Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Longleaf Pine / Inkberry - Saw Palmetto Woodland Group
Colloquial Name: Mesic Longleaf Pine Flatwoods - Spodosol Woodland
Hierarchy Level: Group
Type Concept: This group represents open woodlands of Pinus palustris found on flat sites with Spodosol soils. These are mostly uplands but are moist flatwoods. These open woodlands have irregularly scattered trees of Pinus palustris and a grass-dominated herbaceous layer. There tends to be a high diversity of forbs (broadleaf herbaceous plants), especially in sites that have been burned frequently (i.e., every 1-3 years). This group does not include dry nor dry-mesic Pinus palustris habitats, but represents those that have more available moisture, at least seasonally. It also does not include the wettest flatwoods, which are found in a different group. The vegetation of this group is found from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas, including most of Florida. It does not occur in the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain.
Diagnostic Characteristics: This moist flatwoods vegetation is naturally dominated by Pinus palustris, and is found on flat sites with Spodosol soils.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Group should be reviewed by R. Peet to ensure it is well-described.
Similar NVC Types:
G005 South Florida Slash Pine Rockland, note:
G009 Dry-Mesic Loamy Longleaf Pine Woodland, note:
G176 Florida Dry Prairie, note:
G190 Wet-Mesic Longleaf Pine Open Woodland, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: These are open woodlands. The trees are primarily needle-leaved evergreen conifers and often are straight, well-formed, and moderately tall. Open canopies and grass-dominated understories are typical of sites managed with prescribed fire. Sites lacking a hardwood midstory were more prevalent prior to the twentieth century. Serenoa repens is a dwarf palm shrub which is common in southern examples of this vegetation. These forests occur in flat lower coastal plain landscapes.
Floristics: This vegetation is naturally dominated by Pinus palustris. Low shrubs, mostly ericaceous, may be abundant, such as Vaccinium spp. and Ilex spp. In addition, Serenoa repens is a characteristic species, particularly in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. East of the Mississippi River, Aristida stricta (in North and South Carolina) or Aristida beyrichiana (from South Carolina to Mississippi) is usually the dominant or at least a characteristic herb. In central South Carolina and west of the Mississippi River, both of the Aristida species are absent and various other grass species dominate (Andropogon spp., among others). Some of these mesic flatwoods associations have among the highest species richness values measured at the 1/10-ha scale. Forbs, especially composites, are usually also an important herb component, and lichens are abundant in some associations. Some typical mesic to dry-mesic herbaceous species include Andropogon ternarius, Andropogon gyrans var. gyrans, Schizachyrium scoparium, Sorghastrum nutans, and Panicum virgatum. Stands in south-central Florida may contain Panicum abscissum.
Dynamics: Frequent fire is the predominant natural disturbance of this group. Sites naturally burned every few years, many averaging as often as every two years. Fires are naturally low to moderate in intensity. They burn above-ground parts of herbs and shrubs but have little effect on the fire-tolerant Pinus palustris trees. Vegetation recovers very quickly from fire, with live herbaceous biomass often restored in just a few weeks after growing season fire. Many plants have their flowering triggered by burning. In the absence of fire, species which are less able to withstand fire increase. Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus nigra, Ilex spp., and other shrubs are reduced by fire, but without fire these broad-leaved woody plants can become tall and dense and can reduce Pinus palustris tree regeneration. Herb layer density and diversity decline in the absence of fire. On most soils, vegetation undergoes substantial structural alteration and reduction in species richness after just a few years without burning. Canopies are naturally many-aged, consisting of a fine mosaic of small even-aged patches of Pinus palustris driven by regeneration in canopy gaps. Longleaf pine is shade-intolerant and slow to reach reproductive age but is very long-lived. Some insect populations recolonize burned areas from nearby unburned patches. Sites managed with late spring or growing season prescribed fire provide high arthropod biomass (James et al. 2001, Taylor 2003).
Environmental Description: Climate: Longleaf pine grows in humid, warm temperate climates characterized by hot summers and mild winters. Annual mean temperatures range from 16-23°C (60-74°F). Annual precipitation ranges from 109 to 175 cm (43-69 inches) (Boyer 1990). Fall is the driest season of the year, although periods of drought during the growing season are not unusual (Boyer 1990). Soil/substrate/hydrology: Soils are typically mesic to moist Spodosols.
Geographic Range: The vegetation of this group is found from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas, including most of Florida. It does not occur in the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain.
States/Provinces: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, VA
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Confident or certain
Southern Atlantic Coastal Plains and Flatwoods Section
Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions: 35:C, 35a:C, 35c:C, 35e:C, 35g:C, 63:C, 63e:C, 63h:C, 65:C, 65c:C, 65d:C, 65f:C, 65g:C, 65h:C, 65i:C, 65k:C, 65l:C, 65m:C, 65o:C, 65q:C, 74:C, 74c:C, 75:C, 75b:C, 75c:C, 75d:C, 75e:C, 75f:C, 75h:C
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Synonomy: = Flatwoods (Peet 2006)
= Flatwoods - mesic flatwoods (Myers 1990a)
> Longleaf Pine - Slash Pine: 83 (Eyre 1980)
>< Longleaf Pine: 70 (Eyre 1980)
= Mesic Flatwoods (FNAI 2010a)
= Pine Flatwoods (Edwards et al. 2013)
Concept Author(s): R.K. Peet (2006)
Author of Description: M. Pyne and C.W. Nordman
Acknowledgements: K. Palmquist, R. Peet
Version Date: 12May2015
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