Texas Piney Woods

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Forest Range Types of Eastern North America
 

The fundamental and practical distinction between coniferous and deciduous forests is useful (and was used herein), but precise, non-arbitrary "lines" are impossible when presenting and discussing forest range types in the eastern half of the continent. This is especially the case when climax or potential natural vegetation is used as the basis for forest types (ie. when cover types, or the more specific management cover types, are discussed as being more or less synonymous with permanent forest types). As discussed in detail below, the epic work of Lucy Braun (1950) is still the definitive basis for the ecological discussion and classification of those North American forests which extend from the Atlantic Coast to slightly beyond the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages. Braun (1950) included all the coniferous forests (forest types, regions, etc.)-- the generic "southeastern pine region"--as part of her one Deciduous Forest Formation. 

The forest range types included in the following section include coniferous, deciduous, and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests. This is confusing but unavoidable given the nature of the vegetation and the standard understanding (the Braun interpretation) of ecological relations and classification of  this forest vegetation. Most of the southeastern pine types presented are management cover types maintained silviculturally as more economically valuable coniferous forests rather than as the climax mixed hardwood-pine forest types. In other words, efforts were made to fit the Society of American Foresters (1980) cover types with the climax types of Braun (1950) and the potential natural vegetation units of Kuchler (1966).      

The major forest communities or forest zones of eastern North America are broad or wide in their spatial patterns unlike the narrow zonation characteristic of the forests of western North America. The “young” mountains of the western part of the continent are taller (in fact, still getting taller) and as a result have more elevation-based zonation of vegetation than do the geologically older and more eroded (lower) eastern mountains such as the Applachians or Ozarks. So too, are the soils of the Atlantic Coast more zonal (ie. major soil units are larger or broader in spational dimension like those of the vast continental interior whereas soils of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Slope ranges are more of the intrazonal spatial scale. See for illustration the national soil map of dominant soil orders and suborders (Soil Survey Staff, 1998).

 Vankat (1979, p. 137) wrote that relief within the eastern deciduous forest “is quite variable” yet earlier Vankat (1979, p. 41) had also correctly noted that “low hills “ were characteristic of much of this deciduous forest region. Again, contrast this with the extreme physiography of the Rockys or Sierra Nevada-Cascade Ranges.

The classic and still-definitive work on forests of eastern North America (approximately east of the 98th meridian) is the life’s work of Dr. Lucy Barun (1950). Braun interpreted this entire vegetation as one great forest formation existing as a mosaic of forest regions which in turn were made up of community units that she labeled variously as belts, areas, districts, sections, divisions, etc.    

“The Deciduous Forest Formation of eastern North America is a complex vegetation unit most conspicuously characterized by the prevalence of the deciduous habit of most of its woody constituents. This gives to it a certain uniformity of phsiognomy, with alternating summer green and winter leafless aspects. Evergreen species, both broad-leaved and needle-leaved, occur in the arboreal and shrub layers, patticularly in seral stages  and in marginal and transitional areas. They are not, however, entirely lacking even in some centrally loocated climax communities” (Braun, 1950, p. 31). “The Deciduous Forest Formation is made up of a number of climax associations differing from one another in floristic compositon, in physiogonomy, and in genesis or historical origin. While the delimitation of associations may be made on a basis of dominant species, and it is from these that the climax is named, dominants alone fo not suffice for the recognition of these units. … Although the delimitation in space of an association is difficult, if not impossible, it is entirely possible to recognize and to map forest regions which are characterized by the prevalence of specific climax types, or by mosaics of types. These regions are natural entities, generally with readily observable natural boundaries based on vegetational features. … Forest regions must not be confused with climax associations. Even though a region is named for the climax association normally developing within it, it should not be assumed that the region is coextensive with the area where that climax can develop. Each of the several climaxes, although characterizing a specific region, nevertheless occurs in other regions.” (Braun, 1950, p. 33-34). Braun (1950, ps. 35-37) listed nine forest regions making up the Deciduous Forest Formation of eastern North America:

                1. Mixed Mesophytic Forest Region,

                2. Western Mesophytic Forest Region,

                3. Oak-Hickory Forest Region,

                4. Oak-Chestnut Forest Region,

                5. Oak Pine Forest Region,

                6. Southeastern Evergreen Forest Region,

                7. Beech-Maple Forest Region,

                8. Maple-Basswood Forest Region, and

                9. Eastern Hemlock-Eastern White Pine-Northern Hardwoods Region.

 Braun (1950, ps. 11-12) interpreted these same combinations of species as forest communities at the scale (both spatial, mostly, and, also, temporal) of climax association  from which, as quoted immediately above, Braun derived the names of forest regions. Braun (1950, ps. 11-12) distinguished between the association-abstract and the association-concrete, a distinction discussed in the review of the derivation of vegetation cover type from the concept of plant association. The Braun association is the association of F.E. Clements. Indeed the entire ecological paradigm on which Braun (1950, ps. 10-15) based her monographic treatment of the North American Deciduous Formation is Clementisan except allowance for and inclusion of edaphic and physiographic climaxes of Cowles, Tansley, etc.  Vankat (1979, ps. 137-150) and Delcourt and Delcourt in Barbour and Billings (2000, ps. 365-378) described eastern deciduous forest vegetation under the Braun (1950) associations of the Clementsian model.

It is important to bear in mind that the Braun associations can occur in more than the one forest region bearing the name of the association (eg. the Oak-Pine Association commonly occurs and the Maple-Basswood Association infrequently occurs in parts of the Oak-Hickory Forest Region).

Several of the species combinations that delineate deciduous forest regions and associations were also used as forest cover types by the Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980) as for example White Pine-Hemlock (SAF 22), White Pine-Northern Red Oak-Red Maple (SAF 20), Sugar Maple-Basswood (SAF 26), and Beech-Sugar Maple (SAF 60). The Society of American Foresters emphasized that it’s forest cover types were “based on existing tree cover” (… forest as they are today…”) and that some types may be climax while others are “transitory” (ie. seral stages leading to another climax).

Braun (1950, p. xiii) specified: “Some of the communities for which composition is given are readily referable to ‘forest cover types’ as defined by the Society of American Foresters”. She then added, “However, an attempt to classsify all communities as to ‘cover types’ would be artificial” and often impossible. Undoubtedly this was due to the differences in classification by Braun’s climax basis (with seral communities clearly specified) versus the existing or present-day forest communities basis of the SAF.

 The Society for Range Management (Shiflet, 1994, p. xi) also specified the criterion of “existing vegetation” and that some rangeland cover types are climax and others are seral. The author of this collection of photographs and descriptions repeatedly reminded readers of this situation, but specified that most of the rangeland and forest cover types included herein were climax vegetation. That criterion exist for forest range types of the Eastern Deciduous forest Formation with most photographs being of either old-growth or second-growth forest with climax species composition as described in the classic literature such as Braun (1950) or Shelford (1963, ps. 17-119).

The nine forest regions of Braun (1950, ps. 35-37) were retained with little modification as series in the fairly comprehensive suystem of vegetation (primarily, climax; secondly, disclimax or subclimax) used in A Classification of North American Biotic Communities by Brown et al. (1998). Their organization of the Eastern Deciduous Forest Formation was: Oak-Hickory Series, Oak-Chestnut Series, Beech-Maple Series, Oak-Pine Series, Maple-Basswood Series, and Hemlock-white Pine-Mixed Hardwood Series within the Northeastern Deciduous Forest biotic community and Mixed Mesophytic Series and Pine Series within the Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community. The Brown et al. (1998) series were included following SAF and/or SRM cover type designations. Additional designations as for forest wetlands were shown as required.

 
Historical Footnote and Editorial
 
The consistent and persistent use of the eastern deciduous forest associations of Braun (1950) by the foremost contemporary ecologists provides the beginning student of Ecology with a textbook example of the necessity of learning the fundamental concepts— and the language(s) thereof —that are the foundation of his selected field of Biology. No ecological monograph, including those of John E. Weaver or Victor E. Shelford, ever used Clementsian concepts and terminology any more consistently or with any more practical application than did Braun (1950). All three of these (and there were others besides these) patriarchal ecologists of North American vegetation left future generations with not only the seminal but also the definitive treatises of the communities to which they devoted their professional lives

Their like, their genre of comprehensive, panaramic, descriptive, first-hand accounts of vegetation on this grand scale, will not likely appear again before icicles hang in Hell. The contemporary research world is hung up on numbers, even generated or simulated (vs. real data) numbers often for numbers-sake alone, and especially numbers of publications. This has gone beyond Lord Kelvin’s admonition to “express it in numbers”,  (indeed Kelvin used actual numbers derived from physical experiments) to the point that quantity is everything and quality (always subsidary to quantity) itself is based on numbers. Not only is there little room for Descriptive Ecology, but there is hardly more for descriptive analysis of experiments and observations because the gold-standard of refereed publications has descended, has been perverted, to the quantitative entity of LPU (Lowest Publishable Unit). A natural length paper based on objectives of the study is split into as many LPUs as possible to extend the author’s bibliography. This procedure does not allow enough results to be included in any one paper to allow a discussion of  findings from a comprehensive perspective. Besides the experimental procedure (complete with lots of numbers and split-nine-ways-to-Sunday replications) is the most important part according to anonymous peer-reviewers.  

In an institutional culture where “Publish or Perish” has become prostituted to a realm of pot-boiler papers written from predictable-outcome, piss-ant projects the next generation of Brauns, Weavers, Shelfords are “dead meat” if they devote (ie. sacrifice) their careers to document for eternity the kind of knowledge their “takes a lifetime “ research produced. Such incredible work is left to not only the fully vested or tenured but the tenured full professor of independent financial means at career’s end (and then there is not enough time left to do the work). A key factor in the creative genius and amazing productivity of Frederic E.Clements was that he was able to spend most of his career working for the rich Carnegie Foundation which freed him from the routine of classroom teaching and daily chores of academia thereby enabling him the luxury of a self-proclaimed “escaped professor” (Brewer, 1988, p. 503).  Alternatively, the most lasting and useful research is the province of the academic martyr to whom pursuit of knowledge or satisfaction of curiosity are of higher utility than organizational rank and its financial renumeration.

 Thus the Ecology student is left with the classical works of those “giants in the earth” who reigned when knowledge was the domain of a more leisurely, honest, genteel, and collegial time and culture.

The scholar of biblical texts cannot read just the several English translations of the Holy Bible. He must also understand the native tongues of Hebrew, Arabic, or Greek in which Holy Writ was written. So too with the “scripture” of Ecology. And the language of vegetation, at least North American vegetation, is Clementsian. The serious student of vegetation must be knowledgable and conversant in this language given that so much of the all-encompassing vegetation literature was written predominately from the view of Clementsian Ecology (and vocabulary). These original, monographic works remain the basis, however distant, of current investigations or even classifications of vegetation. The basic ecological concepts in such natural resource fields as Range Management and Forestry remain Clementsian at root (eg. the Clementsian association is the basis of the forest and range cover types as used in North America).

Any who would refuse to familarize themselves with Clementsian Ecology because there are exceptions to and alternative models for some of its general, long temporal-large spatial scales traverse the terrain of ecological literature half blind. In their zeal to reform the basic vegetation paradigm to include, justifiably, the exceptions they end up “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.

 
For the Record
 

Though the designation of Texas Piney Woods (usually written as one word, Pineywoods) clearly indicated a geopolitical unit this was not the most important reason for the specifiction or distinction. (And it was certainly not intended as a prideful or chauvistic usage.) Rather there were ecological, historical, and logistical justifictions for the inclusion of the state name as a specifying noun. Obviously that part of the eastern deciduous forest formation (Braun, 1950; see above) historically known as Pineywoods includes portions of other states including conterminous parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Ecologically, the Texas segment of the Pineywoods is, in biologically important aspects, unique and distinct from those parts of Pineywoods in other states. This is due largely to history and politics whereby the natural boundaries formed by rivers (Red and Sabine) were used as state lines. For example, slash pine (Pinus elliotii), which extends from the Atlantic Ocean on across the Gulf Coast, does extend west of the Sabine River (ie. slash pine does not cross the state line from Louisiana into Texas). In other words, the Texas portion of the Southeastern Pineywoods lacks one of the four major native yellow pines of southeastern (Gulf Coastal) North America. Likewise, those parts of the traditional Pineywoods that extend across the Red River into southeastern Oklahoma and beyond the surveyor-drawn state line into Arkansas do not include longleaf pine (P. palustris) as a native species. The Pineywoods of Arkansas and Oklahoma include only two of the four major species of pines native to the Southeastern Pineywoods. Likewise, the extensions of Pineywoods into these states to the north include no forest communities that even faintly resemblethe Big Thicket part of the Texas Pineywoods.

Logistically, the author as a state employee of Texas had personal, cultural, and political connections to parts of the Texas Pineywoods while he lacked equivalent contacts in neighboring states (even though he was an Okie and as much Arkansawyer as Texan). So again, the designation of Texas Pineywoods was a meaningful distinction.

The above specifics notwithstanding, this chapter on the Texas Pineywoods included examples of forest range vegetation from neighboring states that were equivalent to or the same as those to their south or west. For example, Oklahoma has (for various reasons, including shorter time of occupation by white man) forests that are generally in substantially higher successional status than those of the older Lone Star State.

 

1. Bayou range in the core of Texas Big Thicket- This frequently flooded bottomland site has high clay content soils that dry rapidly (due to high evapo-transpiration rates) creating an understory dominated by dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor). The tree layer defines this laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia)-overcup oak (Q. lyrata)-loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) forest range type. This is an edaphic climax as viewed from the perspective of polyclimax theory.

Little Pine Island Bayou, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. May. FRES No. 16 (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem).One of many variants of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). One of the numerous variants of SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Oak-Pine Series in Northeastern Deciduous Forest biotic community (even though in southeastern part of continent; an Oak-Pine Series for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community would seem warrented) of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

2. Climatic (= regional) climax of Texas Big Thicket— American beech (Fagus grandifolia)-southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)-white oak (Quercus alba)-loblolly pine forest. In Clementsian monoclimax theory this is the ultimate formation, the endpoint of vegetation development to which all vegetation of this region converges. It is the climax on mesic, level, upland areas. Trees left to right: southern red oak (Quercus falcata var. pagodifolia), magnolia, loblolly pine and beech. Lance Rosier Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. May. This magnificant forest cover type was apparently too small for FRES or Kuchler to "pigeon-hole". As it is one of the southern forest types with a pine as one dominant species it would have to be included in FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder.However, the close "kinship" of this forest to the mixed mesophytic and mixed hardwoods forests (both in the Southeastern Evergreen Forest Region) and to the mixed mesophytic forest in the Southern Appalachians of the Oak-Chestnut Forest Region (Braun, 1950, ps. 199-205, 297-303) strongly suggested that this cover type most closely fit Kuchler–95 (Applalachian Oak Forest) which is an equivalent under FRES 15 (Oak-Hickory Forest Ecosystem).

