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Biodiversity and Southern forestsAuthor(s): Eric T. Linder
Source: In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 25. p. 303-306.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionBiological diversity encompasses all levels of natural variation and includes molecular, genetic, and species levels. All of these factors contribute to diversity accumulated at the landscape scale. However, biodiversity is not equally dispersed across the landscape, but rather clustered in pockets. The Southeastern United States supports several biodiversity hotspots including the Southern Appalachians, the Panhandle of Florida and Alabama, and the Everglades. As landscapes continue to be modified by habitat fragmentation, loss, degradation, and conversion, many species cannot adapt and will eventually be extirpated. While the Southeast remains relatively forested, much of the region’s current forest exists as tree plantations. Some plantations have replaced agricultural land and constitute additional habitat for many forest species. Other plantations have been created from natural forested systems, and this kind of conversion has likely resulted in a less diverse and structurally simplified landscape—one that is less beneficial to most native species. Additionally, changes in the frequency and source of disturbance have severe implications for many southeastern ecosystems. For example, pine forests, pine savannas, and prairies all depend on fire for their persistence, albeit at varying frequencies.
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CitationLinder, Eric T. 2004. Biodiversity and Southern forests. In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 25. p. 303-306.
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