Habitats of North Carolina
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Upland Hardwood Forests
General Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
No image for this habitat.
General Description This habitat consists of closed-canopy upland stands of hardwoods, growing on somewhat dry ridges to somewhat mesic slopes. Floods, droughts, and fire are all infrequent to absent. Soils range from circumneutral and rich in nutrients to acidic and relatively nutrient-poor. In the Piedmont and Mountains, this habitat is widespread. In the Coastal Plain, stands are limited to slopes and bluffs that are fairly well-protected from fire.

Although the habitat itself is widespread and common, only a small number of species are narrow specialists on the set of environmental conditions represented by this habitat.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8. Landform: ridges and slopes. Slope Aspect: occurs on all slopes aspects as well as on ridges and flats. Soil Moisture: Dry to mesic. Soil texture: general upland soils, including a mixture of loam, clay, and sand. Soil pH: acidic to circumneutral. Soil Nutrient Content: rich to relatively poor.Microclimate: Warm to cool, relatively dry to humid. Hydrological Features: springs, seeps, and streams are common. Flood Frequency: ridges and upper slopes usually never flood. Fire Frequency: rare to infrequent. Drought Frequency: occasional on upper slopes. Ice Storm Damage: low to moderate. Wind Storm Damage: moderate. Insolation: the canopy is well-insolated but the lower strata generally are moderately- to well-shaded.

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: closed-canopy forests dominated by hardwood tree species. Strata: sparse to well-developed. Organic Shelter, Foraging, and Nesting Structures: woody debris and leaf litter are generally plentiful; the two animal species included in this habitat are both species that are strongly associated with tree trunks

Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Chrysogonum virginianum // Liriomyza helianthi

Determining Species
Mniotilta variaBlack-and-white WarblerG5S5S4S50.00010
Chrysogonum virginianumGreen-and-goldS50.00000
Elephantopus carolinianusCarolina Elephant-footG5S5S50.00000
Ruellia caroliniensisCarolina PetuniaG5S5S50.00000
Carex roseaRosy SedgeG5S4S40.00041
Nyssa sylvaticaBlack TupeloG5S5S50.00000
Oxydendrum arboreumSourwoodG5S5S50.00000
Quercus falcataSpanish OakG5S5S50.00000
Liriomyza helianthiSNR
Abagrotis alternataGreater Red Dart
Achatia distinctaDistinct Quaker
Phyllonorycter diversellaS2S40.00407
Epiglaea declivaSloping SallowS4S50.00010
Orocharis luteoliraFalse Jumping Bush CricketGNRS4S5S4S50.00010
Rhododendron periclymenoidesPink Azalea, Pinxster AzaleaG5S5S50.00000
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 12
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 12
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 5
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 7
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.58333
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.00478
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.00040
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 5 x 0.0004 = 0.002

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species We have moved Black-and-White Warbler from a straight S5 ranking to S4S5, reflecting its absence from large parts of its range, despite the presence of apparently suitable habitat; the implication is that it is vulnerable to at least some form of threat that could, in fact, be potentially present across its entire range. Even with that down-ranking, however, the Average Probability of Extirpation is only equivalent to a rank of S4 under our model. That rank indicates that this habitat falls below the threshold for conservation concern even though it is not considered completely secure within the state.

Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
Estimated Security of the Habitat With six species ranked as S5 and with two ranked as S4S5, this habitat appears to be quite secure, reflecting its widespread occurrence and general high degree of connectedness.

Index of Habitat Imperilment The combination of a low value of ENE, a high value of PSS, and no identified Historic or Extirpated Species, makes the value of HRI quite low. This habitat falls within our Tier 5 of Conservation Concern (0.005 ≥ HRI > 0), indicating that this habitat is essentially secure and has only a minimal priority for conservation actions.

Identified Risks Conversion and fragmentation of upland hardwoods is the main threat to this habitat. Most of these species can survive within partially forested residential areas, with the ground-nesting Black-and-white Warbler a notable exception.

Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Distribution This habitat is widespread, ranging from the Mountains to the Outer Coastal Plain. The Determining Species include a large number that have been well surveyed, resulting in the high percentages shown by the majority of counties. The low values shown by the low-lying counties adjoining the sounds is probably an accurate reflection.

Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
Updated on 2023-01-24 21:41:47