Frankly, it seemed surprising to this author that Kuchler did not give a more specific designation for this major, though restricted, type given that Braun (1950, p. 445) specified that it could be seen as a separate association the same as for the Oak-Hickory Association and the Beech-Maple Association both of which have FRES and Kuchler recognitions. (Braun [1950, ps. 443-445] placed the Beech-Magnolia climax in the Mixed Mesophytic Association as transitional between Deciduous and Broad-leaved Evergreen Formations.) The Society of American Foresters (1980) also missed this one. The closest SAF forest cover type is probably 82 (Loblolly Pine- Hardwood) but that is not close enough. Beyond any doubt beech and magnolia are the recognized dominants and the pine is the least of the dominants. Only with man-set prescribed fire could the loblolly pine be maintained at higher proportions of the climax community.This is primarily a hardwood type and certainly not a pine-oak type. Braun (1950, ps. 300-303, enclosed map) discussed and mapped the beech-magnolia forest as part of the Southeastern Evergreen Forest Region. Braun did not map at association levels. Perhaps western island of Mixed Mesophytic Series in Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
3. Climax mixed mesophytic forest (the beech-magnolia-loblolly pine type)—This is the westernmost extension of a forest type dominant in the Great Smokey Mountains and Applachian region. Tree in foreground is American beech; trees on far left are magnolia. Lance Rosier Unit, Big ThicketNational Preserve, Hardin County, Texas, May. Mesic site. FRES and Kuchler recognitions (lack thereof) discussed immediately above. Variant of SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

4. Climax of the mixed mesophytic forest- In the Clementsian concept of climax (ie. a monoclimax or regional climax determined primarily by climate) the ultimate expression of potential natural vegetation of the deep pineywoods (general hardwood, namely oak,-pine forest) is a mixing of this regional climax with elements of the mixed mesophytic forest to the east. In this species-rich forest vegetation southern magnolia and American beech join with white oak (and several other oak species as shown below) and loblolly pine to form a unique forest range community that can be visualized as postclimax (ie. more mesic than the general climax of the area or region) as was explained by braun (1950, p.13).

This photograph of a mixed mesophytic X white oak-loblolly pine forest (ie. an overlapping or ecotone of these two was on a locally wet site and featured a large, old southern magnolia (foremost tree in center foreground with bulging trunk) growing beside (to right of) an immense white hockory, mockernut hickory, hognut hickory, or white-heart hickory (Carya tomentosa) with readily identifiable soft gray bark and pointed compound leaves. These two "champines" of their respective spceis stood majestically in front of loblolly pine, white oak, laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) and cherrybark oak (Q. prinus). The backside (side away from the photograph) of this specific southern magnolia was shown in detail in the next photograph.

Lance Rosier Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas, May. Mesic site. FRES and Kuchler recognitions (lack thereof) were covered in the photo caption before the immediately preceding slide. Variant of SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

5. Goosepen in the Big Thicket- The forester's term, goosepen, is "a place hollowed out by fire at the base of a standing tree" (Munns, 1950). This large fire scar (it extended to a height of nearly five feet) was on the backside of the large southern magnolia featured in the immediately preceding photograph. Such fire scars on old trees attest to incidence of surface forest fires in the pineywoods the same as obtains for all other regions of the eastern deciduous forest.

Lance Rosier Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas, May.

 
6. Climatic climax vegetation type of Big Thicket form of Texas Piney Woods— The beech-magnolia-white oak-loblolly pine forest cover type. This is the ultimate expression, the mesophytic form, of the Big Thicket forest.Magnolia, far left; white oak; center right. Note lush understory of browse plants even under closed forest canopy at climax. Tree species visible include loblolly pine, laurel oak, and swamp chestnut oak (Quercus prinus).Lance Rosier Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve. May, vernal aspect; mesic site. Problems with unit recognition by FRES, Kuchler, and SAF discussed two slides above. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
10325.

Foliage and flowers of a southern queen- Schlerophyllus leaves and several opened inflorescences of southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). The flowering period of this species is usually extended over several weeks to two or more months. In certain localities it can produce a few blooms almost year-round.

Hardin County, Texas.Late May.

 

7. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)- A beautiful flower of the stately southern magnolia against a backdrop of the broad sclerophyllus leaves of this climax pineywoods species. State Tree of Mississippi.

Hardin County, Texas.Late May.

 

Young fruit and leaves- Immature fruit and still spring-fresh leaves of southern magnolia. The fruit of Magnolia species is a confusing organ. It is regarded as a gynocium ("pistil" if one prefers a less correct [in this instance] though more traditional term) with inserted carpels on which are borne the fruits which are follicles each of which has a single seed that is released upon dehiscence.

Magnoliaceae is one of the more primitive families of flowering plants (Smith, 1977, p. 76). Hardin County, Texas. Early July.

 
Water Oak (Quercus nigra) Forest

The first example of the water oak (Quercus nigra) forest cover type shown immediately below was in a commercial forest in the Big Thicket section of the Texas Pineywoods. This water oak forest vegetation was adjacent to loblolly pine stands and a forest dominated by loblolly pine, water oak, American holly both with a lower woody layer comprised primarily of yaupon or, often called, yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria).

Water oak has been regarded as Intolerant as to tolerance and as a subclimax species that is quite susceptible to fire damage (Fowells, 1965, p. 630; Burns and Honkala, 1990, Vol. 2, p. 703). Thus while light surface fires tend to maintain pines like the associated loblolly pine, major fire damage as with crown fires would select for regeneration of water oak. In absence of fire plant succession would progress to a climax of hardwoods, which in the Big Thicket would commonly be American beech, southern magnolia, American holly, and climax oaks such as white oak.

 

8. Water oaks in the Pineywoods- Exterior view of a local stand of water oak growing on a flatland forest site that frequently ponded water. Loblolly pine were growing around perimeter of the water oak stand. Yaupon grew as widely scattered individuals while most of the ground layer was oak leaves with scattered plants of longleaf woodoats (Uniola sessifolia), cottongrass bulrush (Scirpus cyperinus), and green flat sedge (Cyperus virens). These species (from this locale) were featured below under the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly form or subtype of loblolly pine-hardwoods forest. The largest--and also the most scarce-- herbaceouss pecies was bentawn plumegrass (Erianthus contortus) which was also featured below.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. This is a component or subtype of the general hardwood-pine southern forest forest that has one of the southeastern yellow pines a dominant or, sometimes, an associate species with oaks, hickories, or even beech as the more common climatic dominant (in contrast to a fire-determined dominant). Overall this forest range vegetation would have to be included in FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

Inside the water oaks- Interior of the local stand of water oak presented immediately above. This was a local consociation of Quercus nigra with a "broken" (widely scattered) population of yaupon holly and local herbaceous cover composed variously of longleaf woodoats, cottongrass or woolgrass bulrush, green flat sedge, and panicgrasses (Panicum spp.). This isolated water oak stand was adjacent to a mixed forest of loblolly pine, wter oak, and American holly (covered below).

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004)..

 

9. One of the more common forms or manifestations of oak forest in the Pineywoods of Texas and Louisiana is the Palmetto-Oak Flats (Ajilvsgi, 1979, ps. 12-13) or, when expressed as to topographic-edaphic rather than botanical features, Clayey Wet Upland Depressions (Diggs et al., 2006, ps. 97-98). Ajilvsgi (1979, p. 12) described overcup oak and laurel oak as dominants whereas Diggs et al., (2006, p. 98) emphasized willow oak and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) as major plants of the larger tree species. The Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980, p. 63) described the willow oak-water oak-diamondleaf or laurel oak type (SRM 88) as developing on a topographic-soil moisture gradient intermediate between the swamp chestnut oak-cherrybark oak type (SRM 91) and the overcup oak-water hickory type (SRM 96) with dominance of SRM 88 tending to change to non-oak hard spceies like green ash under heavy logging or high-grading.

The photographs shown below were of a water oak-willow oak forest with a lower shrub layer made up almost exclusively of dwarf palmetto and a herbaceous layer(s) of sedges, rushes, bulrushes, and panicoid grasses. Views of the Oak-Palmetto Flats in these slides were presented so as to view this forest range vegetation going from exterior to deep interior as if the viewer were traveling to and then into it.

 

10. Coming onto the Oak-Palmetto Flats- Exterior view of an example of the willow oak-water oak-diamondleaf (laurel) oak type showing physiogonomy and overall species composition of this form of Pineywoods. Dominant species of this stand was water oak with willow (locally known as "pin" oak). Laurel oak was a distant third Quercus species. Blackgum or black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) was another associate tree species. The largest tree with the horizontal upper limb and fire-scarred basal trunk was an ancient water oak readily idetified by the sporadically scattered, prominent "warts" of bark. Loblolly pine was represented by one conspicuous tree in center midground. There were other infrequent loblolly pine throughout. Young trees grouped at right foreground were a mixture of water and willow oak and very black tupelo. Dwarf palmetto made up a lower shrub layer. Grassses and grasslike plants comprised one or two (rarely three) herbaceous layers in the forest understorey. Herbaceous plants were most common around perimeter of the forest vegetation. Individuals of broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) were prominent in foreground understorey.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

11. Edge of an Oak-Palmetto Flats forest range- Around perimeter of a stand of water and willow oak with dwarf palmetto were various local assemblages of herbaceous plants. The latter included cottongrass bulrush and miscellaneous sedges, both Carex and Cyperus species (eg. green flat sedge [C. virens]), along with panicgrasses, especially beaked panicgrass (Panicum anceps); paspalums like brownseed paspalum (Paspalum plicatulum), and both broomsedge and bushy bluestem. These latter two species are invaders. These same species also formed herbaceous strata beneath the oaks and pines though with less continuous cover and smaller plants, conditions likely resultant from fairly dense shade. Water and willow oaks are Intolerant species.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

12. Into the Pineywoods flats we go- These three photographs were a pictorial "walk to the woods", a sequence of slides showing the range vegetation of a water oak-willow oak- loblolly pine-palmetto-herbaceous plants Pineywoods flats. Continually closer-in views allowed presentation of the herbaceous layer(s) of native vegetation that was better developed at outer edge of the forest stand. Some of the common herbaceous species of this vegetation were presented below in the section devoted to the loblolly pine cover type, specifically the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly form or subtype thereof. The smaller trees in foreground with unshed lower limbs (most of them still alive but senescing) were willow oak. Locals hereabouts apply the otherwise confusing and nonstandardized common name of "pin oak" to Quercus phellos. "Pin" in several oak species refers to any of the lower, usually dead, unshed limbs (ie. dying or dead limbs on species that do self-pruning, but instead become well-seasoned or preserved and, hence, persistent on the lower bole). There were a few scattered woody vines, the only one of which the author-photographer identified was rattan (= Alabama supplejack).

Once inside the Pineywoods flats the interior of the water oak-willow oak-dwarf palmetto-herbaceous range community revealed a "closer-in" view of plant species composition and the lower woody layer of palmetto and the local vertical zone of herbaceous species. Largest trunk was that of a young to mid-age water oak with bark characteristic of an immature tree. At this stage of maturity bark of water oak and willow oak is so similar as to be indistinguishable, thereby making reliance on leaves and buds necessary for definitive indetification. "Warty" bark on older water oak bark was just forming on this straight-trunked specimen, but some smaller water oaks had larger "warts".

Grass shoot (visible in both photographs) in front of this water oak was broomsedge bluestem, a common invader of Oak-Palmetto, which was common and conspicuous throughout this oak flats stand. Almost all herbaceous species were grasses or grass-like plants and, as this was dead of winter and this range had been grazed so that most species had to be identified by vegetative features, most herbs could not be identified by the author who was a "stranger to these parts". The tallest green herb was cottongrass bulrush (shown and described briefly below). There were no prominent forbs in this forest range vegetation. Dwarf palmetto comprised a single-species, lower, woody layer.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

13. "Up-and-dicular" perspective of a Oak-Palmetto Flats- Structure and species composition of the water oak-willow oak-dominated Pineywoods flatwoods described under horizontal photographs above. Architecture of this stand was displayed to better advantage in these two photographs. Most hardwood trees were water oak and willow oak of sapling to small pole size. Those with persistent lower limbs were willow oak. There was an "occasional" black tupelo (also of sapling-pole size).

Cover and density of palmetto was shown to good advantage in the first of these two slides while the frequent openings within the palmetto that were populated by grasses and grasslike plants were evident in the second slide. Tree in left foreground with live lower limb was willow oak.

This stand was obviously a second-growth forest. A cohort of sapling to small pole size oaks had developed beneath larger, established (older) but very widely scattered, mature oaks of both species. Structure and, especially, botanical composition of this stand was typical of climax water oak-willow oak-laurel oak-palmetto vegetation. Both willow oak and water oak are classified as Intolerant and recruitment of these species had been possible under a mostly open sky (sparse canopy of oak and loblolly pine). Natural thinning of oaks had already commenced as evidenced by the dead toppled pole (visible in both photographs). This will undoubtedly continue resulting in more dead younger oaks and fewer, though larger, trees (fewer boles but more board foot/acre) and eventually greater oak crown cover (increased--though by no means closed--tree canopy).

The apparent dominant herbaceous species was cottongrass bulrush. Numerous individuals of broomsedge bluestem were conspicuous with their tannish yellow shoots dispersed among bulrush and other grasslike plants.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

14. Closing, composite shot of Pineywoods Oak-Palmetto Flats- All-in-one shot of species composition and structure (architeture) the water oak-willow oak-loblolly pine-palmetto-cottongrass bulrush-broomsedge bluestem community featured above. All of these species except loblolly pine, which dominated (generally and/or locally) their respecive layers of vegetation, were visible (if not obvious). In addition, rattan (= Alabamas supplejack) was featured prominently growing up trunks of oaks in left midground. Almost all oak trunks of any age are hosts to various crustose lichen, at least on north and east exposure.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder. SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al (1998) (but should be for Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
crown hignight
Water oak (Quercus nigra)- Upper trunk and crown of water oak showing leaves and bark of intermediate maturity. Older or most mature bark of water oak often forms wart-like raised areas (basal trunk and stump area). Houston County, Texas. March.
 

