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The Black Belt region of Mississippi and Alabama has long been reported to contain prairies. To assess the extent and distribution of these prairies, this study examined historical accounts of prairie in the region, compiled a map based on surveyors' plat maps from the 1830s and compared the flora of existing prairie fragments with other open ecosystems in the Southeast using data from the literature. Numerous historical accounts attest to the presence in the Black Belt of prairies of varying sizes, discretely bounded by forest. Surveys from the 1830s show that approximately 144,000 hectares of prairie were present in the Black Belt. Fragments of remaining prairie appear most similar in composition with other southeastern prairies, as well as nearby open ecosystems. This evidence suggests that Black Belt prairies were a relatively small but distinctive ecosystem in the region.
Seven forest community types are described for a 2,100 ha study area in the lower Bluestone River Gorge in southern West Virginia. This is a remote, steeply sloped area, part of a large natural area that provides habitat to several plants not known elsewhere in the state. It is an example a topographic setting underrepresented in quantitative studies of forest vegetation in the region. Forest types were derived from cluster analysis of quantitative data on composition and structure of large tree (dbh ≥ 10 cm) strata obtained from 51 0.1 ha quadrats, the majority of which were included in a series of eleven transects that extended from the bottom of the gorge to a point near the rim. Multi-response permutation procedures verified the community classification. Mean topographic and soil characteristics for each community type were then compared using analysis of variance. The community types recognized conform to forest cover-types widely distributed throughout the region. Non-metric dimensional scaling indicates that topographic variables have a strong influence on the distribution of community types within the gorge. However, due to the presence of limestones and calcareous shales at midslope position, variation in soil nutrient quality tended to account for more of the variation in vegetative composition. Various species of Quercus were prominent overstory trees in six of seven community types. The continued dominance of Quercus spp. seems most likely on the more nutrient poor, west- southwest-facing sites at mid- to upper-slope positions. On more mesic, better quality growing sites, Acer saccharum and A. rubrum exhibit overwhelming importance in the understory and are likely to increase in importance.
A taxonomic study of collections previously identified as Isoetes melanospora, I. piedmontana, and I. tegetiformans was undertaken emphasizing vegetative characters. The taxonomic position of I. piedmontana was also assessed using cytogeography and a cursory examination of the allozyme locus TPI-2. Isoetes melanospora, I. piedmontana, and I. tegetiformans can be sufficiently distinguished using characters derived from leaves and corms. Isoetes piedmontana occurs as diploid, triploid, and allotetraploid entities. Diploids in the western and eastern parts of the geographic range are genetically distinct. Allotetraploids in eastern Alabama are composed of different genomes than those in North Carolina. Isoetes piedmontana is currently interpreted as an assemblage of morphologically indistinguishable species and is undergoing further taxonomic investigation. The typification of I. piedmontana is clarified, and a key with descriptions of the granite outcrop Isoetes species of the southeastern United States Piedmont is provided.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida, is administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, and comprises 8.5 ha (20.5 acres) including the moat and expansive embankment (glacis) surrounding the historic fortress, as well as landscaping adjacent to parking lots and park headquarters. A floristic survey was conducted to provide park service personnel with a vouchered plant species checklist for the entire park, including the flourishing flora supported by the 10 m (33 ft) tall fort walls. Four intensive collecting trips conducted in 2003–04 yielded 153 species of plants in 129 genera of 61 families, including 56 species growing on the coquina walls of the fortress. Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Fabaceae had the largest number of species. Diagrams of the fort and photographs of representative plant species on the shellstone walls are also provided. Control measures for the wall vegetation are briefly discussed.