Pineywoods Ecosystems Dgital Gallery
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Welcome to the Pineywoods Ecosystems Gallery! (Version 17.10.1)

These galleries explore the local ecosystem types of "Pineywoods"-the forested eastern edge of Texas and the the ecologically-similar forests of adjacent Louisiana. Markedly different from most of Texas, tall stands of trees cover much of the gently rolling landscape. There is a rich variety of natural habitats: Upland pine-oak communities, remnants of once-extensive longleaf pine woodlands, rich "mesic" deciduous forests on sheltered slopes and along small streams, and vast "bottomland hardwood" forests on the floodplains of the region's numerous rivers. The climate is warm and humid; some areas experience as much as 50" (1270 mm) of rainfall a year. Timber, poultry, oil and gas extraction and ranching are among the important local industries and much of the Pineywoods remains relatively free from urbanization. Public lands such as Kisatchie National Forest (Louisiana), the National Forests & Grasslands of Texas the Big Thicket National Preserveand thePineywoods Native Plant Center on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University inNacogdoches enable one to easily explore the rich and varied natural environment.

These pages provide images of both local ecosystems and the plants typically found in them. They reflect the characteristic natural or near-natural (usually forested) plant assemblages which develop in an ecosystem over time in the absence of extensive human disturbance and only touch on high-disturbance ecosystems. However, vegetation in a location is a function of both natural environmental factors (soils, topography, and climate) and any management or disturbance a site has experienced; the plant communities on disturbed or heavily managed sites may be rather different from the "potential natural" communities described here.

The gallery is a "spin-off" from more than 14 years of research aimed at developing an ecological classification system (ECS) for National Forest lands in Texas and Louisiana (Van Kley et al 2007). ECS aims to classify forest lands into "ecological Units" on the basis of a given site's topographic features, soil properties, and potential natural vegetation. A summary of these ecological units appears in the introduction to the "Illustrated Flora of East Texas Volume I" (Diggs et al. 2006). Other literature describing Pineywoods habitats includes Marks and Harcombe (1981), Harcombe et al. (1983), Van Kley and Hine (1998), Van Kley 1999a, and Van Kley 1999b). Botanical nomenclature follows Diggs et al. (2006) for ferns, Lycophytes, gymnosperms, and monocots and Kartesz (1999) for all other vascular plants.

Our aim is to reconnect students, laymen, and professionals with the plants and ecosystems that form the foundation of both the ecology and economy of east Texas. We hope you enjoy this window into the natural world of this fascinating, and to many,little known, part of North America.

What's New

  • 26 October 2017. Version 17.10. A complete re-compilation of the galleries: Inclusion of a species is now largely based on statistical analyis of sample plots. Galleries are derived from multivariate classification (mainly TWINSPAN and flexible B cluster analysis) of field data from 680 forest stands from throughout the Pineywoods followed by indicator species analysis (ISA) of the resulting groups inorder to generate lists of species statistically associated with differences among the groups. Maintenence revision 10/02/18 (ver. 17.10.1).
  • 10 June 2010 (Version 10.06): A new ecosystem (high flood-energy streambanks) was added and several corrections were made as part of a major revision of the parent Pineywoods Plants gallery.
  • 13 May, 2008 (Version 8.05): The Pineywoods Ecosystems gallery was launched as a part of revisions to its parent gallery "Pineywoods Plants" which consists of photographs of plants from far east Texas.


Pine-diminated uplands in the Pineywoods

Rich, "mesic" deciduous florest along stream in Texas
Floodplains and swamps in the Texas Pineywoods

Copyright © 2002-2018, James Van Kley .
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© James Van Kley
Last updated: 10/03/2018.