Habitats of North Carolina
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Members of Early Succesional and Semi-Natural Habitats:
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Early Succesional and Semi-Natural Habitats
Exotic Invaded Habitats
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General Description This habitat is defined by the presence of species that were not originally native to North Carolina. Some, like Brown-headed Cowbirds, Coyotes, Red Foxes, and Nine-banded Armadillos, moved here on their own from their native ranges elsewhere in North America. Many others, including Privet species, Japanese Stilt Grass, European Starlings, and Emerald Ash Borers, are native to other continents and were transported here with human help (although often inadvertent). In all cases, however, these species and the habitats in which they now find themselves here are alien to one another: they do not have the long history of co-evolution that characterizes the relationship to native species to their native habitats. They lack the specific control mechanisms that maintains their populations in balance in their original habitats and the species that they interact with in their new environments lack the adaptations to resist either the depredations or the competition brought by the invading species, or the ability to make use of them as a resource.

The result is almost always disruptive to ecosystem stability, although in some cases, the invading species may fill some of the gaps left by previous changes to the habitats, e.g., Coyotes and Red Foxes filling some of the predator niches that resulted from previous extirpations of Red Wolves. Others, such as Armadillos, may be moving northward, tracking changes in the changes in climate that are themselves altering previously stable ecological systems.

The true habitats of these exotic species are located within their original ranges. The habitats where they are found here we term Exotic Invaded, based on the key mismatch between their adaptations. Although a separate type of Exotic Invaded Habitat could be described for each exotic species, we pool them instead to form a single category.

Abiotic Factors Various, potentially covering the entire range of habitable abiotic conditions found in North Carolina.

Biotic Structure Various, potentially covering the entire range of habitable biotic conditions found in North Carolina.

Co-evolved Species Groups Essentially none except for parasites carried along by the exotic species