15. Dwarf palmetto, blue palmetto, swamp palmetto, dwarf palm, blue palm, etc. (Sabal minor)- Large, mature swamp palmetto with previous season's floral stalk and spent inflorescence. This true palm is most commonly acaulescent (lacking a trunk or bole) though sometimes there are individuals that have a single, short woody stalk which would "pass for" a trunk. The shoot or stem does not branch and is characterized as woody or pithy in nature.

The speciment portrayed here was growing in the water oak-willow oak-lobollly pine-palmetto-cottongrass bulrush-broomsedge stand featured above. Hardin County, Texas, February.

 
08b779 and 08b780.
Water oak (Quercus nigra)- Branches of water oak showing leaves, acorns, and bark features of twigs. Freestone County, Texas. October.
 
Ecotone between Water Oak-Willow Oak Forest and Gulf Coastal Marsh

Another form or subtype of the primarily water oak (with willow oak locally con-dominant) cover type in the Texas-Louisiana Pineywoods develops as a transition zone between the hardwood-pine forest and the Gulf Coast marsh with one or the other of the major range plant communities (forest or marsh) having apparent dominance or predominance as aspect dominance (ie. either widely scattered hardwoods and pine with profusely branching, open crowns growing in a marsh or, alternatively, grasses, sedges, rushes, bulrushes, and other herbaceous marsh species growing as a sparse understorey beneath twater oak, willow oak, laurel oak, overcup oak, blackgum or black tupelo, green ash, and loblolly pine). It seemed to this author that it was less confusing and more consistent to include full coverage of this ecotonal range vegetation at this location rather than with Gulf Coastal marsh which was covered under the chapter, Tallgrass Prairie (Coastal).

This forest range vegetation typically develops as or into a savanna and should in general be interpreted as such. Occasionally, however, there will be local communities of this ecotonal vegetation that appear to be more of forest (at least woodland) physiogonomy. This latter range plant community develops on depressions or ponded local sites. Both expressions of this ecotone are wetlands and were included below.

 

16. Out of the woods and onto the marsh- Exterior view of ecotone of Pineywoods and Gulf Coast marsh. Extreme eastern edge of hardwood-pine forest and beginning of coastal sedge-bulrush-tallgrass freshwater marsh. Feature of ponded water with combination of wet mesophytic and hydrophytic trees and an understorey of grasses and grasslike plants. Trees clearly dominanted the forest- or woodland-phase of this savanna wetland at edge of the Pineywoods forest whereas the predominant marsh-phase or form of this ecotone was in the background (and featured in succeeding slides). Even in this slide that emphasized the tree-dominated form there were scattered individuals of cottongrass bulrush (larger green clumps), numerous species of Carex and Cyperus along with various grasses of genera Panicum, Paspalum, and Andropogon.

Tree species visible in this photograph included water oak, willow oak, blackgum or black tupelo, green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and loblolly pine.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. This ecotone or transition zone perhaps should be given its own designation as a distinct potential natural vegetation, but such a classification unit of rangeland or forest vegetation as cover type either by Society for Range Manageament or Society of American Foresters), Forest and Range Ecosystem (USDA Forest Service) or by Brown et al., (1998). There was further--even more--confusion as to most precise desingation of the herbaceous wetland because it had features (species composition, structure, geographic location) of both SRM 711 (Bluestem-Sacahuista Prairie) and SRM 807 (Gulf Coast Fresh Marsh) as if it was a mixture of these two rangeland cover tyhpes. Closest overall vegetational designation with existing classification systems is a combination or "hybrid" of: FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder, SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak), Mixed hardwood Series (223.13), Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al (1998, p. 43) and FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with K-70 (Southern Cordgrass Prairie) the Kuchler equivalent thereunder, SRM 711 X 807, Southeastern Interior Marshland (243.1), Warm Temperate Marshland of Brown et al. (1998, p. 45). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

17. Interior of the ecotone between a mixed hardwoods flat and freshwater marsh- Inside the woodland- or forest-form or phase of an overall or general savanna formed by the transition between eastern edge of hardwood-pine Pineywoods and Gulf Coastal marsh of sedges, bulrushes, and panicoid grasses. Although the local site shown here has ponded water much of the year it is not inundated for a long enought period to qualify as a swamp. Presence of blackgum or black tupelo, a swamp species, along with a few individuals of overcup oak (Quercus lyrata) attested to extended periods of saturated (= a hydric state) soil. Dominance of this plant community by water oak and willow oak showed this site to be intermediate between poorly drained sites of overcup oak-water hickory forest and better-drained sites dominated by swamp chestnut oak and cherrybark oak (Eyre, 1980, p. 63). Dwarf or swamp palmetto (eg. center midground of first slide) was the main shrub, but individuals of this species were too widely scattered to form a shrub or lower woody layer. Most common and largest herbaceous species in understorey beneath trees on this ponded habitat was cottongrass bulrush (visible as large green tufts and also a component in large dried clumps of herbage). Carex, Cyperus, Panicum, Paspalum, Andropogon (especially A. virginicus, broomsedge bluestem, and A. glomeratus, bushy bluestem), and bentawn plumegrass were present either under crown canopy or adjacent to crown drip line.

Loblolly pine in this wetland vegetation was represented by the largest trunk in the second slide. Tree immediately to right of the loblolly pine was a green ash. Foremost tree (left foreground) was a water oak.

Hardin County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. Tree-dominated phase of this savanna that was an ecotone of: FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder, SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak), Mixed hardwood Series (223.13), Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al (1998, p. 43) and FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with K-70 (Southern Cordgrass Prairie) the Kuchler equivalent thereunder, SRM 711 X 807, Southeastern Interior Marshland (243.1), Warm Temperate Marshland of Brown et al. (1998, p. 45). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

18. Outer perspective of hardwood-pine flats X fresh Gulf Coast marsh ecotone- Two views of the transition zone (and quite a tension zone at that) of a water oak-willow oak-overcup oak-blackgum-green ash-loblolly pine-palmetto community and a cottongrass bulrush-sedge-bluestem-panicgrass-paspalum-cordgrass freshwater coastal marsh. In contrast to the tree-dominated form of this ecotone presented above this showed the more widespread--and more savannah-like-- form of a marsh with scattered trees of the just-listed tree species. The largest trees and with spreading crowns in the first of these two photographs were water oak. Trees in center of second photograph included black tupelo (three trunks together).

Identification of grasslike plants and most grasses was impossible in the existing state of decay and/or shattered fruit. Large individuals of cottongrass bulrush and broomsedge bluestem were exceptions. The Illustrated Flora of East Texas (Diggs et al., 2006) indicated 42 species of sedge (Carex spp.) and 18 species of flatsedge (Cyperus spp.) for the small county of Hardin. It was unquestionable that many of these species, along with species of spikerush (Eleocharis spp.) and bulrush (Scirpus spp.) as well as panicoid grasses such as bushy and broomsedge bluestem and isolated large individuals of sacahuista or Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae), were present on this botanically diverse savannah. Forbs were limited nearly to point of "nonexistence".

Hardin County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. This ecotone was a combination of : FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder, SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak), Mixed hardwood Series (223.13), Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al (1998, p. 43) and FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with K-70 (Southern Cordgrass Prairie) the Kuchler equivalent thereunder, SRM 711 X 807, Southeastern Interior Marshland (243.1), Warm Temperate Marshland of Brown et al. (1998, p. 45). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

)

19. Inside an east Texas transition zone- Interior views of a savannah formed by the ecotone of a wet flatwoods made up of water and willow oak (dominants), with some overcup oak and laurel oak, loblolly pine, green ash, and black tupelo and of freshwater marsh composed of cottongrass bulrush, sedges, flatsedges, spikerushes, panicgrasses, paspalums, bentawn plumegrass, bushy and broomsedge bluestem (beardgrasss), and common cattail.

Most of the trees in the first photograph were water oak; trunks of trees at far right margin of second photograp were overcup oak (Quercus lyrata).Immediately to left of the overcup oak (near center foreground) were shoots of bushy bluestem (closesst to overcup oak) and broomsedge bluestem (to left of the bushy beardgrass). Conspicuous green clumps were mostly cottongrass bulrush.

Hardin County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. This ecotone was a combination of : FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) with K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) being the Kuchler equivalent listed thereunder, SAF 88 (Willow Oak-Water Oak-Diamondleaf [Laurel] Oak), Mixed hardwood Series (223.13), Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al (1998, p. 43) and FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with K-70 (Southern Cordgrass Prairie) the Kuchler equivalent thereunder, SRM 711 X 807, Southeastern Interior Marshland (243.1), Warm Temperate Marshland of Brown et al. (1998, p. 45). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

20. Pool in the Pineywoods X Gulf Coastal marsh ecotone- At spatial scale of local site (in this instance, a larger microhabitat or microsite) a pool in the transition zone between hardwoods-pine flats and freshwater coastal marsh supported an array of aquatic plants from bulrushes and sedges of the Cyperaceae to common cattail (Typha latifolia) of Typhaceae. In the first slide longleaf pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus) was floating on the pool surface. Trees surrounding pool were water and willow oaks.

Hardin County, Texas. February, hibernal aspect. Range vegetation of this locale was described in captions of preceding slides.

 
Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) Forest
Loblolly pine is the mainstay of the forest products in the southeastern forest of North America. Loblolly pine (and hybrids thereof) is the single most important species across this general region though, of course, other species including pines are the major lumber/pulp species in portions of the southeastern forest region (eg. slash pine in peninsular Florida). The classic though dated reference for loblolly pine probably is still the monograph by Wahlenberg (1960) with the work of Schultz (1997) a fine successor.
 
Organization note: this section is a "sampler" of loblolly pine. Complete coverage of loblolly pine forest range was shown in its own chapter, Loblolly Pine Forests.
 

21. Trunk of loblolly pine- This is the typical pattern and color of bark on this the largest of the four major pine species in the Southern Pine Region. Appropriately the bark bears the burnished coloration of past cool surface fires. A Virginia creeper or woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) with newly emerged leaves was climbing the attractive trunk.

Crocket National Forest, Houston County, March.

 

22. Boughs of loblolly pine- Needles, twig bark, and old cones of loblolly pine showing key features of this major industrial forest species of the Texas Pineywoods.

Angelina National Forest, Nacogodoches County, Texas.

 

23. Cones of loblolly pine- Relative size, shape, and unique gross features of loblolly pine were presented in these two views of two cones of the dominant pine over much of the southeastern portion of the deciduous forest of North America in cluding the pineywoods of east Texas and western Louisiana. The reproductive (sexual) organs of conifers are borne on a woody or fleshy (berry-like) structure that is designated a strobulus (strobili is the plural). These stroboli are called cones by foresters and most regular folk other than "real" botanists. Conifers produce separate male (staminate) and female (ovulate) cones so that this group of gymnosperms are either diocecious or monecious. Moneciousness is the general arrangement for most genera in Pinaceae (Pinus, Abies, Picea, Tsuga, Pseudotsuga), Cupressaceae (Cupressus, Thuja, Juniperus), and Taxodiaceae (Taxodium, Sequoia, Sequoiadendron)..

Montgomery County, Texas. February (most seed had shattered from the woody ovulatecone).

 

24. Seed in a cone- Two views of a seed in the ovulate cone of loblolly cone. A seed of loblolly pine was shown without a marker in the first slide whereas the base of a fasicle of loblolly pine marked one seed in the second slide slide.The brown, parchment-resembling wing of this single seed (one of a pair) was cut away to more clearly reveal the dry seed. Most other seeds, including the other one of this cone unit, had shattered (been shed) from this cone.

The cone of conifers in the Pinaceae is a compound woody structure comprised of numerous units on which the seed, with its attendant parts, develops and is borne while developing before being shed. Each woody unit of the ovulate cone is is a primary appendage-- a woody bract-- that is called the ovuliferous scale. This woody scale is the ovule/seed-bearing part of the cone (strobolus). Typically a pair of ovules, each of which develops into a dry seed (complete with a winged part for wind dispersal), form on the adaxial (= upper) surface of each woody ovuliferous scale resulting in formation of two seed scars on this upper surface (in the axil where scale joins the central woody axis of the cone.

Montgomery County, Texas. February.

 

25. Core and treasure of the cone- Another view of a seed near apex of cone of loblolly pine. Then two views of a pair of loblolly pine seeds on adaxial surface of ovuliferous scale (ie. in axillary area where woody scale attached to central shaft of the cone). In the first of these two photographs the wing on the left seed of the pair was twisted far to the right for better viewing of the wing, but the wing was in from of (covering up) the right seed. In the second photograph the wing of both seeds of this pair had been removed to more clearly reveal the two seeds.

Montgomery County, Texas. February.

 

26. Future loblolly pines- Unshattered loblolly pine seeds taken from the cones shown above. Some seeds still had their wings attached whereas others were missing these wind-dispersal facilitting organs. Steel measure indicated the size of seed and wings. The two seeds with attached, intact wings were a pair attached on the same woody ovuliferous scale.

Montgomery County, Texas. February.

 

27. Up-close look- Seeds of loblolly pine were shown at closer distance to present details of seed coat and texture of the fragile woody material making up wings. Pines are examples of seed dispersal by wind, anemochory (= aerochory), in which wings facilitate action of wind as an agent or facilitator of sexual reproduction. Wind also operates as facilitator during pollination.

Montgomery County, Texas. February.

