Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of Floodplain Forests:
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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
Taxa Global RankState RankProbability of Extirpation (PE)
Buteo lineatus - Red-shouldered Hawk G5S50.00
Protonotaria citrea - Prothonotary Warbler G5S50.00
Strix varia - Barred Owl G5S40.0007
Carex louisianica - Louisiana Sedge G5S40.0007
Cinna arundinacea - Sweet Woodreed G5S50.00
Commelina virginica - Virginia Dayflower G5S50.00
Dioscorea villosa - Wild Yam G5S50.00
Penthorum sedoides - Ditch-stonecrop G5S40.0007
Persicaria setacea - Bog Smartweed G5S50.00
Trepocarpus aethusae - White-nymph G4G5S10.3584
Dyspyralis nigellus GNRS3S40.0020
Phalaenostola eumelusalis - Dark Phalaenostola Moth GNRS4S50.0002
Rivula stepheni - Stephen's Spotted Grass Moth GNRSU0.0020
Epiaeschna heros - Swamp Darner G5S50.00
Epitheca spinosa - Robust Baskettail G4S40.0007
Gomphaeschna antilope - Taper-tailed Darner G4S40.0007
Gomphaeschna furcillata - Harlequin Darner G5S4S50.0002
Ischnura prognata - Furtive Forktail G4S3S40.0020
Libellula axilena - Bar-winged Skimmer G5S50.00
Libellula vibrans - Great Blue Skimmer G5S50.00
Nasiaeschna pentacantha - Cyrano Darner G5S4S50.0002
Sympetrum ambiguum - Blue-faced Meadowhawk G5S50.00
Pseudotriton montanus
Quercus lyrata - Overcup Oak G5S50.00
Quercus palustris - Pin Oak G5S20.0460
Thyrsanthella difformis - Climbing Dogbane G5S50.00
Expected Number of Extirpations with a PE value (Sum of PE) = 0.4145
N = Number of Extant Species with a PE value = 13
Average PE = ENE/N = 0.0319
Number of S5 species = 12
Proportion of Secure Species = Number of S5 Species/N = 0.9231
Habitat Risk Index = ENE x (1 – PSS) = 0.0319

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 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