Lindera melissifolia is a federally endangered wetland shrub endemic to the Southeastern Coastal Plain and the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Lindera melissifolia is known to occupy seasonally flooded habitats, but little work has been done to describe habitat characteristics in the Southeastern Coastal Plain region. This research uses vegetation and environmental data collected from 50 plots in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to develop a habitat classification and description for L. melissifolia in the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Cluster analysis, nonmetric multidimensional scaling, indicator species analysis, and analysis of variance were used to assign plots to four distinct isolated wetland habitat types. Swamp Tupelo Depression Pond and Successional Swamp Forest communities supported the densest and healthiest L. melissifolia populations, followed by Pond-Cypress Pond and Pocosin, and Limestone Sink Forest habitats. Habitat degradation and other forms of disturbance were found to impact L. melissifolia populations in this region. This classification and description can be used to advance overall understanding of L. melissifolia ecology, and to provide specific habitat requirement information to land managers in the Southeastern Coastal Plain.
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Vol. 78 • No. 4