 
 
28. Loblolly pine forest— Second (or third) growth, but natural revegetation with an open understory dominated by little bluestem. Associated understory herbs include slender-leaf wood oats (Uniola sessiliflora) plus species ofPaspalum, Panicum, and Sporobolus among grasses plus native legumes like tickclover (Desmodium spp.) and numerous composites. Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, vernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest): the southern pine types have traditionally been interpreted as sub-climax fire-types and this seral stage is maintained by foresters in order to produce the more valuable pine wood products. SAF 81(Loblolly Pine). This type is clearly transitory forest range with total loss of understory as pines approach maturity as is visible in the next scene. South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

29. Going into a loblolly pine pine- Stucture and botanical composition of a second-growth loblolly pine forest showing an herbaceous layer dominated by little bluestem followed by longleaf woodoats then beaked panicgrass with two annual panicgrass species sometimes locally functioning as associates, a tall shrub layer represented by flowering dogwood in full-flower, and a lower shrub layer (in this vegetation) of which yaupon holly was the major species. The two annual panicgrasses were warty panicgrass (Panicum verrucosum) and savanna panicgrass (P. gymnocarpon).

Fire-scourched bark attested to use of prescribed or, at least, convenience burning in a Pineywoods oak-pine forest that was maintained primarily as a loblolly pine stand.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, vernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest): the southern pine types have traditionally been interpreted as sub-climax fire-types and this seral stage is maintained by foresters in order to produce the more valuable pine wood products. SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Oak Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). This type is clearly transitory forest range with total loss of understory as pines approach maturity as was shown below. South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

30.Transitory loblolly pine forest range- Loblolly pine forest range at either: 1) late seral stage with loblolly pine maintained in a hardwood (mostly an oak)-pine forest by frequent burning or 2) a mid-stage (more-or-less) of a wood crop in a thin (sparsely or weakly stocked) stand of loblolly pine. Either way there was low stocking of loblolly pine, the tree crop species, and a well-developed, high-yielding (by loblolly pine range standards) herbaceous understorey for grazing livestock and/or wildlife.

This was the same stand of loblolly pine forest vegetation as introduced in the immediately preceding photograph. Dominant grass in this "photo-plot" of that loblolly pine forest range was little bluestem with longleaf woodoats, beaked panicgrass, savanna panicgrass, and warty panicgrass also present.

Foremost tree (slightly to right of a conspicuous pine trunk) was sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). A young sassafras (Sassafras albidum) with just-beginning-to-open leaves was growing at left margin of photograph. Yaupon of sundry sizes was widespread throughout the woody layers.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, vernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest): the southern pine types have traditionally been interpreted as sub-climax fire-types and this seral stage is maintained by foresters in order to produce the more valuable pine wood products. SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Oak Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). This type is clearly transitory forest range with total loss of understory as pines approach maturity as was shown below. South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

31. Growing doghair- In the same understorey as presented in the last two preceding photographs and captions there were some very localized (restricted) areas near mature loblolly pine trees on which there were extremely dense patches of pine seedings. Obviously not all of these seedlings could survive, but it was also obvious that these would develop into proverbial "doghair stands" unless something thinned them out. If natural agents of mortality such as fire and disease did not eliminate some of these woefully overstocked little blessings of Mother Nature then Man the Forester would have to intervene in order to achieve efficient management of forest resources. One such "doghair stand" of loblolly pine seedlings was presented in foreground of this photograph.

Various Panicum species (major ones were listed in the preceding caption) were the major grasses on this "photo-plot".

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, vernal aspect. Leaves on hardwood species (such as one in left foreground) were just emerging from buds. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest): the southern pine types have traditionally been interpreted as sub-climax fire-types and this seral stage is maintained by foresters in order to produce the more valuable pine wood products. SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Oak Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). This type is clearly transitory forest range with total loss of understory as pines approach maturity as was shown below. South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

32. A crop of poles- Closed canopy stand of loblolly pine with no herbaceous (grazable) understorey and lower woody layers limited to Tolerant flowering dogwood and yaupon. As a wood crop this single-species stand of loblolly pine was approaching (within a few years of) maturity. This plantation stand was an example of industrial foresty. On this commercial forest the wood crop was a monoculture of fast-growing, hybrid loblolly pine.

Such loblolly pine plantations are a form of even-aged silviculture (silvicultural system). This crop will be harvested in a few years by clearcutting, "a regeneration or harvest method that removes essentially all trees in a stand" (Helms, 1998). Harvest will result in release of many species of grasses, grasslike plants, forbs, shrubs, and Intolerant tree species like sweetgum. Several of the grass species such as those presented in preceding slides will persist for a number of years and through mid-sere of secondary plant succession. Tree species like sweetgum and numerous oaks and hickories will persist unless eliminated by application of selective herbicides or reduced by commercial livestock grazing and/or prescribed burning. Combinations of these silvicultural treatments may be used (as shown periodically throughout this chapter). This and preceding slides of loblolly pine forest vegetation illustrated transitory forest range that is typical of forest cropping systems on commercial (industrial) forests throughout much of southeastern North America.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, early vernal aspect (time of the dogwood-redbud tours). This was an anthropogenic variant of the following vegetational units. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Biotic community unit of Brown et al. (1998, ps. Oak-Pine Series, 1212.14 of Northeastern Deciduous Forest 122.1 except that there should have been an Oak-Pine Series, say 123.13, os Southeastern Deciduous and Evergree Forest 123.1.South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004). Another interpretation of this highly human-modified (= non-natural) forest vegetation was FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). The Kuchler designation would still be K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) while the Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980) would be a man-made forest cover type of Loblolly Pine (SAF81).

 

Clarification of terms: the following concepts and definitions were provided from The Dictionary of Forestry developed by the Society of American Foresters (Helms, 1998) to assist students in understanding management and production of grazing and/or browsing resources on transitory forest range.

Silvicultural system- a planned series of treatments for tending, harvesting, and re-establishing a stand.

Regeneration method- a cutting procedure by which a new age class is created.

Even-aged regeneration methods regenerate and maintain a stand with a single age class. One even-aged method is clearcutting which is the cutting of essentially all trees, producing a fully exposed microclimate for the development of a new age class (by either natural or artificial re-eatablishment of the next generation, crop, of trees)

 

33. "Will the real Pineywoods please stand up?"- "You bet, and this is it." In contrast to the loblolly pine plantation introduced in the immediately preceding slide (and several used below to illustrate silvicultural methods) here were two views of the natural oak-hickory-loblolly pine forest vegetation. This was a second-growth forest recovering from the heady days of "cut-and-run" heady logging, but it had the structure (including several layers of vegetation) and species composition of the native mixed hardwood-loblolly pine. Flowering dogwood and lesser cover of redbud hearlded the early days of spring in this sandy land (note road) upland Pineywoods forest. Not exactly a lobolly pine plantation as shown immediately above and farther below. Water oak, accompanied adult and sapling to pole-size loblolly pine. This forest consisted essentially of the species compoisition indicative of the climax vegetation except that following initial frontier, destructive, non-scientific logging; overgrazing (including by free-ranging, mast and root-eating hogs); and underburning (more likely, total fire exclusion) there was only limited herbaceous understorey (mostly of bluestem, panicgrass, and paspalum species along with some sedges and flatsedges)

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. March, early vernal aspect (time of the dogwood-redbud tours). FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Biotic community unit of Brown et al. (1998, ps. Oak-Pine Series, 1212.14 of Northeastern Deciduous Forest 122.1 except that there should have been an Oak-Pine Series, say 123.13, os Southeastern Deciduous and Evergree Forest 123.1.South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
 
34. Open understory(= permanent forest range) loblolly pine forest- This loblolly forest is growing immediately above the first terrace of the Sabine River. Recurrent fire (note small fire scar on base of first tree on the left) after establishment of loblolly pines maintained an open understory predominately of perennial wiregrass or threeawn species like woolyleaf threeawn (Aristida lanosa), longspike or slimspike threeawn (A. longespica), and purple or arrowfeather threeawn (A. purpurascens) with broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) and splitbeard bluestem (A. ternarius) as associates. Pioneer annual composites like giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) and horseweed (Conyza canadensis= Erigeron canadensis) are also present, but as last year’s weathered-down stalks. Flowering dogwood (which is at peak bloom in this view) dominates the upper shrub layer with yaupon (green shrub beneath the blooming dogwood) as dominant of the lower shrub layer.
 
 Under the current fire regime this is permaent loblolly pine forest range. It stands in contrast to the transitory loblolly pine forest range where there is denser tree stocking combined with discontinued use of prescribed burning to produce pulp wood instead of pine lumber as in the forest seen here. This range forest cover type persist as a result of the disturbance of repeated fire which kept out hardwood tree species like water and white oaks.The fire disturbance also made favorable habitat for old-field pioneer species such as the two weedy composites and annual threeawns like old-field threeawn (Aristida oligantha plus the similar A. desmantha) and churchmouse threeawn (A. dichotoma). The physiogonomy is that of climax Pineywoods but the absence of hardwood trees and the species composition of the herbaceous understory is clearly that of late seral (= subclimax) forest vegetation. It is a textbook example of “pine woods wiregrass range”. Sabine River, Harrison County, Texas. Vernal aspect, March. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), man-modified variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Brown et al. (1998) Oak-Pine Series converted into Pine Series by human management. South Central Plains- Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35a (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
35. Climax Loblolly Pine-Hardwood-Pinehill Bluestem Pineywoods Forest- Although not old-growth forest, this is a classic composite Pineywoods community with the species composition of the virgin vegetation. Loblolly pine is the major dominant thereby establishing this as the loblolly pine form of the Pineywoods Complex, but water oak is co-dominant while sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is well-represented among the trees. The shrub layer is dominated by wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera). The herbaceous understory is remarkably diverse. Scattered small colonies of the rhizomatous decreaser pinehill bluestem (Andropogon divergens) serve as an indicator of what the climax dominant for this site should be. Other grasses include splitbeard bluestem, low or spreading panicgrass (Panicum rhizomatum),  longleaf uniola (Uniola sessiliflora), and Florida paspalum (Paspalum floridanum). Several Carex species are present with considerable cover. The conspicuous graminoid in the immediate foreground is a species of bulrush (Scirpus sp.).  
 
This is a bottomland loblolly pine-hardwood forest on the flood plain of the Sabine River. It is the forest vegetation just below that seen in the previous slide. It is less apt to burn and has a more favorable soil moisture regime than the previous forest range type. Recent and recurrent fire had to have been part of the environment however to maintain this open understory and the fire-adapted grasses. Rather than wiregrass loblolly pine forest range this is the pinehill bluestem-Florida paspalum-low panicum understory. It is produces much higher quality and higher yielding forage. Both the bluestem and wiregrass Pineywoods range types are permanent forest range with a persistent grazable understory.This is climax loblolly pine-oak hardwood forest while the previous plant community was seral loblolly pine forest vegetation. Sabine River bottom, Harrison County, Texas. Vernal aspect, March. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Anthropogenic Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35a (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

36. Big Thicket loblolly pine woods- Exterior view of a loblolly pine-water oak subtype or variant of loblolly pine-hardwood cover type shjowing physiogonomy and botanical composition. At this edge (in a forest opening) young water oak, yaupon holly, and various herbaceous species and the layers they comprise provided an unusual composite "Big Picture" perspective of this forest range vegetation. The small oaks (pole-size) at base of pines were water oak. These young trees had not shed their dead leaves and even had a few persistent live leaves. Yaupon or yaupon holly composed almost all of the lower woody layer except for the regenerting oaks. Grasses were bushy and broomsedge bluestems and bentawn plumegrass.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

37. Edge of a loblolly pine-water oak forest- Detail of herbaceous and lower woody layers of the forest-clearing edge shown in the immediately preceding slide. Regenerated water oak saplings and yaupon made up a lower woody layer. Bentawn plumegrass and broomsedge bluestem and bushy beardgrass were the major herbaceous species. Pine seedlings bore witness to regeneration of loblolly pine.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. Designations of this forest range vegetation were given in the preceding caption.

 

38. Inside with the pines and oaks- Interior of the loblolly pine-water oak forest introduced in the two preceding slides and their captions. American holly (Ilex opaca) was an associate tree species. A few individuals of regenerating American holly and dense yaupon holly made up most of the lower or secondary woody layer. Adequate light on the forest floor at this stage of vegetation development permitted regeneration of pine as well as persistence of an herbaceous understorey consisting of two or three layers. In the interior of this forest community that was more shaded or, same thing, less well-lite than the forest edges shown above, the dominant herbaceous plant was longleaf woodoats (Uniola sessiflora) which "bumped out" the bluestem or beardgrass species and bentawn plumegrass. Other common to locally dominant herbaceous species included cottongrass bulrush, green flatsedge, beaked panicgrass (Panicum anceps), redtop panicgrass (P. rigidulum), and brownseed paspalum (Paspalum plicatluum). These herbaceous species grew together on local habitats (microhabitats at about largest spatial scale) within this loblolly pine-water oak-American holly forest community. Most of these were not visible at scale of these two photographs, but they were featured below at scale of both herbaceous layers and individual plants.

In the first of these two slides water oak and loblolly pine were visible as distinctive trees. The largest tree (left-of-center midground) was water oak. In the second of these photographs water oaks were relegated to midground and surrounded by loblolly pines. Yaupon and small saplings of American holly were widespread in the lower woody layer.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

39. Up close in the interior- Interior structure and species composition of a Big Thicket Pineywoods second-growth forest dominated by trees of loblolly pine, water oak, and American holly. Yaupon and small saplings of American holly made up bulk of lower woody layer(s). There was no reproduction of loblolly pine in the denser locale of the forest. Neither was there presence of herbaceous species.

Foremost trunk (left foreground) and four pole-size trunks were loblolly pine. Largest tree with straight bole (left midground) was water oak as were the two small saplings still with green leaves growing between the foremost loblolly pine and the large water oak.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
.

40. Loblolly pine-water oak-American holly subtype of Big Thicket Pineywoods- All-in-one shot of an example of this variant of a loblolly pine-hardwood forest cover type with yaupon and regenerating American holly comprising a lower woody layer and a local opening with longleaf woodoats and other herbaceous species. There was also much reproduction of water oak with numerous small saplings that had retained many of their leaves throughout the usually mild winter of the Big Thicket. Longleaf woodoats and local stands of other herbaceous species were also present though widely scattered.

All of the larger trees in midground were water oak except for one loblolly pine. This was an example that the climatic climax of these forest type is oak and not pine. Both cover types of Loblolly Pine (SAF 81) and Loblolly Pine-Hardwood (SAF 82) (Eyre, 1980) are fire types (ie. only under conditions where fire overrides other components of climate) does this forest vegetation have loblolly pine as a dominant or co-dominant species into climax stage.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
41. Longleaf woodoats (Uniola sessiflora)- Five plants of longleaf woodoats adorned the floor of a loblolly pine-water oak-American holly variant of the Loblolly Pine-Hardwood forest cover type (SAF 82). Liberty County, Texas. February.
 

