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 and Semi-Natural Grasslands
General Description This habitat includes species associated with the grass stage of secondary succession, as it occurs widely over the state. It also includes pastures, hayfields, and other managed grasslands that are composed of native species of grasses and associated forbs, along with their symbiotic herbivores and other native members of the grassland food web.

The grasslands included here are usually successional and hence transitory in our area. Under natural conditions, species found in these habitats are fugitive, colonizing species. Following Eurpean settlement, however, grasslands became managed for livestock production and became more persistent. Management practices originally involved periodic burning (as was done previously by Native Americans) or mowing, both of which were conducive to maintaining populations of native species. These species, however, are declining under current agricultural practices that are replacing native grasses with more intensively managed exotic species (see discussion of Threats and Trends below).

This particular habitat includes species that are found widely across the state, occurring extensively in at least two of the state's physiographic provinces. These successional and/or semi-natural grasslands intersect other, more naturally persistent grasslands, particularly those associated with glades, savannas, and beach dunes. Each of those habitats, however, have additional habitat factors, including those that keep the habitats open rather than closing in to forest. Their characteristic species are also, consequently, different and they are treated in separate habitat groups.

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 wet. Soil texture: sandy to loamy to alluvial. Soil pH: circumneutral to acidic. Soil Nutrient Content: rich to poor. Microclimate: Warm to cool; humid to dry. Hydrological Features: surface waters are common to scarce. Flood Frequency: varies from occasionally to never flooded. Flood Duration: nonexistent to transitory. Fire Frequency: common to rare. Drought Frequency: frequent to rare. Insolation: full sun

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: open grasslands, including those associated with natural succession and those consisting of native grasses that are maintained by mowing or fire; examples that include "improved" pasture grasses or that are maintained by application of herbicides or pesticides

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Andropogon and Schizachyrium species // Atrytonopsis hianna-Hesperia metea-Nastra lherminier
Digitaria ciliaris // Cosmopterix magophila
Tridens flavus // Heliocheilus lupatus-Polites origenes

Determining Species
Taxa Global RankState RankProbability of Extirpation (PE)
Allonemobius griseus
Allonemobius griseus funeralis - Dusky Ground Cricket G5S3S50.0007
Allonemobius walkeri - Walker's Ground Cricket GNRSU0.0020
Chortophaga viridifasciata - Northern Green-striped Locust G5S50.00
Conocephalus strictus - Straight-Lanced Meadow Katydid GNRS50.00
Dichromorpha viridis - Short-winged Green Grasshopper G5S50.00
Gryllus rubens - Southeastern Field Cricket G5S50.00
Ammodramus savannarum - Grasshopper Sparrow G5S30.0058
Eremophila alpestris - Horned Lark G5S40.0007
Spiza americana - Dickcissel G5S20.0460
Sturnella magna - Eastern Meadowlark G5S40.0007
Andropogon gerardi - Big Bluestem G5S40.0007
Andropogon ternarius - Splitbeard Bluestem G5S50.00
Andropogon virginicus - Broomsedge G5S50.00
Aristida dichotoma - Churchmouse Three-awn G5S50.00
Digitaria ciliaris - Southern Crabgrass G5S50.00
Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem G5S50.00
Sorghastrum nutans - Yellow Indiangrass G5S50.00
Tridens flavus - Tall Redtop G5S50.00
Atrytonopsis hianna - Dusted Skipper G4G5S40.0007
Hesperia leonardus - Leonard's Skipper G4S2S30.0164
Hesperia metea - Cobweb Skipper G4S20.0460
Limochores origenes -
Nastra lherminier - Swarthy Skipper G5S50.00
Polites themistocles - Tawny-edged Skipper G5S40.0007
Caenurgina erechtea - Forage Looper G5S50.00
Cosmopterix magophila GNRSH0.00
Fissicrambus hemiochrellus GNRSU0.0020
Gonioterma mistrella GNRSU0.0020
Heliocheilus lupatus - Spotted Straw Moth GNRS3S40.0020
Mocis latipes - Small Mocis Moth G5S4S50.0002
Mocis texana - Texas Mocis Moth G5S50.00
Nola cereella - Sorghum Webworm Moth G5S4S50.0002
Stereomita andropogonis GNRSU0.0020
Flexamia clayi
Flexamia reflexa
Flexamia sandersi
Memnonia flavida
Scaphytopius cinereus
Stirellus bicolor
Microtus pennsylvanicus - Meadow Vole G5S5 S4
Reithrodontomys humulis - Eastern Harvest Mouse G5S40.0007
Sigmodon hispidus - Hispid Cotton Rat G5S50.00
Expected Number of Extirpations with a PE value (Sum of PE) = 0.1295
N = Number of Extant Species with a PE value = 18
Average PE = ENE/N = 0.0072
Number of S5 species = 15
Proportion of Secure Species = Number of S5 Species/N = 0.8333
Habitat Risk Index = ENE x (1 – PSS) = 0.0216

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
References Askins, R.A., Chávez-Ramírez, F., Dale, B.C., Haas, C.A., Herkert, J.R., Knopf, F.L. and Vickery, P.D., 2007. Conservation of grassland birds in North America: understanding ecological processes in different regions. Accessible online at: https://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=biofacpub

Rosenberg, K.V., A.M. Dokter, P.J. Blancher, J.R. Sauer, A.C. Smith, P.A. Smith, J.C. Stanton, A. Panjabi, L. Helft, M. Parr, P.P. Marra. 2019. Decline of the North American avifauna. Science. Published Online19 Sep 2019. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw1313

Sharpe, T., 2010. Grassland 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 2022-01-01 14:16:46