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24 March 2016 Vegetation analyses of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain Limestone Forest association
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Abstract

The South Atlantic Coastal Plain Limestone Forest is a globally imperiled (G2) association in the upper Coastal Plain of central Georgia. This calcareous forest, comprising several diverse plant communities, is floristically unique among Coastal Plain forests but its composition and structure have not been subjected to detailed study. Formal vegetation sampling and multivariate community analyses were conducted for seven sites in Bleckley, Houston, and Twiggs counties. The data generally support the current NatureServe definition of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain Limestone Forest but suggest replacing Chasmanthium sessiliflorum with Carex superata as a better representative species for the herbaceous stratum. Cluster and canonical correspondence analyses revealed two floristically defined domains (Bottomland and Upland/Slope), delimited mainly by moisture content and degree of inclination. These domains were each further divided into two subdomains and a total of 12 floristic entities defined by characteristics such as indicator species and soil variables. Communities delineated by the analyses allowed evaluation of some incongruities between several sites designated as the South Atlantic Coastal Plain Limestone Forest association by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and provided an objective review of overall site quality. This study also resulted in the discovery of two new high-quality sites of this forest association, and these data may further serve as a baseline for identification of additional areas to target for conservation and monitoring.

©Copyright 2016 by The Torrey Botanical Society
P. S. Lynch, W. B. Zomlefer, and J. L. Hamrick "Vegetation analyses of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain Limestone Forest association," The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 143(2), 135-168, (24 March 2016). https://doi.org/10.3159/TORREY-D-15-00004.1
Received: 18 January 2015; Published: 24 March 2016
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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