE) = 0.5853
N = Number of Extant Species with a PE value = 38
Average PE = ENE/N = 0.0154
Number of S5 species = 72
Proportion of Secure Species = Number of S5 Species/N = 1.8947
Habitat Risk Index = ENE x (1 – PSS) = -0.5237

Phagic and Competitory Symbioses: (Ambrosia species/Chionodes mediofuscella-Ponometia candefacta-Ponometia erastrioides-Schinia rivulosa-Schinia thoreaui-Spragueia leo) // (Apiaceae species/Papilio polyxenes) // (Asteraceae species/Astrotischeria heliopsisella-Condica sutor-Condica videns-Dichomeris flavocostella-Leuconycta diphteroides-Ogdoconta cinereola-Perigea xanthioides-Vanessa virginiensis) // (Bidens species/Cirrhophanus triangulifer) // (Brassicaceae species/Pontia protodice) // (Chamaecrista species/Abaeis nicippe-Phoebis sennae-Pyrisitia lisa) // (Eupatorium species/Schinia trifascia) // (Helianthus species/Mesamia nigridorsum) // (Polygonaceae species/Timandra amaturaria) // (Rubus species/Coptotriche aenea) // (Rumex species/Lycaena phlaeas) // (Solidago species/Astrotischeria solidagonifoliella-Epiblema scudderiana-Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis-Limotettix anthracinus-Pelochrista similiana-Schinia nundina)

Candidates for Inclusion
Habitat Sub-sets Some of the species included in this habitat may prefer either wetter soil conditions or drier than the rest of the defining species and may need to be placed is separate habitats
Distribution Map
Survey Coverage Map
Survey Coverage
Survey Priorities
Average Imperilment of Habitat Members
Habitat Conservation Status
High Quality Habitat Occurrence Table
High Quality Habitat Occurrences
Protected Habitat Occurrences
Threats and Trends
Status Summary
Stewardship Recommendations
References Oosting, H.J., 1942. An ecological analysis of the plant communities of Piedmont, North Carolina. American Midland Naturalist 28:1-126.

Sharpe, T., 2010. Idle-Area Management. In: Tarheel wildlife-A guide for managing wildlife on private lands in North Carolilna. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, North Carolina. Available online at: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Hunting/Documents/Tarheel_Wildlife.pdf
Updated on 2021-08-06 22:21:29