Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of Floodplain Forests:
« »
Floodplain Forests
General Wet-Hydric Forests
General Description This habitat consists of bottomland forests generally, ranging from hydric swamp forests to wet bottomland hardwoods. The presence of a forest canopy, providing shade to the lower strata, is a key factor, although there can be gaps in the forest due to the presence of deeper waters. Ponds are frequently present as are seeps along the base of adjoining slopes. Shoreline habitats exist around the edges of these wetlands as well as the active channels that run through these forests. Soil pH and nutrient content vary across the range, with both brownwater and blackwater streams and rivers included. Examples of this habitat are found across the state. Those that contain Determining Species that are more geographically restricted are treated in separate habitat accounts.

The Determining Species for this habitat are semi-terrestrial to semi-aquatic. They include plants whose roots can survive in submerged substrates but where their emergent foliage and fruiting structures extend well above the waters' surface. Animals include amphibious species, whose larvae are aquatic but adults are capable of foraging or dispersing overland. A few species are arboreal but that live or forage primarily in swamps and bottomland hardwood forests.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Low Mountains to Lower Coastal Plain. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: restricted to floodplains and wet flats. Soil Moisture: wet to hydric. Soil Texture: alluvial. Soil pH: acidic to circumneutral -- this habitat includes blackwater as well as brownwater floodplains. Soil Nutrients: poor to rich. Microclimate: warm to cool; humid. Flood Frequency: annual to several times per year. Flood Duration: weeks to months or permanent. Presence of Pools: common to abundant year-round. Fire Frequency: extremely rare. Drought Frequency: extremely rare. Ice Storm Damage: low in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain to moderate in the Mountains. Wind Storm Damage: moderate (windthrows are common). Insolation: the canopy is well-insolated, lower strata can be deeply shaded.

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: Closed-canopy forests containing hardwoods; Cypresses are present in the Coastal Plain but belong to intersecting habitats. Strata: Subcanopy hardwoods are present but shrub and herb layer are sparse to absent; only species that are tolerant of flooding are included in this habitat. Woody Debris and Leaf Litter: fallen logs are common; leaf litter is submerged for extensive periods in swamps and species that depend on dry leaf litter are treated in other habitats.

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
The larval hosts of the three moth species included as Determining Species are unknown and the species are placed in this habitat due their records falling almost entirely within wet-to-hydric floodplain forests

Host // Commensal Symbioses:
(host-specific lichens and bryophytes)
(host specific decomposers)

Mutualist // Mutualist Symbioses:
(mycorrhizal assocations)
(Pollinator Associations)
(Host/Disperser Associations)

Competitor Guilds:
Light Competitors: Overcup Oak can germinate in the shade but seedlings compete poorly if more shade-tolerant species are present (Solomon, 1990). In the flooded sites that it occupies, however, competitors are normally absent. That includes Pin Oak, which although tolerant of dormant season flooding is less so for growing season inundation (McQuilkin, 1990)

Determining Species
Strix variaBarred OwlG5S4S40.00041
Buteo lineatusRed-shouldered HawkG5S5S50.00000
Protonotaria citreaProthonotary WarblerG5S5S50.00000
Penthorum sedoidesDitch-stonecropG5S4S40.00041
Commelina virginicaVirginia Day-flowerG5S5S50.00000
Dioscorea villosaYellow YamG5S5S50.00000
Persicaria setaceaBog SmartweedG5S5S50.00000
Carex louisianicaLouisiana SedgeG5S4S40.00041
Cinna arundinaceaStout Wood Reed-grassG5S5S50.00000
Fraxinus profundaPumpkin AshG4S4S1S20.11107
Fraxinus carolinianaCarolina AshG5S5S1S30.03699
Quercus palustrisPin OakG5S2S20.03699
Quercus lyrataOvercup OakG5S5S50.00000
Brachelyma subulatum
Idaea scintillulariaDiminutive Wave
Dyspyralis nigellusSlaty DyspyralisGNRS3S4S3S40.00132
Phalaenostola eumelusalisDark Phalaenostola MothGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Rivula stephenia mothGNRSUSU0.00202
Ischnura prognataFurtive ForktailG4S3S4S3S40.00132
Epitheca spinosaRobust BaskettailG4S4S40.00041
Gomphaeschna antilopeTaper-tailed DarnerG4S4S40.00041
Gomphaeschna furcillataHarlequin DarnerG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Nasiaeschna pentacanthaCyrano DarnerG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Epiaeschna herosSwamp DarnerG5S5S50.00000
Libellula axilenaBar-winged SkimmerG5S5S50.00000
Libellula vibransGreat Blue SkimmerG5S5S50.00000
Sympetrum ambiguumBlue-faced MeadowhawkG5S5S50.00000
Pseudotriton montanusMud SalamanderG5S5S50.00000
Thyrsanthella difformisClimbing DogbaneG5S5S50.00000
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 27
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 27
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) = 13
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.48148
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.19206
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.00711
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 14 x 0.00711 = 0.09954

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 McQuilkin, R.A. 1990. Quercus palustris Muenchh. Pin Oak. In: In: R. Burns and B. Honkala (Technical coordinators). Silvics of North America, 2. Available online at: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/silvics_v2.pdf

Solomon, J.D. 1990. Quercus lyrata Walt. Overcup Oak. In: In: R. Burns and B. Honkala (Technical coordinators). Silvics of North America, 2. Available online at: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/silvics_v2.pdf

Updated on 2021-12-27 14:31:31