This study examined woody vegetation, edaphic factors, bedrock geochemistry, petrography, and outcrop structure to evaluate some of the community-structuring factors in an ultramafic terrain of Maryland. Analyzing the dynamic nature of combined geological and ecological processes can detect correlative relationships between factors that are typically considered as independent such as tectonically driven bedrock fracturing and ecological community interaction. This study provides evidence for structural variation in fracture density of bedrock as a partial control on tree species distribution in an ultramafic woodland/forest ecosystem. Increases in the number of bedrock fractures correlates negatively with plot-level volumetric soil moisture. Additionally, the degree of serpentinization of the ultramafic parent material results in compositional variation in Ca, Mg, and Ni of parent materials and soils. The combination of these factors provides a significant level of control on the distribution of xeric tree species.
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