42. In a small clearing- A small clearing provided adequate light for local stands of herbaceous vegetation, woody layers made up of yaupon and regenerated water oak. At edge of clearing the woody shoot of rattan or Alabama supplejack was climbing a young loblolly pine (small pole in right midground).

Species composition of the herbaceous layers was presented in the next slide.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

43. Something to graze- Two views of a local stand of herbaceous species in the understorey of the Pineywoods loblolly pine-water oak-American holly flatwoods forest shown and described immediately above. Largest and most common species was cottongrass bulrush followed by green flatsedge, redtop panicgrass, and longleaf woodoats. The latter species more commonly grows by itself as shown above, but it frequently grows in association with other grasses and grasslike plants.

Individual plants of the cottongrass bulrush and green flatsedge introduced in these two photographs were shown in more detail in the succeeding four slides.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect.

 

44. Cottongrass bulrush, wooly-grass bulrush, or wool-grass (Scirpus cyperinus)- This was one of the most common and largest species of grasslike plants in much of the wetter environments of the loblolly pine-hardwood forest cover type in the Big Thicket area of east Texas. Cottongrass bulrush was especially common (and locally dominant) on mesic to wet forest and range sites such as those for loblolly pine and the various forms of "oak flats" or "flatwoods".

The individual plant presented in this and the two slides above the next caption was one of several specimens growing on the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly forest community featured above

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

45. Inflorescence of cottongrass bulrush- Two panicles on the same individual plant of cottongrass bulrush introduced in the immediately preceding photograph (one of several such bulrush plants shown in the two photographs preceding that last slide).

More recent taxonomic treatments of the Scirpus species such as that by Diggs et al. (2006) have rearranged many of these once-upon-a-time Scirpus members into such genera as Schoenoplectus, Bolboschoenus, Isolepis, and even Eleocharis! Interestingly, in this bulrush basket upset cottongrass bulrush remained as Scirpus cyperinus (ie. still a true bulrush as it were).

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect.

 
46. Weathered flat- A highly weathered panicle of green flatsedge (Cyperus virens) in the local stand of herbaceous vegetation in the Pineywoods loblolly pine-water oak-American holly flatwoods forest described herein. In the Illustrated Flora of East Texas Diggs et al. (2006) showed and mapped 19 species of flatsedge as occurring in the small Texas county of Liberty. Green flatsedge is one of the more common Cyperus species growing within the Big Thicket of the Texas Pineywoods. Liberty County, Texas. February.
 

47. Plumes in the pines- Panicles of bentawn plumegrass (Erianthus contortus) growing on the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly flatwoods forest featured here. The Illustrated Flora of East Texas (Diggs et al., 2006) put Erianthus in with an expanded sugarcane genus (Saccharum spp.) and renamed bentawn plumegrass S. brevibarbe var. contortum. Diggs et al. (2006) listed and mapped four former Erianthus species as being in the Pineywoods, including Liberty County, Texas (county where these photographs were taken). Correll and Johnston (1979) in Manual of the Vascular Plant of Texas, still the statewide "bible" of plant taxa, listed three Erianthus species for this "neck of the woods".

Erianthus species are some of the largest grasses native to the Pineywoods. E. contortus is probably the most common of these. Liberty County, Texas. February, hard-grain/shatter stage of phenology.

 

48. Beauty in the little things- Closeups of spikelets in the panicles of bentawn plumegrass shown immediately above. Liberty county, Texas. February, hard grains were shattering rapidly (lucky photographer preserved this lively scene for generations of grassmen).
 

49. Holly in the stand- Deeper inside the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly stand of flatwoods featured herein (and shown repeatedly above) American holly was becoming the local dominant tree species. Shrub-sized woody plants with persistent green leaves (foreground understorey) included young yaupon, water oak saplings, and American holly saplings and seedlings. Whereas tolerance rating for loblolly pine is Intolerant (Fowells, 1965, p. 366; Wenger, 1984; Burns and Honkala, 1990, Vol 1, p. 505) and water oak is Intolerant (Fowells, 1965, p. 630; Burns and Honkala, 1990, Vol. 2, p. 703) , American holly is Very Tolerant which is the same as American beech, sugar maple, and flowering dogwood (Wenger, 1984).

In absence of fire, windthrow, logging, and other disturbances (natural or anthropogenic) American holly (or other Very Tolerant species in the Big Thicket like American beech and southern magnolia) eventually become dominant as development of forest vegetation reaches climax. That phenomenon was shown in this photograph where the only seedlings present were those of American holly.

The largest and foremost trunk (right foreground; smooth bark) was a nice, shaply specimen of American holly. This specific plant was used below to describe its species, including another view of this same bole. The medium-sized liana growing up the American holly was some species of grape (Vitis sp.).

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

50. "Hollyer" Pineywoods- On one local part of the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly dominated stand shown and described above, American holly was becoming the climax dominant tree species. Saplings of American holly were more common than those of water oak and the only seedlings were those of American holly. There were no saplings (only pole-size trees) of loblolly pine, the tree which clearly dominated the canopy (with water oak as the local associate species) at this subclimax stage. Yaupon, the overall community dominant of a lower woody layer, was common and shared this layer with saplings of water oak and both saplings and seedlings of American holly as was just remarked.

The adult American holly was the same individual whose trunk (with grape vine) was featured in the slide immediately above.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

51. Happy holly happenings- Regeneration (from seed) of American holly on floor of a subclimax loblolly pine-water oak forest. A young sapling of American holly represented the future generation of the climax dominant of this Pineywoods forest range. Yaupon holly, an individual of which was behind the featured holly sapling, was the overall dominant of a lower woody layer. American holly, a Very Tolerant tree species, had successfully reproduced even with this competition. The only herbaceous species was longleaf woodoats.

Another photograph of a small American holly sapling was presented below to show details of holly leaves.

The was the same stand of loblolly pine-water oak-American holly-yaupon-longleaf woodoats-bulrush-flatsedge Big Thicket flatwoods forest as featured above. Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect.

 

52. Dynasty in the making- This large, symetrical American holly and its progeny (ranging from seedlings to small saplings) were the climax tree species and future dominant of a loblolly pin-water oak-American holly-yaupon holly- longleaf woodoats-bulrush forest range community. American holly is regarded as Very Tolerant (Wenger, 1984) so that in absence of disturbances (eg. repeated forest fires, forest harvests) the Intolerant loblolly pine (Fowells, 1965, p. 366; Wenger, 1984; Burns and Honkala, 1990, Vol 1, p. 505) and Intolerant water oak (Fowells, 1965, p. 630; Burns and Honkala, 1990, Vol. 2, p. 703) will be succeeded by American holly. Successful regeneration of holly and absence of reproduction bf loblolly pine was shown in these two photographs. Numerous young plants of yaupon were also present.

Besides showing regeneration of American holly, these two slides provided views of a mature American holly showing crown shape and branching pattern typical of this climax hardwood (angiosperm) species. Note that limbs and branches of the holly extended lower on the crown than did those of surrounding loblolly pine and water oak and that, overall, the crown of the holly was substantially larger and fuller than those of the two current dominants of the subclimax flatwoods forest.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

53. Heir-apparent up close- Trunk of a mature American holly, the hardwood species that was successionally ascending to climax dominance with successful reproduction in shade of the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly Pineywoods forest. Another view of this same trunk was presented above (complete with the same grape vine).

Extent of shading of forest floor was also typical and indicative of a lower-layer forest environment in which only Toleranmt and Very Tolerant species could regenerate.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

54. Tale of trauma with a position to teach- For reason(s) unknow to the photographer this sapling of American holly was leaning to the stage of being nearly "flat".In spite of such posture the young tree was otherwise "alive and well". The first slide of this sapling provided a better composite view than if it had been vertical like it should have been. The second photograph was a view of branches and leaves on this flattened sapling. Spiney margins of holly leaves were presented to rangemen and foresters unfamilar with this species.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

55. Shinny holly leaves against a background of pine straw- Another small sapling (or large seedling) of American holly (Ilex opaca) growing in shade of loblolly pine, water oak, and its parent which was the large, symmetrical adult holly introduced above. Another living bit of evidence as to the Very Tolerant rating of American holly as well as an example of leaves of this species. Leaves of American holly are vriable in shape, but the margins have spines (sometimes limited to the leaf apex) and are usually scalloped. Leaf blades are shiny green "on top" (upper surface) and pale underneath.

This small tree was in the same flatwoods forest stand as shown and described above.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

56. Flowers and fruit at the same time- Branches of Ilex cornuta var. Burfordii with last year's fruit still present as current year's inflorescences are fully open and ready to produce a new crop. The fruit of Ilex species is a drupe which serves as a concentrate foodstuff (Martin et al., 1951, p. 338). In turn this feeding activity undoubtedly accounts for planting many seeds and subsequent establishment of new holly plants.

Burford holly is one of a number of Ilex species grown in North America. It is a native of China, and while this rangeman author detest most woody exotics that have come to contaminate our native flora, this series of photographs of this introduced ornamental were used to show the flowers and fruits of the larger Ilex species. American holly, the forest Ilex of the Texas Piney Woods (and the southeastern forest in general) is the Christmas holly in North America. It is widely planted as a ornamental and shade tree and as a commercial source of Christmas decoration. The beauty and appropriateness of any holly with its shiny evergreen leaves and the blood (as of the Messiah)-red drupes have proven lasting Xmas symbols that speak for themselves.

Henderson County, Texas. February.

 

57. Holly pollinators- Pollination, and especially animals as agents of polllination, have intrigued botanists (particulariy ecologists). For example, Dr. Edith Clements was a pioneer ecologist with a fondness for pollinators. Insect pollinators were abundant on the female Burford holly featured in this portion of the text. These included the feral European honey bee (Apis mellifera) and paper wasp () which were included in the tradition of Plant Ecology and to provide instruction in the mutualistic relationship of pollination, a synergism essential for human existence.

Henderson County, Texas. February.

 
58. Holly flowers- Female inflorescences of Burford holly. The pistillate flowers of this dioecious species are borne in units as a cyme. There are four sepals and four white petals per flower. These were visible in this photograph. The floral structure of Ilex species is rather complex (eg. styles are usually absent). Readers were referred to standard taaxonomic treatments such as state or regional floras which for Texas, in this instance, would include Correll and Johnston (1979, p.993) as well as the classic of Bailey (1951, p. 629).
 

59. American holly in the Texas Piney Woods- Branches of the inntroduced Chinese Burford holly laden with fruit showed how fruitful some Ilex species could be.

Henderson County, Texas. February.

 

60. Happy holly shots- Photographs showing general details of Ilex fruit and leaves. (I. opaca typically has more pronounced spines--and more of them--on its leaves.) Ilex fruits contain several (up to six or eight hard pits or stones each of which encloses a seed (Correll and Johnston (1979, p.993). Henderson County, Texas. February.
 

61. Yaupon or yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)- Yaupon is one of the most aggressive shrubs in the understorey of the various pine and oak-pine types of the eastern deciduous forest in southeastern North America. It is usually not a dominant shrub in advanced stages of forest succession, but disturbances like logging (and subsequent regeneration methods) shift competitive advantage to this rapidly spreading, evergreen scrub holly allowing it to become a major brush species on regenerating forests and transitory forest ranges. The individual shown here had persisted late into the rotation of a loblolly pine forest.

International Paper Company, Harrison County, Texas. May.

 
62. Yaupon leader- Leaves and fruits (drupes) of yaupon. Yaupon is dioecious. The drupes are a favored food of numerous species of songbirds and even furbearers like coons. Browse value of yaupon is often rated as good for deer and fair for livestock though some dispute this. Heavy livestock grazing early in the forest rotation is often an effective means of yaupon control. International Paper Company, Harrison County, Texas. January.
 

63. Longleaf wood oats (Uniola sessiliflora)- This is one of the more common and important grass species in the shortleaf pine and pine-oak forests. It responds quickly with vigorous growth and reproduction to clearcutting and thinning operations in these forest cover types. Red River County, Texas. July.

Most of the herbaceous understorey species in the various eastern deciduous forest cover types are forbs. Forb is a term used by foresters, rangemen, and wildlifers in reference to any herbs (=. herbaceous plants) that are not grasses or grasslike plants. In other words, forb refers to all soft-stemed dicots and to any monocots that have conspicuous petals. Forb is not a precise botanical term , but rather one used by professionals in the natural resource management fields. Range and forest plants are either 1) woody or 2) herbaceous. The woody plants are either trees or shrubs, the distinction between which is not always obvious. The herbaceous species (herbs) are either grasses, grass-like plants, or forbs. (Together these are generally the five "kinds"-- as in categories or groups not species-- of vascular range and forest plants.)

Some of the more common and conspicuous forbs of the eastern deciduous forest communities were included immediately below. All of these were growing in the Springfield Plateau section of the general Ozark Plateau or Ozark Mountains.

 

64. Loblolly pine flatwoods- Example of the "pure" cover type of loblolly pine (SAF 82) made up this flatwoods forest community in the Big Thicket. Young, second-growth loblolly pines comprised the entire canopy (crown) layer while yaupon made up the lower woody layer and giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) comprised most of the herbaceous layer. Perennial grasses such as longleaf woodoats and grasslike plants like cottongrass bulrush and green flatsedge which were common on adjacent and close proximity forests of loblolly pine-hardwood cover type (SAF 88) were much less dense on this forest range stocked with younger (smaller) trees. On local areas most disturbed by forest harvest activities there were some individuals of broomsedge and bushy beardgrass with fewer plants of longleaf woodoats and even density of bentawn plumegrass. While there were widely scattered water oaks stocking of this species was so slight that this forest was a loblolly pine cover type.

Selective (uneven-aged) harvest had taken place on this forest three or four years earlier. Hence, pioneer establishment of the giant ragweed and subsequent release of yaupon.

