Habitats of North Carolina
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Members of Longleaf Pine Woodlands:
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Longleaf Pine Woodlands
General Longleaf Woodlands
General Description Longleaf Pine dominated woodlands were once a major feature of the southeastern Coastal Plains but were reduced over 90% of their former range due to logging in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The habitat described here includes stands where Longleaf Pine is the dominant species, usually with Carolina Wiregrass (Aristida stricta) dominant in the herb layer. This habitat covers the entire range of moisture regimes, from wet to xeric. Species that are associated primarily with either the wet or the dry types of Longleaf woodlands are treated separately, as are species associated with open barrens or with either the hardwood components of pine-scrub oak woodlands or the herbaceous flora characteristic of savannas and sandhill seeps. All members of this habitat are adapted to frequent fire.

Plants included as Determining Species of this habitat include both Longleaf Pine and Carolina Wiregrass. Herbaceous species associated with Longleaf Pine are otherwise treated mainly in the Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands habitat or Coastal Plain Dry-Mesic Woodlands. Animal members include herbivores that specialize on either Longleaf Pine or Carolina Wiregrass. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is also included, which characteristically digs its nest cavities in Longleaf Pine; although it can make use of other pine species, we estimate that over 80% of its occurrences in North Carolina are associated with this particular species. Other animals that show similar high fidelity to Longleaf Pine woodlands of both dry and wet types are included in this habitat.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to the Fall-line Sandhills. USDA Hardiness Zones: 7b-8a. Landform: ridges and slopes to wet flats. Slope Aspect: occurs on south- and west-facing slopes aspects as well as on ridges and flats. Soil Moisture: Dry to wet. Soil texture: sandy to loamy. Soil pH: acidic. Soil Nutrient Content: relatively poor.Microclimate: Warm; dry to humid. Hydrological Features: seepage runs and pools are frequent but not always present. Flood Frequency: the ridges and upper slopes occupied by this habitat never flood but wet flats may be flooded for several hours to days Fire Frequency: frequent. Drought Frequency: regular to occasional. Ice Storm Damage: rare. Wind Storm Damage: moderate to severe (subject to hurricanes). Insolation: typically semi-open, allowing some insolation of the lower strata

Biotic Structure Key Species: Longleaf Pine is dominant in the canopy; Wiregrass is typically dominant in the herb layer. Vegetation Type: open-canopy woodlands. Strata: understory and shrub layers are typically sparse; herb-layer is typically well-developed. Organic Shelter, Foraging, and Nesting Structures: woody debris and leaf litter are generally scarce due to frequent fire. Thick herb layers provide the majority of shelter for ground-dwelling animals.

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Liatris species // Schinia sanguinea
Pinus palustris // Macaria distribuaria

Determining Species
Dryobates borealisRed-cockaded WoodpeckerG3S2S20.03699
Peucaea aestivalisBachman's SparrowG3S3S30.00407
Pinus palustrisLong-leaf PineG5S5S50.00000
Aristida strictaPineland Three-awn GrassG5S4S40.00041
Pendarus auroalbusGold and White LeafhopperSNR
Ophisaurus mimicusMimic Glass LizardG3S1S10.33330
Schinia sanguineaBleeding Flower MothG4S2S3S2S30.01230
Crambidia puraPure Lichen MothG4S3S30.00407
Gabara pulverosalisan owlet mothS3S40.00132
Schinia tuberculuma flower mothS3S40.00132
Macaria distribuariaSouthern Chocolate AngleG4S4S40.00041
Euchlaena madusariaScrub Euchlaena MothG4S4S5S4S50.00010
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 11
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 11
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 10
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 1
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.09091
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.39429
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.03584
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 10 x 0.03584 = 0.3584

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species Both S1 and S2 species are included in this habitat and the Average PE is equivalent to a state rank of S2, indicating a high degree of conservation concern.

Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
Estimated Security of the Habitat Only a single species, Longleaf Pine, is considered secure in the state, reflecting a fairly significant effort to restore at least this one species. The Proportion of Secure Species, at 9%, however, is low, reflecting the high degree of fragmentation of this habitat as a whole.

Index of Habitat Imperilment The combination of a fairly high Average PE, a low value of PSS, but a fairly low number of species produces an HRI that fall within our Tier 3 of Conservation Concern (0.5 ≥ HRI > 0.05), which indicates a moderate priority for conservation efforts.

Identified Risks Longleaf Pine itself has been exploited for centuries, with massive, destructive cutting taking place late in the 19th and early 20th Centuries (Early, 2004). Conversion of Longleaf Habitats to silviculture, agriculture, residential and golf course development have been major sources of loss in the 20th Century. Fire suppression has been a particularly significant cause of habitat degradation over the past 50 years.

Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
References Earley, L.S., 2004. Looking for Longleaf: the Fall and Rise of an American forest. Univ of North Carolina Press

Sorrie, B.A., 2011. A field guide to wildflowers of the Sandhills Region: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Univ of North Carolina Press.

Updated on 2023-01-24 22:20:07