Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of Upland Hardwood Forests:
« »
Upland Hardwood Forests
General Mesic Hardwood Forests
General Description This habitat consists of hardwood forests with relatively cool micro-climates and high soil moisture. They occur across the state on north- and east-facing slopes that do not receive full insolation during the warmest part of the day. They also occur in ravines along streams and in the higher, infrequently flooded terraces along larger streams and rivers. In the Mountains, these conditions are generally present in all hardwood forests located above 4,000'.

This habitat is the most generalized of the mesic hardwood habitats, occurring across the state and associated with both loammy and sandy soils, and with moderately low to moderately high pH and soil nutrients.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: slopes and bluffs over most of the state but also on ridges in the Mountains. Slope Aspect: north and east facing in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain but all aspects in the Mountains. Soil Moisture: Mesic. Soil texture: loamy, permitting burrowing by fossorial species; rocks are often present on the surface of slopes and in the mountains extensive areas of talus can be present. Soil pH: acidic to circumneutral. Soil Nutrient Content: nutrient poor to rich. Microclimate: Cool and humid. Hydrological Features: springs and seeps are common, particularly at the interface between slopes and bottomlands. Fire Frequency: very rare. Drought Frequency: uncommon to rare. Ice Storm Damage: low to moderate. Wind Storm Damage: moderate. Insolation: canopies are well insolated, lower strata are deeply shaded.

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: closed-canopy forests composed of broadleaf, deciduous trees over most of the state but with Eastern Hemlocks prominent in the Mountains . Strata: Subcanopy, shrub, and herb-layers well-defined but often sparse. Woody debris and leaf litter: logs and fallen branches are common; leaf litter can be plentiful, as under deciduous forests in general, but its build-up may be limited due to erosion and general downhill slippage on the steep slopes characteristic of this habitat

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Andersonglossum virginianum // Ethmia trifurcella
Fagus grandifolia // Dasylophia thyatiroides-Epifagus virginiana-Ethmia trifurcella
Hydrangea species // Ecliptopera atricolorata
Liriodendron tulipifera // Callosamia angulifera-Euzophera ostricolorella-Phyllocnistis liriodendronella
Magnoliaceae species // Paralobesia liriodendrana

Determining Species
Grylloprociphilus imbricatorBeech Blight AphidSNR
Elytrimitatrix undataa long-horned beetleGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Andersonglossum virginianumWild ComfreyG5S3S30.00407
Aplectrum hyemalePuttyrootG5S4S40.00041
Asclepias quadrifoliaWhorled MilkweedG5S4S40.00041
Epifagus virginianaBeechdropsG5S5S50.00000
Euonymus americanusAmerican Strawberry-bushG5S5S50.00000
Galium circaezansWild LicoriceG5S5S50.00000
Hepatica americanaRound-lobed Hepatica, Round-lobed LiverleafG5S5S50.00000
Stellaria puberaGiant ChickweedG5S5S50.00000
Thalictrum thalictroidesWindflowerG5S5S50.00000
Zizia trifoliataMeadow AlexandersG5S5S50.00000
Fagus grandifoliaAmerican BeechG5S5S50.00000
Liriodendron tulipiferaTulip-tree, Yellow Poplar, WhitewoodG5S5S50.00000
Magnolia tripetalaUmbrella MagnoliaS50.00000
Quercus rubraNorthern Red OakG5S5S50.00000
Apheloria tiganaPeach-pit Millipede
Metarranthis hypochrariaCommon Metarranthis Moth
Orthodes detractaDisparaged Arches
Yponomeuta multipunctellaAmerican Ermine Moth
Ethmia trifurcellaGNRSUS2S30.01230
Acronicta tristisa dagger mothGNRS3S4S3S40.00132
Ecliptopera atricolorataDark-banded GeometerGNRS3S4S3S40.00132
Hydriomena pluviataSharp Green Hydriomena MothG4S3S4S3S40.00132
Pyreferra hesperidagoMustard SallowS3S40.00132
Paralobesia liriodendranaTulip-tree Leaftier MothGNRS3S5S3S50.00041
Oneida lunulalis Orange-tufted Oneida MothGNRS4S40.00041
Dasylophia thyatiroidesGray-patched Prominent MothG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Euzophera ostricolorellaa pyralid mothGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Phyllocnistis liriodendronellaa leaf blotch miner mothGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Zanclognatha laevigataVariable Zanclognatha MothG5S4S5S4S50.00010
Callosamia anguliferaTulip-tree SilkmothG5S5S50.00000
Eunemobius confususConfused Ground CricketGNRSUS3S50.00041
Plethodon cylindraceusWhite-spotted Slimy SalamanderG5S5S50.00000
Crataegus calpodendronPear HawthornG5SHS20.03699
Styrax grandifoliusBigleaf SnowbellG5S4S40.00041
Hydrangea arborescensWild HydrangeaG5S5S50.00000
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 32
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 32
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 18
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 14
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.43750
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.06160
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.00193
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 18 x 0.00193 = 0.03474

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species One species, Crataegus calpodendron, is considered Historic by the Natural Heritage Program but may be under-surveyed; the Vascular Plants of North Carolina suggests a rank of S2 instead, which we adopt here. No other member of this habitat are listed higher than S3 and the Average PE is equivalent to a State Rank of S3.

Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
Estimated Security of the Habitat Fourteen of the species in this habitat are considered secure in North Carolina and the Proportion of Secure Species, 44%, is moderately high. Although limited to fairly protected sites with high moisture levels, this species is common across the state with examples in the mountains being particularly extensive.

Index of Habitat Imperilment The combination of a low value of ENE, a moderately high value of PSS, and no identified Historic or Extirpated Species (discounting Crataegus calpodendron), makes the value of HRI quite low. It falls within our Tier 4 Level of Conservation Concern (0.05 ≥ HRI > 0.005), meriting only a low priority for conservation actions.

Identified Risks
Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
Updated on 2022-07-21 00:58:49