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 88 (Loblolly Pine). Biotic community in the system of Brown et al. (1998) would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

65. Not sharing much- Stand of young loblolly pine on a flatwoods form of Big Thicket Pineywoods resulted in a nearly exclusionary crop, a single-species stand, with almost complete canopy cover of this shade-intolerant subclimax species. Yaupon had developed into a lower woody layer that was sporadic ranging frrom nearly absent to local heavy cover/dense shoots (as in the second of these two slides). Major grass overall was longleaf woodoats though it was absent from local areas of more extreme disturbance. Broomsedge and bushy bluestem were present (some shoots were visible in these and the preceding photograph) on the more seriously disturbed areas, but their cover and density could be described as "few and far between". Plants of bentawn plumegrass were even more uncommon.

Loblolly pines of about all one size (poles) and evidence of high degree of disturbance of soil surface indicated that the clearcutting method of regeneration had been used in silvicultural treatment. This was more obvious int the second of these two photographs. The largest tree in second photograph (right midground) was a water oak that had been spared in the recent clear-cutting operation because it was of no value for pulp or poles (ie. a trash tree). It presence and that of scattered water oak seedlings indicated that this was a subclimax loblolly pine-hardwood forest cover type (SAF 82) maintained by silviculture as a loblolly pine forest type (SAF 88).

Liberty County, Texas. February, late hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 88 (Loblolly Pine). Biotic community in the system of Brown et al. (1998) would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

66. Inside the loblolly pine stand- Interior of a single-species stand of young (pole-size) loblolly pine. Yaupon formed a sporadic woody understorey or lower woody (shrub) layer. Otherwise this vegetation was loblolly pine cover type (SAF 82) of an industrial or commercial forest where maximum financial return from the forest resulted from establishment and maintenance of single-species stands (= populations) of loblolly pine. In other words, this was a "rough" form of a loblolly pine planation established by natural regeneration. This form of silviculture (clearcutting method) produced denser stands of loblolly pine with more shade and therefore less herbaceous vegetation, especially less cover and lower density of grasses and grasslike plants, for grazing animals. Larger-size clearings and greater disturbance with more bare soil did, however, create better habitat for pioneer species like giant ragweed and this resulted in superior habitat for some kinds of wildlife like bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus).

Presence of saplings of water oak was proof that this was a loblolly pine-hardwood cover type (SAF 88) maintained as the more "pure" loblolly pine forest type (SAF 82) as an economic forest crop (ie. pine wood was more valuable than that from oak in the current market). This loblolly pine stand was in close proximity to the loblolly pine-water oak-American holly forest displayed and discussed above.

Yaupon was common and formed a lower woody layer. Dwarf palmetto was also present though mostly as isolated plants. There was less longleaf woodoats, broomsedge and bushy bluestem, bentawn plumegrass, cottongrass bulrush, and sedges and flatsedges than on the nearby loblolly pine-hardwood (water oak and American holly) forest. The most common herbaceous plant on this recently harvestly forest was giant ragweed.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Classification units of this forest range vegetation were presented in the two immediately preceding photo captions.

 

67. Loblolly pine-dominated backwater forest- Another form or subtype(s) of loblolly pine forest range (though one with minimal grazing and browsing resources) in the Pineywoods Region is that (those) that develop on land having ponded water for prolonged periods though not for periods of time consistent with those of swamps. In fact, the common name of loblolly comes from the condition known as a loblolly, a term referring to a mudhole or deep mud puddle, which is an ideal edphic condition for this species (Harlow et al., 1979, p. 93).

This is an exterior view of a loblolly pine-dominated forest that developed on a backwater of the San Jacinto River. Hardly visible on disturbed, bare soil in foreground are many pine seedlings indicative of extensive regeneration of the dominant tree species.Bare limbs and branches are those of water oak, overcup or swamp white oak, and black gum (= black tupelo), the associate species. This forest range vegetation would have to be described as a loblolly pine-mixed hardwood-dwarf palmetto forest. It was another form or variant of flatwoods forest.

Montgomergy County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South While this backwater forest was definitely not a swamp like cypress or tupelo it was at least a seasonal wetland and perhaps should be interpreted as part of Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al. (1998) in what could be called a Pine-Hardwood Series (of say, number 223.15). Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

68. Next crop of the dominant native and a naturalized alien- At the edge (exterior) of the backwater Pineywoods forest introduced immediately above numerous large seedlings of loblolly (midground) illustrated regeneration by sexual reproduction of this conifer that was dominant in this forest range community. Although both loblolly pine and water oak are rated as Intolerant and subclimax (discussed above for a loblolly pine-water oak-American holly flatwoods forest), on this river backwater wetland these two tree species were climax dominants due to natural protection from severe fire and/or as an edaphic climax. Overcup oak and black tupelo were associate species.

The green leaves in background were those of yaupon holly which comprised a lower woody or shrub layer. Dwarf palmetto (none present in this photograph) formed a second shrub lower in height than the yaupon. (These two lower woody layers of vegetation were presented in the immediately succeeding slide.) At local scale there were sapling- and pole size trees of water oak, overcup oak, and blackgum (indicative of regeneration of these hardwood species later than loblolly pine in this sere) that formed a second tree layer. This was not consistent throughout this vegetation.

The large cespitose grass in foreground was a specimen of Vaseygrass (Paspalum urvillei), an introduced or agronomic forage species that is now naturalized throughout the Pineywoods of Texas and Louisiana. Over its much of its naturalized range Vaseygrass is a highly productive, welcome addition to the often sparse herbaceous understorey of the Pineywoods region. Vaseygrass was dealt with in the chapter, Introduced Forages, under Grasslands.

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South While this backwater forest was definitely not a swamp like cypress or tupelo it was at least a seasonal wetland and perhaps should be interpreted as part of Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al. (1998) in what could be called a Pine-Hardwood Series (of say, number 223.15). Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

69. Interior of backwater loblolly pine-mixed hardwoods-palmetto flatwoods forest- Inside look at the forest range vegetation introduced in the preceding two photographs. This "photo plot" provided a nearly comprehensive sample of the species composition of Pineywoods pine-hardwoods forest. There was no regeneration of the Intolerant loblolly pine beneath canopy of pine, water oak, overcup oak, and black tupelo in contrast to "doghair" stands of seedlings at edge or exterior of this stand as shown above. Saplings and pole-size trees of water, overcup oak and, to lesser extent, black tupelo were present indicating that these hardwood species had regenerated later than loblolly pine in seral development of this forest vegetation. Younger trees of these woody angiosperms did not form a continuous lower tree layer, but this vegetational strata was frequently present. Dwarf palmetto and yaupon made up two lower shrub layers in this vegetation.

Two saplings in foreground were overcup oak (left) and water oak (right).

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of the San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South While this backwater forest was definitely not a swamp like cypress or tupelo it was at least a seasonal wetland and perhaps should be interpreted as part of Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al. (1998) in what could be called a Pine-Hardwood Series (of say, number 223.15). Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

70. Structure and species composition of backwater loblolly pine-mixed hardwoods forest- Two views of lower layers of vegetation in a seasonal wetland forest of loblolly pine, water oak, overcup oak, black tupelo, yaupon, and dwarf palmetto. Large trunk was loblolly pine. On-going regeneration of palmetto was obvious from numerous seedlings of this shrub (eg. in front of pine trunk). Herbaceous species were absent from forest floor which was covered with leaves of tree species.

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of the San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Given published biotic communities in the system of Brown et al. (1998) the closest designation would have to be interpreted as the Pine Series (123.12) of Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest although the Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) is closest in name. There should be a Brown et al. (1998) biotic community of Hardwood-Pine Series under Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest. South While this backwater forest was definitely not a swamp like cypress or tupelo it was at least a seasonal wetland and perhaps should be interpreted as part of Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest (223.1) of Brown et al. (1998) in what could be called a Pine-Hardwood Series (of say, number 223.15). Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

71. Twixt the pines- Among large loblolly pine dwarf or swamp palmetto made up a lower shrub layer (lower than yaupon which constituted another shrub layer) throughout a backwater flatwoods forest. Also below the older (larger) and more scattered pines, water and overcup oak (with occasional black tupelo) formed a discontinuous lower tree layer.

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of the San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. Various units of forest range vegetation were listed in preceding photo captions.

 
 
72. Loblolly Pine-Mixed Hardwood Wet Forest- Loblolly pine is the most common and economically important pine in east Texas. It often grows on well-drained soils, but it is also the Pinus species best adapted to wet, even ponded, sites in the Pineywoods. On this regenerated second-growth forest loblolly pine is the dominant species but shares the forest with numerous associated angiosperm species including water oak, swamp chestnut oak, white oak, and sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in the overstory with an understory limited to a shrub layer of the small American holly (Ilex opaca) and a lower layer of pine seedlings with sedges and rushes. Liberty County, Texas. Vernal aspect, May. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). Forest cover type is best described as SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood), but it has elements of SAF 91 (Swamp Chestnut Oak-Cherrybark Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998), but in location of their Pine Series. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
73. Loblolly Pine-Oak Hardwood Forest in Texas Pineywoods- On this wet, often ponded, site loblolly pine is co-dominant with numerous hardwood species including cherrybark oak (Quercus falcata var. pagodifolia), water oak, swamp chestnut oak, white oak, water hickory or bitter pecan (Carya aquatica), and sweet gum. The woody understory consist largely of regenerating species of the dominants just listed. Herbs consist of sedges, rushes, and scattered small individuals of the native bamboo (Arundinaria gigantea). Liberty County, Texas. Vernal aspect, May. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). Appears to be a transition or “hybrid” between SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood) and SAF 91 (Swamp Chestnut Oak-Cherrybark Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998), but in region of their Pine series. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
74. White umbrella sedge or white-top sedge (Dichromenta latififolia)- The striking bright corolla of this member of the Cyperaceae has prompted wild flower enthusiasts to regard this grass-like plant as a “wild flower”. It is restricted to wet open habitats as an understory to the more open loblolly pine-hardwood forests forms growing on poorly drained sites like that seen immediately above. Hardin County, Texas. May.
 

Although loblolly pine is well-adapted to wet soils (as suggested by the designation of "loblolly" in reference to deep mud hole or large mud puddle) is also occupies and even dominates less moist sites. On moist, but well-drained upland habitats throughout the extensive, eastern deciduous forest region loblolly pine frequently grows with various associated species. The Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980) explained that for the Loblolly Pine-Hardwood forest cover type (SAF 82) there is a "spectrum of moisture regimes and sites" with hardwood species varying according to these gradients. White oak is one of the more widespread component hardwood species on direr upland sites. Throughout much of the Pineywoods white oak is a major--often dominant--species on various forest cover types including shortleaf pine as well as loblolly pine.

Forests of white oak and shortleaf pine (with associated species) were treated later on in this chapter.

Natural vegetation of an upland (well-drained) forest subtype that was composed of white oak and loblolly pine was presented and described immediately below. This "vegetational sampler" was typical of the interrupted or variously scattered forest communities in the southcentral portion of the Oak-Pine Forest Region in which loblolly pine serves to charactrize this transition from Oak-Hickory Region to the Oak-Pine Region (Braun, 1950, p. 259, 278-279).

 

75. Upland loblolly pine-white oak forest- Composite view of an upland Pineywoods forest above a small stream in which loblolly pine and white oak were do-dominants of the the canopy layer with progressively lower vegetational layers formed by sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) as a lower tree layer; yaupon holly as a shrub layer; Walter's greenbriar (Smilax walteri), some species of grape (Vitis sp.), and rattan or Alabama supplejack as multi-layer (ground to canopy) shrubs; and a sparse-barely present herb layer made up mostly of longleaf woodoats. Leavaes of tree and shrub species covered the ground level (soil surface) to such degree as to exclude most herbaceous species, including individuals of longleaf woodoats (generally the dominant herb). The small tree with green-tinged, smooth bark and arching over the stream (lower right corner) and the two two smaller trees on the opposite (left) bank were individuals of sweetbay. A woody shoot of grape was in center foreground. The green zone of vegetation was produced by green leaves of the evergreen yaupon.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Forest and Range Ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977) was either FRES 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) or FRES 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). Either way Kuchler unit was K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Not a good fit in the biotic community classification of Brown et al. (1998) has closest was Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) of the Cold Termperate Forest whereas this vegetation was clearly in the Warm Temperate Forest, Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1) for which there was not an Oak-Pine Series. Braun (1950, 1950, ps. 259-279) extended the Oak-Pine Region to the Coastal Plain which would include the Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

76. Up and above a "crick"- Stand of loblolly pine and white oak on an upland site immediately above a small creek in Pineywoods of east Texas. Vertical view of the same forest introduced in the immediately preceding photograph (and from the same-- though closer-in-- vantagepoint) to better show structure and layering of this forest range vegetation. Woody vines of grape and smaller ones of rattan were in foreground. Limb in upper right corner was of sweetbay, the smaller tree species that constituted a lower tree layer of this forest community.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Forest and Range Ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977) was either FRES 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) or FRES 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). Either way Kuchler unit was K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Not a good fit in the biotic community classification of Brown et al. (1998) has closest was Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) of the Cold Termperate Forest whereas this vegetation was clearly in the Warm Temperate Forest, Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1) for which there was not an Oak-Pine Series. Braun (1950, 1950, ps. 259-279) extended the Oak-Pine Region to the Coastal Plain which would include the Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

77. Lumberman's view of a loblolly pine-white oak upland forest- Structure and species composition of an upland white oak-loblolly pine form or subtype of loblolly pine-hardwood dominance type. Larger trunks in both photographs are loblolly pine. Ph;otographed immediately following heavy rain shower so bark over some long strip-line areas of pine trunks was darker. Sweetbay formed an interrupted second tree layer. These were present as smaller, shorter trees (large saplings or pole-size: two in front of and to left of foremost pine in first slide; whitish trunk in foreground of second slide). An upper shrub (lower woody) layer comprised of yaupon was not distinct in these slides, but was shown in the six slides of immediately succeeding three sets of slides. Ground surface was covered with mulch or duff layer formed from shed leaves of all species. There was a very sparse understorey made up mostly of Walter's greenbriar that was more shrub than herb. A very sparse, intermittent herbaceous layer was composed mostly of longleaf woodoats (an individual of this species was to immediate left and upslope of the sweetbay in foreground of second slide). There were even more scattered individuals of some unidentifiable Carex species.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Forest and Range Ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977) was either FRES 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) or FRES 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). Either way Kuchler unit was K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Not a good fit in the biotic community classification of Brown et al. (1998) has closest was Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) of the Cold Termperate Forest whereas this vegetation was clearly in the Warm Temperate Forest, Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1) for which there was not an Oak-Pine Series. Braun (1950, 1950, ps. 259-279) extended the Oak-Pine Region to the Coastal Plain which would include the Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

78. Ground level view of a lobolly pine-white oak upland forest- Species make-up and layer arrangement of an upland loblolly pine-mixed hardwood forest was shown to good advantage. This forest community was in the unique Big Thicket portion of the Pineywoods and was featured in this segment of discussion devoted to loblolly pine. Loblolly pine is typically a subclimax stage of forest in the vast eastern deciduous forests of North America. Successional status of white oak varies considerably.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Forest and Range Ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977) was either FRES 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) or FRES 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). Either way Kuchler unit was K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Not a good fit in the biotic community classification of Brown et al. (1998) has closest was Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) of the Cold Termperate Forest whereas this vegetation was clearly in the Warm Temperate Forest, Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1) for which there was not an Oak-Pine Series. Braun (1950, 1950, ps. 259-279) extended the Oak-Pine Region to the Coastal Plain which would include the Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

79. Shrubs beneath the pine and oak- Yaupon or yaupon holly made up a shrub layer in the upland loblolly pine-white oak dominated (canopy or cover dominance) forest that had developed along a small stream in the Big Thicket portion of Texas' Pineywoods. This specific forest stand was shown and described in detail above and below.

