Ecological Communities

Granite Outcrops Granite outcrops are areas where metamorphic rock has been naturally exposed at the surface. Sometimes these are more or less confluent with the surrounding soil surfaces while sometimes they form a dome like structure (ie Stone Mountain, GA). The thin soil on the outcrop margin as well as small depressions within support a unique plant community that include many rare plant species. Granite outcrops in Alabama can be mafic or acidic which yield entirely different plant assemblages though some species can occur on both types. Mafic granite outcrops share many species with limestone glades while acidic granite outcrops are more like sandstone outcrops.--B. Keener
Limestone glade An area where limestone is very close to the surface or exposed where thin layers of soil or soil pockets exist. Limestone glades are usually open areas most often without large trees. They are very dry through much of the growing season except when rain is plentiful in late winter and early spring. The pH is basic.
Pitcher Plant Bog Moist sandy acidic areas mostly along the coastal plain that are dominated by the carnivorous genus Sarracenia (Pitcher Plants) as well as other herbaceous plants. The habitat requires occassional fire to maintain balance and suppress the succession of woody plants.
Salt shrub A shrubland community that forms the ecotone between salt marsh and upland vegetation. Salinity levels are generally lower here than in the salt marsh (soil pore salinity ranges 7 ppt to 27 ppt); and the elevation is higher. Salt shrub does not usually develop on deep peat. More often, it occurs on a thin (0-10 cm) layer of peat, and soils share characteristics of both estuarine and maritime terrestrial settings.
Sandstone outcrop An area where sandstone is exposed at or just above substrate level in a fashion where shallow soil pockets exist. Sandstone outcrops are very dry through much of the year, however, vernal pools may exist in the spring months. The pH is acidic.