Pineywoods Ecosystems Dgital Gallery
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The Three Pineywoods Landscapes

Most natural Pineywoods habitats can be found on one of 3 “principal landscapes”. Pine-dominated uplands typically occur on mid to upper slopes, ridgetops, and on broad, rolling upland interfluves. Most natural plant communities are dominated either by pines or by a mixture of pines and deciduous angiosperm (hardwood) trees. Occasionally, forests largely composed of upland oak species and hickories many occur. Rarely, extreme soil conditions (usually heavy clay, glauconitic shales, sandstone outcrops, or saline soils) result in natural forest openings. Pine-dominated uplands are the main landscape in most locales.

Mesic slopes, ravines, terraces, and stream bottoms occur on the lower portions of the major slopes that lead down to rivers and streams, in the valleys and ravines of small streams, and on higher, non-flooded terraces adjacent to stream and river floodplains. They typically enjoy higher soil moisture and nutrient levels than pine-dominated uplands, were historically sheltered from fire, and natural stands usually consist of deciduous hardwoods often with scattered loblolly pines. Of all local habitat types, these forests show the closest affinity to the temperate deciduous forests of the Midwestern and northeastern US.

River floodplains, the third major landscape, are the broad floodplains of the larger streams, bayous, and rivers that wind through the Pineywoods. Flood-tolerant deciduous hardwoods dominate most natural floodplains while baldcypress occupies the deepest swamps. In the south and east of the region, water tupello often co-occurs with baldcypress.

The Galleries

Each gallery provides both landscape scenes of the ecosystem type and images of the plants typically found there. One can recognize three categories of species when describing a habitat type: 1) indicator species: species which are statistically associated with habitat differences accross a data set representing the range of ecosytem types and achieve their maximum abundnace and frequency in the given ecosystem type but are less frequent, rare, or absent from others. The presence of such a species is an excellent indicator of ecosystyem type. 2) characteristic species: Species that are usually present (>40% of the time for most of our galleries) and often common in a given ecological type but are more frequent and common in at least one other other ecosystyem type. The presence of such species do not alone indicate the ecosystyem type but in combination with other plants they provide a good indication of the habitat.  3) Rare and unusual species that occurr too sporadically to be statistically associated with habitat differences but are nearly always observed on the given ecossytem type. These species are often of conservation concern. All three types of species appear in the galleries.  

Select the desired landscape type from the key below and click on the appropriate link or photo.

Key to Groups of Ecosystyem Types

Sites are on mid to upper slopes, ridgetops, and  broad, rolling upland interfluves. Most natural plant communities are dominated either by pines or by a mixture of pines and deciduous trees. Pine-dominated uplands

Pine-Dominated uplands

Pine-Dominated uplands

Sites are on slopes, in the valleys and ravines of small streams, and on non-flooded high terraces adjacent to river floodplains. Natural stands usually consist of deciduous trees often mixed with loblolly pine. Mesic slopes, terraces, ravines, and stream bottoms

Mesic slopes, teraces, & stream bottoms Mesic slopes, teraces, & stream bottoms

Sites are on are the broad floodplains of the larger streams, bayous, and rivers that wind through the Pineywoods. Flood-tolerant deciduous hardwoods dominate most natural floodplains while baldcypress often occupies the deepest swamps. River floodplains

Floodplains and Swamps Floodplains and Swamps

Copyright 2002-2017 James Van kley
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James Van Kley
Last updated: 10/26/2017.