Liberty County, Texas. February. Various classification units of this forest vegetation were presented in photo captions herein.

 

80. Walk through the upland woods- A series opf three photographs taken from about the same angle presented structure and species composition of vegetation in an loblolly pine-white oak-sweetbay-liana-yaupon- longleaf woodoats upland forest in the Big Thicket portion of the Texas Pineywoods. This "photo stroll" centered on a large white oak (largest tree trunk) near center of photographs. The bark on this old and still alive white oak had sloughed off in patches which were accentuated by a heavy rain moments before this series of photographs was taken.

Smaller, shorter trees were sweetbay which made an interruped lower tree layer.Yaupon formed a shrub layer throughout. A "top-to-bottom" (ground-to-crown canopy) shrub layer consisted of grape, rattan or Alabama supplejack, and Walter's greenbriar. Leaves of all species produced a ground cover layer so thick that there were very few herbaceous species. The most common herb was the perennial grass, longleaf woodoats.

Liberty County, Texas. February, later hibernal aspect. Forest and Range Ecosystem (Garrison et al., 1977) was either FRES 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) or FRES 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem). Either way Kuchler unit was K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Not a good fit in the biotic community classification of Brown et al. (1998) has closest was Oak-Pine Series (122.14) of Northeastern Deciduous Forest (122.1) of the Cold Termperate Forest whereas this vegetation was clearly in the Warm Temperate Forest, Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1) for which there was not an Oak-Pine Series. Braun (1950, 1950, ps. 259-279) extended the Oak-Pine Region to the Coastal Plain which would include the Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

81. Fire-scarred forest veteran- An old white oak on a loblolly pine-white oak dominated upland forest bore testimony to the frequency of past fires. As a general rule, fire in the hardwood-pine cover types of the North American or eastern deciduous forests selects for greater proportions (crown cover, density, dominance, etc.) of pine rather than hardwood species such as the various oaks and hickories. This is most true for the extremely fire-tolerant longleaf pine, but even less fire-tolerant pines like loblolly generally benefit at competitive expense of the angiosperm trees. Furthermore, susceptibility to fire is greater for seedlings, saplings, and small poles than adult hardwood trees. Once hardwoods become established and grow larger they are less susceptible to fire-damage and death.

The ole patriarch of this upland loblolly pine-hardwood forest had obviously been through several surface fires. Past surface fires had burned through the bark of this large white oak which, however, survived quite well as most of its cambium tissue had not been injured. White oak has a variable tolerance response, but is generally rated as Intermediate (in contrast to Intolerance of loblolly pine). White oak is somewhat more tolerant than loblolly pine to drought (Moderate-tolerant vs. Moderate, respectively) while loblolly pine is much more flood tolerant (Moderately vs. Intolerant of white oak) (Wenger, 1984, ps. 2-8). Frequent fire shifts the forest environment in favor of loblolly pine.

Leafy plants at base of the white oak were small individuals of yaupon. Sapling behind and to right of white oak was sweetbay, the major species of the lower tree layer.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

82. Walter's greenbriar, coral or red-bead greenbriar,, or sarsaparilla (Smilax walteri)- One of several Smilax species in the Pineywoods Region. This one generally prefers moist to wet habitats, including sandy soils along streams such as that in the loblolly pine-white oak-sweetbay-yaupon upland forest described here.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

83. Nitty gritty of Walter's greenbriar- Details of leaves and stems of Walter's greenbriar which is only one of various Smilax species in the eastern deciduous forest of North America. This was growing in the understorey of a loblolly pine-white oak-dominated upland forest that developed along a small stream in the Big Thicket.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

84. Thinned out- Stand of loblolly pine thinned for optimum growth of individual trees and wood yield. Yaupon holly comprised a lower, second woody layer. Herbaceous understorey consisted of a diversity of grasses including especially longleaf woodoats, panicgrasses (Panicum and Dichanthium spp.), and paspalums (Paspalum spp. including the naturalized Vaseygrass) along with sedges (Carex and Cyperus spp.) and spikerushes (Eleocharis spp.).

Within a relatively short period (probably less than 10-15 years) this stand will become a closed canopy monoculture of plantation loblolly pine like that shown immediately below.

Hardin County, May, estival aspect. Pyric or anthropogenic variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) that would terminate in dominance by hardwood species. SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Pine Series, 123.12, in Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

85. Loblolly forest at mature stage relative to harvest (mainly pulp wood)- Closed canopy forest that is totally devoid of understory. Stands of loblolly pine such as this essentially single-species stand are transitory range that is grazable/browswable only until the upperstory of trees closes thereby depriving understory layers (often even shrub stories) of light. Houston County, Texas.March, vernal aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Pyric or anthropogenic variant of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) that would terminate in dominance by hardwood species. SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Pine Series (123.12) in Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest biotic community (123.1) of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

86. Small clear-cut of loblolly pine like that pictured in previous slide— What slash is not used locally as fire wood following pole and/or pulp wood harvest will be burned and the site prepared for replanting which is typically artificial propagation (planting of nursery grown seedlings rather than natural regeneration by seeding from adjacent or scattered remaining trees).

Liberty County, Texas. March. FRES No.13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem).K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest).SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine). Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

87. A loblolly pine plantation eight years following planting of seedlings in a clear-cut like the one immediately above— The plantation understory is being grazing by cattle as a means of biological control of the fiercely competitive weed tree, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), as well as utilization of the native grasses that vary from climax Andropogon and Panicum species to the the threeawns or wiregrasses and crabgrasses (Digitaria spp.). Little bluestem and broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) are the dominant grasses shown here. Native hickory and oak species have regenerated by both coppice sprouting and seedling emergence yet are less a brush problem than seral sweetgum.This illustrates that oak and hickory species are natural dominants of the climax and that the human inputs of forest management are essential to economically raise the crops of pines which are minor climax dominants relative to the hardwoods.Note preferencial grazing first of grasses and secondly of browsing on hardwoods. Pines have not been browsed. Loblolly pine transitory range.Weyerheuser-contracted crop.

LeFlore County, Oklahoma. May. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine) or SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Pine Series of Brown et al.(1998). Ouachita Mountains- Athens Plateau Ecoregion, 36a (Woods et al., 2005).

 

88. Transitory forest range in a 10 to12 year-old hybrid loblolly pine plantation showing ungrazed understory that is tallgrass prairie of little bluestem, big bluestem, broomsedge bluestem, Indiangrass, and side-oats grama. Hardwood species like oaks, hickories, and sweetgum are totally absent due largely to previous heavy browsing by cattle.Weyerheuser trees.

McCurtain County, Oklahoma. July. FRES No.13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 81 (Loblolly Pine) or SAF 82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains- Cretaceous Dissected Uplands Ecoregion, .35d (Woods et al., 2005).

 
89. Loblolly pine regeneration (and competition) in cut-over forest- Natural regeneration of loblolly pine from seed following clearcutting (even-aged regeneration method). The pines are in competition and face the threat of wild fire from the lush growth of native grasses including broomsedge bluestem (the most abundant grass), splitbeard bluestem, big bluestem, plus various species of Panicum, Paspalum, and Sporobolus.
 

90. Vulnerable to fire- Close-up view of a loblolly pine seedling in the cut-over forest shown immediately above. This silvic baby is about as vulnerable as a newborn lamb. The seedling was surrounded by broomsedge bluestem (the Andropogon species closest to it), splitbeard bluestem, little bluestem with dead herbage of Panicum and Paspalum species not far away. This new pine was produced by natural reproduction (seed production, germination, and emergence) and there are frequently too many such seedlings produced so that killing of the vast excess by fire is essential management for efficient, economical production of forest products. On this cut-over forest, however, regeneration was not excessive thus necessitating protection of the next cohort of loblolly pines from fire at this vulnerable stage of their life cycle.

Grazing by cattle (the kind of range animal most likely to consume grass and not browse on pines) would reduce the fuel load produced by grasses (and some grasslike plants and forbs)thereby reducing chances of wild fire that would eliminate the barely adequate stocking of loblolly pine. Grazing of such rank, dormant, and, in instance of broomsedge and splitbeard bluestems, unpalatable grasses at this stage of full plant maturity and dormancy is not feasible. Cattle will not graze such herbage as show here (at least not at levels of voluntary forage intake that would be profitable to cattlemen). Rather, grazing should have been done back when these herbaceous species were immature and less unpalatable (ie. get on top and stay on top of the potential fuel).

Harrison County, Texas. December.

 

91. Waiting to burn and die- A fine loblolly pine seedling in an ocean of grass herbage. Grass material was mostly from broomsedge and splitbeard bluestems, species of extremely low palatability. Getting loblolly pine to enough height to withstand a wild fire on this cut-over pine forest is "ify" and one time when even rangemen (if they done a forester's hardhat for a time) find common cause with that otherwise deplorable bruin, Smokey Bear.

The forest range shown here is in the heart of the loblolly pine region and to the west of longleaf pine forest. Thus, wise use of prescribed fire is not as (perhaps not) feasible. Grazing of this regenerating loblolly pine forest by beef cattle would be one of the best--if not the best--practices to maximize the chance of establishing the next crop of wood. Of course, grazing of unpalatable species like broomsedge and splitbeard bluestems has to begin when herbage is young and more acceptable to cattle. Cows and calves would be preferable to steers on low-quality feed such as that seen here because stocker cattle must achieve higher levels of individual performance to be profitable under the almost-always negative price structure (heavier cattle fetch lower prices per cwt.). See there, the ole range professor slipped in one of the Cardinal Principles of Range Management: Proper Kind and Class of Range Animal (in this case, class as to sex of animal).

Harrison County, Texas. December.

 
92. Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)- Seedlings and young trees of longleaf pine are seen here in at least four age classes. Longleaf pine is one of the most fire-tolerant trees in North America. Natural and Indian-set fires contributed to persistence of Pinus species in the deciduous forests of eastern North America. This was particularly the case for longleaf pine where fire maintained parklike forest of almost pure longleaf with a grassy understory much like the case for the ponderosa pine forests of western North America. In addition to reduction of a woody understory (and thus likelihood of a crown fire) fire may have helped control southern blister or fusiform rusts such as Cronartium fusiforme= C. quercuumf. ssp. fusiforme. (In addition, longleaf pine is more resistant to fusiform rust than is loblolly or slash pine [Baxter, 1943].) Fire has definitely been proven to be useful in control of brown spot disease (Septoria acicola) when longleaf is in the grass stage (Wright and Bailey, 1982, ps. 369, 415). Fire cost the burnt grass stage longleaf a year’s growth because it consumes the needles (fire destroys the brown-spot spores in the fallen leaves), but in absence of this fire the young longleaf trees would die from brown-spot disease.

Winter burns at three year intervals result in doubling the growth of longleaf. Longleaf pine is much more tolerant of fire than are loblolly and slash pine. Natural fires at two to three year intervals maintained longleaf whereas a reduced fire frequency results in loblolly and slash pine becoming the dominant Pinus species. Absence of fire results in succession to the climatic climax mixed pine-deciduous (= hardwood) forest. (Wright and Bailey, 1982, ps. 368-371). In other words, all the southern pine forest types are fire types and this is most true for the longleaf pine type. Stand of young longleaf pine in background. Hardin County Texas, May. FRES N0. 12 (Longleaf-Slash Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-102 (Southern Mixed Forest, Seral Stages), SAF 70 (Longleaf Pine) of the Southern Yellow Pines. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
93. The grass stage of longleaf pine- A longleaf pine seedling in the grass stage (front foreground) and a loblolly pine seedling of comparable age (behind the longleaf) shows conclusively why frequent firing will maintain longleaf pine instead of the more competitive loblolly pine.  A surface fire will burn off the leaves of the longleaf seedling and set it back a year’s growth, but the fire will kill the loblolly seedling. In absence of fire brown-spot would likely kill or retard growth of many young longleafs. The actual mechanism by which grass-stage longleaf survives is simple: the needles grow in a dense pattern around the terminal bud (apical meristem), which is the actively growing tissue of the seedling and whose hormones regulate growth of the tree, and protect it (and thus the seedling’s life) from the heat or consumption by the flames. A most remarkable evolutionary adaptation for a desirable forest tree valuable for both its lumber and naval stores. Hardin County, Texas, May. FRES No. 12 (Longleaf-Slash Pine Forest Ecosystem), K-102 (Southern Mixed Forest, Seral Stages), SAF 70. South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
Organization note: more complete coverage of the loblolly pine range types (SAF 81 and SAF 82), including natural revegeetation (secondary plant succession) on old fields and cutover land were incluced in the chapter, Loblolly Pine.
 
Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata) Forests
Shortleaf pine, which is generally second only to loblolly pine (longleaf pine have been eliminated by man as a dominant species from much of its former range), occurs over much of upper southcentral North America (mid-South) especially on drier slopes and generally shallower, droughtier soils. Most of the pine and oak-pine forest of ancient mountains like the Ozarks, Ouchitas, and Kiamichis are those in which shortleaf pine is either a dominant or associate tree species. When Okies and Arkies speak of pineries they refer to shortleaf pine. Shortleaf pine is the State Tree of Arkansas.
 
