Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

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Larry Tucei
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Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:23 am

NTS- Kouta asked me a question. You have written a lot about the southeastern US. I guess southern Florida is some of the richest places in the US. But cove forests in the southern Appalachia are rich, too. Which one has more tree species in a small area, say in an acre, an exceptionally rich subtropical broadleaf forest in southern Florida or an exceptionally rich cove in the southern Appalachia? So in doing some research on your question I came across this site with a wealth of information about the North American Forests. https://www.safnet.org/publications/ame ... orests.pdf Even though this is a little outdated it is perhaps one of the best sites I have found on US Forests and has a wealth of information. Florida is very rich in diversity and so is Appalachia. Appalachia is a huge area streaching from Georgia to Virginia. Both places have similar species however Florida may have more per acre because it contains many species in southern Florida that do not grown in Appalachia. http://flame.fl-dof.com/apps/trees.php http://www.floridasnature.com/florida%20trees1.htm Not to take anything away from Appalachia the tallest trees in the Eastern US grow here. More than 100 native trees, 1,400 other flowering plants, and 500 moss and fern species are found in the Southern Appalachians. Nearly 60 kinds of trees and shrubs may grow in diverse cove hardwood forests. Spruce-fir forests occur at elevations above 5000 feet, northern hardwood and pine-oak forests occur at lower elevations, and hemlock forests occupy moist, streamside habitats. http://highlandsbiological.org/nature-c ... alachians/

Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by dbhguru » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:49 am

Larry,

If you go to http://www.dlia.org/smokies-species-tally, you can get an updated count of species, of all types, that have been identified in the Great Smoky Mountains NP. The total count is 18,200. Vascular plant count is 1,714. When a count gets that high, it is difficult to get the brain wrapped around it in terms of its value. I guess it should be seen as a measure of the Earth's fecundity and capacity to speciate. This, in turn, creates the vast web of life that sustains us. As humans continue to upset balances, it is unclear how well Mother Earth can compensate or adjust, but past natural cataclysmic events that extinguished vast ecosystems didn't prevent re-speciation. Interesting topic.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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Larry Tucei
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:08 pm

Bob- Thanks for the help. That is a tough question and I knew some of the NTS would jump in for more details on the subject. Larry

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KoutaR
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by KoutaR » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:59 am

Larry,

Thank you for answering my question! Southern Florida indeed seems to be richer. The Florida's Nature site says over 300 native tree spp.

Kouta

Joe

Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by Joe » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:30 am

KoutaR wrote:Larry,

Thank you for answering my question! Southern Florida indeed seems to be richer. The Florida's Nature site says over 300 native tree spp.

Kouta
enjoy it while you can- in a few hundred years, most of the state will be under water- though, since the water will be shallow, it may develop into an extremely rich coral reef....
Joe

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by Bart Bouricius » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:05 am

In may ways, Southern Florida is like an Island, and thus it probably has fewer native species than it would have if such subtropical forest continued on land further South. On the other hand it has a huge number of introduced species brought intentionally and otherwise, some of which are reeking havoc on the native plant and animal species. Though it is not really comparable, it would be interesting to compare the Southern half of Florida to the Southern tip of Texas in terms of species diversity, and I am sure this has been done. Other things that prevent Florida from having really tall trees such as Bald Cypress which should otherwise have great potential, is the flat terrain coupled with numerous hurricanes, and I believe the highest rate of lightning strikes for any state.

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KoutaR
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by KoutaR » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:30 am

Joe wrote:it may develop into an extremely rich coral reef...
... if the ocean acidification doesn't kill corals.

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gjschmidt
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by gjschmidt » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:53 pm

In terms of tree species per unit area, south Florida fairs quite well relative to Appalachia. It is rivaled by the Florida panhandle, and exceeded by them in terms of vascular plant diversity. See http://www.bonap.org/diversity/diversity/diversity.html for some maps I made a few years ago. See the BONAP Facebook page for a few newer tree maps.

The problem with tropical Florida is that many of the native trees may not be as large as those counted as trees further north (the official definition of "tree" in vegetation classifications is any woody plant exceeding 5 m or 16.4 ft in height). Sometime early this year I will try to categorize each species by size and plot another map. Initially I am considering trees that normally reach only in the 5 to 15 meter range as "small trees".
Last edited by gjschmidt on Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Greg Schmidt

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Don
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Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by Don » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:29 pm

gj-
I'm curious about your use of the...
"official definition in vegetation classifications is any woody plant exceeding 5 m or 16.4 ft in height", and where that might come from.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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gjschmidt
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Re: Re: Florida Tree Species Diversity vrs Appalachia

Post by gjschmidt » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:00 am

According to the US National Vegetation Classification Standard, this is a tree:
http://www.esapubs.org/archive/mono/M08 ... ndix-B.php


Tree - A woody plant that generally has a single main stem and a more or less definite crown. In instances where growth form cannot be readily determined, woody plants equal to or greater than 5 m in height at maturity are to be considered trees (adapted from FGDC 1997). Excludes krummholz (wind-stunted trees), but includes small trees or "treelets" (Box 1981). Tall multistemmed woody plants with strong canopy structure and which well exceed 5 m would be included here (e.g., mature, multi-stemmed Quercus ellipsoidalis in the United States or some Australian mallee eucalypts).
Greg Schmidt

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