Habitats of North Carolina
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Conifer Forests
General Dry-Xeric Pine Forests and Woodlands
General Description Key features of this habitat are species of Yellow Pines that grow primarily on well-drained upland sites. The pines sometimes form pure stands, particularly in areas undergoing early succession or where managed as plantations. Virginia Pine, in particular, grows on depleted agricultural lands, abandoned quarries, and other badly eroded sites. More often, the Pines belonging to this habitat occur mixed in with dry oaks and other hardwoods. All species in this group occur in at least two of the state's physiographic regions and are capable of surviving or recovering from droughts, fire and wind- and ice-storms.

Determining Plant Species of this habitat include both Shortleaf Pine, which occurs in most counties of the state, and Virginia Pine, which ranges from the far west to the Fall-line. A few other plant species that are associated with the Pines or occur in the same environmental conditions are also included.

Animal species belonging to this habitat include herbivores that specialize primarily on Shortleaf and Virginia Pines, although other dry pines, including Longleaf, Pitch, and Table Mountain, may also be used to some extent. Several reptile species are also included that are associated with dry, upland woodlands, particularly those that contain pines. Most of these species have their stronghold in the Fall-line Sandhills, where the dominant species of pine is Longleaf. All of the species included in this group, however, have populations that extend into the Piedmont, well beyond the range of Longleaf. Fence Lizards were probably originally confined to these habitats but in some areas appear to have become primarily woodland edge species, extending out from the forest into residential areas, where they are found in log piles, wooden fences, or on the sides of buildings.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: ridges and slopes. Slope Aspect: occurs primarily on south- and west-facing slopes aspects as well as on ridges. Soil Moisture: Dry to xeric. Soil texture: rocky, loamy, or sandy. Soil pH: acidic. Soil Nutrient Content: relatively poor.Microclimate: Warm to cool; dry to xeric. Hydrological Features: springs, seeps, and streams are scarce to absent. Flood Frequency: the ridges and upper slopes occupied by this habitat never flood. Fire Frequency: frequent in the sandhills, occasional in the Piedmont and Mountains. Drought Frequency: regular to occasional. Ice Storm Damage: moderate in the mountains, low elsewhere. Wind Storm Damage: moderate. Insolation: this habitat occurs primarily on very well insolated slopes and ridge tops; the canopy is typically open, allowing insolation of the lower strata

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: open woodlands. Strata: shrub thickets may be present but herbaceous species are usually sparse. Shelter: woody debris and leaf litter are generally plentiful except where fire frequency is high; pine bark on snags and fallen logs provide significant shelter for several species in this habitat

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Pinus species // Exoteleia pinifoliella-Macaria granitata-Zale metatoides
Pinus virginiana // Retinia virginiana-Rhyacionia frustrana-Zale bethunei
Pinus echinata // Moodna pallidostrinella-Zale confusa

Determining Species
Antrostomus carolinensisChuck-will's-widowG5S5S50.00000
Thorybes confusisConfused Cloudywing
Pinus echinataShortleaf PineG5S5S50.00000
Pinus virginiana Virginia PineG5S5S50.00000
Chrysopsis marianaMaryland GoldenasterG5S5S50.00000
Plestiodon inexpectatusSoutheastern Five-lined SkinkG5S5S50.00000
Sceloporus undulatusEastern Fence LizardG5S5S50.00000
Polyxenus fasciculatusG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Sigmoria stenolobaSNR
Retinia virginianaWenzel's Pitch-blister MothGNRS3S4S3S40.00132
Zale metataG5S3S4S3S40.00132
Zale metatoidesWashed-Out ZaleG5S3S4S3S40.00132
Exoteleia pinifoliellaPine Needleminer MothGNRS3S5S3S50.00041
Moodna pallidostrinellaPaler Moodna MothGNRS3S5S3S50.00041
Zale bethuneiBethune's ZaleG5S3S5S3S50.00041
Macaria granitataGranite MothG5S5S4S50.00010
Rhyacionia frustranaNantucket Pine Tip MothGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Zale confusaG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Amblytropidia mystecaBrown Winter GrasshopperG5S4S40.00041
Anaxipha thomasi Thomas's TrigGNRSUSU0.00202
Cemophora coccineaNorthern Scarlet SnakeG5S3S30.00407
Lampropeltis elapsoidesScarlet KingsnakeG5S3S30.00407
Pantherophis guttatusCorn SnakeG5S4S40.00041
Tantilla coronataSoutheastern Crowned SnakeG5S4S40.00041
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 22
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 22
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 16
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 6
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.27273
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.01698
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.00077
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 16 x 0.00077 = 0.01232

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species None of the Determining Species are of definite conservation concern; the highest state rank is S3. The average PE for this group is the equivalent under our model to a state rank of S4.

Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
Estimated Security of the Habitat Seven species in this habitat are considered secure in North Carolina and the Proportion of Secure Species, at 30% is moderately high. This is consistent with the widespread but somewhat fragmented of this habitat.

Index of Habitat Imperilment The combination of a low value of ENE, a high value of PSS, and no identified Historic or Extirpated Species produces a value of HRI that falls within our Tier 4 (0.05 ≥ HRI > 0.005) of Conservation Concern, indicating a low level of priority for conservation actions.

Identified Risks
Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
References Masters, R.E., 2007. The importance of shortleaf pine for wildlife and diversity in mixed oak-pine forests and in pine-grassland woodlands. In In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Gwaze, David, eds. Shortleaf pine restoration and ecology in the Ozarks: proceedings of a symposium; 2006 November 7-9; Springfield, MO. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-15. Newtown Square, PA: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 35-46. (Vol. 15). Accessible online at: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr_p-15%20papers/6masters-p-15.pdf
Updated on 2022-07-12 20:34:45