 

94. Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)-oak pineywoods of eastern Oklahoma— Frequent fires have kept the oak-hickory-sweetgum component suppressed thus maintaining a nearly "pure pine type" in this second growth forest. (But note mostly hickory and oak sprouts in understory indicating recent fire suppression and succession toward the climatic climax of the region.) Herb layer is absent but flowering dogwood and redbud form an upper shrub layer while blackberry (Rubus spp.), gooseberry (Ribes spp.), and huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.) comprise a lower shrub layer.

Old Military Road, Talimena State Park. LeFlore County, Oklahoma. July, estival aspect. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem). Textbook example of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). Ouachita Mountains-Western Ouachitas Ecoregion, 36e (Woods et al., 2005).

 
95. Trunk of a mature shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)- Red River County, Texas. July.
 

96. Branch of shortleaf pine- Shortleaf pine has the shortest needles of the major Pinus species in the Southern Pine Region. It was noted above that longer needles accumulate ice from storms more than short needles do. Shortleaf pine is therefore better adapted to more northern and western portions as in Arkansas and Oklahoma where ice storms not uncommonly inflict major damage to pines grown for shade and wood commodities.

Red River County, Texas. September.

 

97. Needless and cones of shortleaf pine- Relative length of leaves on shortleaf pine can be guaged by comparing the ones in this slide with those for longleaf, slash, or even ponderosa pines presented vriously in this publication. Cones of shortleaf pine are the smallest of the four major Pinus species often reaching only one and a half to two inches in length. Cones are frequently borne in a cluster of three at twig tips. Shortleaf pine is a prolific seed-producer beginning at relatively young ages. Fasicles bear two to three needles.

Red River County, Texas. September.

 
98. Shortleaf pine type with an open parklike understory dominated by big bluestem— Xeric south slope and a recent history of surface fires maintained this form of the white oak-shortleaf pine type as a pine-bluestem cmmunity. Benton County, Arkansas. June, early estival aspect. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem) is the most accurate description of this type but FRES No.14 and FRES No.13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Ecosystem) both include the K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest) unit. SAF 75 (Shortleaf Pine). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). Ozark Plateau- Dissected Springfield Plateau-Elk River Hills Ecoregion, 39b (Woods et al. 2004).
 
An extraordinary example of an virgin shortleaf pine-oak-hickory forest at old-growth stage was presented and described in the following section. The example was Lennox Woods, a priceless tract donated by Kirby Lumber Company to The Nature Conservancy for the enjoyment and education of future generations. The forest community of Lennox Woods is perhaps "the sole survivor" relict vegetation of what the Shortleaf Pine-Oak type (SRM 76) of Pineywoods was before disturbance by the white man converted this western edge of the eastern deciduous forest into urban areas, highways, farms, and industrial forest plantations.
 

99. Virgin shortleaf pine-oak-hickory forest— One of the few remnants of old-growth forest left in Texas is this shortleaf pine-white oak-chinkapin oak (Q. muhlenbergii)-shellbark hickory (Carya ovata)-pignut hickory (C. cordiformis) community seen here. There are several layers of vegetation including a second tree layer of young climax tree species and species like winged elm (Ulmus alata) and boisd'arc or Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) and a shrub layer of flowering dogwood, Arkansas traveler or pepperwood (Ampelopsisarborea), blackberry, gooseberry, and various wild grape vines. The prominent herb layer(s) include little bluestem, rosette panic grasses (Panicum spp.), slender- or longleaf wood oats, and scattered clumps of the native bamboo, giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea).

Lennox Woods (donated by Kirby Lumber Company to The Nature Conservancy), Red River County, Texas. May, vernal aspect. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Ecosystem).FRES No.14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). Classic example of K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37). South Central Plains- Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35a (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
 
100. Old growth white oak-shellbark hickory-shortleaf pine community-A bottomland site but on this sandy soil species composition is more typical of upland and mesic sites. Composite shot of the climatic or regional climax of northern portions of Texas Pineywoods. Same species composition as in previous slide. Lennox Woods, The Nature Conservancy, Red River County, Texas. May, vernal aspect. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion, 35a (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
101. Climax bottomland White Oak-Shagbark Hickory-Shortleaf Pine Forest- The more mesic bottomlands of this forest cover type are of the oak-hickory affiliation with very little pine present. This massive old-growth white oak stands as evidence of what even the more western reaches of the Pineywoods can produce. The hat between the flutes of the trunk is a standard 4 inch brim-size so it is about a foot end-to-end. The oak is over 1 yard Diameter Breast Height. Countless thousands of white oaks such as this were logged from Texas’ virgin forests for railroad ties and building timbers to help build a young nation, but many, probably most in many forests were felled for cooperage (mostly to make staves for whiskey barrels). Such is the dual nature of man. The grass understory is made up of scattered, depauperate shoots of the native bamboo (Arundinaria gigantea), longleaf uniola (Uniola sessiliflora= Chasmanthium sessiliflorum) along with Canada wildrye and various species of Panicum and Paspalum. It is meaningful from a range perspective how much herbaceous and woody understory there is in this old-growth forest, and how much feed there will be if stocking rates are kept very low or super-conservative. The Nature Conservancy Lennox Woods, Red River County, Texas. Vernal aspect, May.  
 

102. Reaching to the sky- Another large hickory presented to represent its species was this specimen of shagbark or shellbark hickory (Carya ovata). Most of the neighboring trees were white oak, but shortleaf pine was also well-represnted throughout this forest. A hearty specimen of poison oak (Rhus toxicodendron= Toxicodendron radicans= Rhus radicans) had claimed the trunk of this large shellbark for its own.

Lennox Woods, Red River County, Texas. May.

 

103. A good foundation- Trunk of the large shagbark hickory shown in the preceding photograph. Note the characteristic bark which in large trees often forms canoe-sized sheets or shelves projecting conspicouosly from the large trunk. A large specimen of poison oak was growing up the right side of this trunk.

Lennox Woods, Red River County, Texas. May.

 
Following presentation of a virgin shortleaf pine-oak-hickory forest at old-growth state immediately above, a second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood forest in the central portion of Texas Pineywoods was presented in the following section. This forest rangecommunity was on the Davy Crockett National Forest where it was being managed as part of the restocking program of eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) in the Pineywoods. Such forest range vegetation was an outstanding example of second-growth forests described by the Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980, ps. 7, 60) as the Shortleaf Pine-Oak forest cover type (SRM 76).
 

104. Physiogonomy and external architecture- Overall views of a second-growth, uplnd shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood stand from surface of forest floor to near top of forest canopy. Dominant woody vines in this particular local stand were Small's, lanceleaf, or coral greenbriar (Smilax smallii) and an unidentified grape (Vitis sp.?). Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), and yaupon. Common grasses were longleaf woodoats, the dominant herbaceous species overall, purpletop (Tridens flavus), and beaked panicgrass (Panicum anceps). Forbs were extremely scarce so as to be of no notable relevance except to record presence of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum).

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

105. Internal structure and species composition- Two " photoplots" at progressively closer distance to range vegetation of a second-growth, upland shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood forest. The same shortleaf pine of relatively large size was in foreground of both slides. Dominant shrub overall as based on cover, density, and frequency was American beautyberry. Yaupon was a distant second based on these criteria. There were two shrub layers (upper and lower) in the forest range vegetation presented. The upper or higher shrub layer was very sporadic consisting of "here-and-there" isolated plants of flowering dogwood (left side of first slide), red maple (Acer rubrum) which, though a tree species, was represented as a shrub in this stand (left side of first slide), eastern redbud (right-center foreground of first slide and same plant at far-right in second slide). Common greenbriar (Smilax bona-nox) and an unidentified species of wild grape (Vitis sp?) formed a fairly continuous "botanical connection" from ground level to tree canopy.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

107. Species composition of a second growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood stand with emphasis on shrub layers- In this forest range vegetation as shown in the first photograph hortleaf pines (in background) were joined by sweetgum (foremost tree at far right margin) and white oak (center midground) with an understorey dominated by the low shrub American beautyberry with yaupon as associate shrub species. An irregular or sporadic herbaceous layer consisted of longleaf woodoats (overwhelmingly the dominant herbaceous species) accompanied by splitbeard bluestem (Andropogon ternarius) as the associate herb.

Second and closer-in "photoplot" (second slide) presented this forest plant community from roughly the same camera point. Tree trunk in immediate foreground (left-center) was the sweetgum in far right margin of first slide. There was a sassafras seedling to right of this sweetgum. American beautyberry and yaupon (first and second, respectively, major shrubs in lower woody layer) were presented to better advantage than in the first of these two slides. Other ("also-ran") shrub species included common greenbriar; Small's, lanceleaf, or coral greenbriar, smooth sumac, winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), and an unindentified Vitis species. Red maple was present as large seedling and small sapling age classes so as to be part of this lower woody layer. Red maple was present as a small tree along margin of this forest tract (see below).

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

108. Synopsis views of vegetational layers- Interior of a second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest showing the lower woody (shrub) layer. There were more shrub species and consequently greater diversity in understorey structure than in the local forest vegetation presented in the immediately preceding "photoplots". Hardwood species present in forest vegetation presented here included white oak, sweetgum, sassafras, and, especially, red maple. This latter species was present primarily as large seedlings to small saplings except on perimeter of forest where it grew to small tree size (shown bwelow).Here both smooth sumac and winged sumac were present at height intermediate between tall shrubs such as flowering dogwood and eastern redbud and lower shrubs like American beautyberry, the dominant shrub overall.

Shrub layers of the forest range vegetation in this local area was presented in the immediately succeeding pair of photographs at shorter focal length to better "sample" species composition and arrangement of this forest stand. Herbaceous species consisted mostly of grass species of which longleaf woodoats was "head-and-shoulders" above all others to rank as the dominant herb. Other important grass species included beaked panicgrass, rosette panicgrasses (Panicum species of the Dichanthelium section), purpletop, and splitbeard bluestem. Forbs were too limited to warrent remarks other than to note presence of an occasional plant of bracken fern, perhaps the most widely distributed plant species on Earth (greatest species range).

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

109. More emphasis on shrubs- Interior of a second-growth, upland shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest presented so as to show greater detail of the shrub layer. This local area was the same "as introduced in " photoplots" represented in the immediately preceding pair of slides. More details of the lower woody and herbaceous layers (s) of this local stand were visible in these "photoquadrants". Dominance was a matter of extremely localized groups because some of the major species grew as clonal colonies. Smooth and winged sumac were most pronounced of these, but Small's or coral greenbriar (immediate center foreground in second of these slides) was also an obvious clonal plant spreading by "rootstocks" (woody rhizomes). Likewise, American beautyberry (the overall dominant shrub) grows in dense populations due perhaps to its typically abundant yields of fruits (immediate center foreground of second slide).

Other shrubs represented in these two photographs included poison ivy, an unindentified species of wild grape, and yaupon.Seedlings and small saplings of sweetgum and red maple were plentiful in this stand (they were especially noticable in the first slide). Herbaceous species were primarily grasses and included the dominant, longleaf woodoats, splitbeard bluestem, purpletop, beaked panicgrass, and rosette panicgrasses. the most conspicuous forb was bracken fern, but it was present as incidental, individual plants and did not form colonies or brakes.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

110. On the outskirts- The outermost edge of an upland, second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest featuring a large red maple (immediate center foreground). Most tree trunks were shortleaf pine except for an occasional white oak and sweetgum. Shrubs included American beautyberry, yaupon, and Small's or coral greenbriar. Herbaceous species were not dectible in this photograph taken at such distance as to show most of the nice specimen of red maple. (Details of lower layers of understorey were featured in the next two two-slide sets.)

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

111. Lower layers- Two "photoplots" of herbaceous and lower shrub layers of an upland, second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest in the Texas Pineywoods. The first photograph presented beaked panicgrass and purple as local dominants of the herbaceous stratum (longleaf woodoats was the overall dominant herbaceous species; next set of slides). A species of rosette pancigrass was represented at far left. Yaupon, the overall associate shrub species, accounted for almost all cover in background of this first photograph. An unidentified species of wild grape was also present.

The second photograph included seedlings of red maple and sweetgum along with smooth sumac and American beautyberry at less-than-its-usul abundance for the lower woody layer. A plant of bracken fern, the only forb of much abundance, was also included for viewers' interest.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

112. More detail of lower layers- Smaller "photoquadrants" of the lower woody and herbaceous layers of an upland, second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest in the Texas Pineywoods. Longleaf woodoats was the star of this lineup and merited center-stage by nature of it being the dominant herbaceous on this forest range (across much of the Pineywoods Region for that matter). American beautyberry and yaupon with their characteristic leaves also were obvious in both photographs. Also present in the first photograph were beaked panicgrass and a rosette panicgrass as well as smooth sumac, all locally common species in this stand of forest vegetation.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

113. Older pines, more hardwoods, and denser shade- Another stand of upland, second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwoods forest that was adjacent to the stand featured in this section was made up of somewhat larger (resumedly older) shortleaf pines at conspicuously greater density and canopy closure. The downed pine was the victim of a hurricane six weeks prior to time of photograph. The tree closest to this laid-low pine (in front and at left of the trunk) was a sweetgum. Smaller tree with light gray bark in center midground was a Texas or black hickory (Carya texana) readily distinguishable to and handily identified by the photographer (not discernable in photographs) due to presence of 13 leaflets (the only hickory in this area to "sport" so many leaflets).

The only shrubs present with any remarkable cover were American beautyberry, dominant shrub of this forest plus flowering dofgwood and eastern redbud, those stewarts of the upper shrub layer across much of the eastern deciduous forest. All three of these shrub species provide mast for eastern wild turkey, the critical animal species for which this forest tract was being managed. Shade was too dense to permit much grass cover. Even the longleaf woodoats, the dominant herbaceous species, had been pretty much excluded from this "sylvan party".

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

114. Sunlite sample of structure- A small, local opening in a shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood second-growth forest afforded a view of forest structure and botanical composition of this foret range vegetation. In addition to the tall shortleaf pines there was a hardwood component of saweetgum, white oak, and black or Texas hickory in the tree layer. In addition there were two shrub layers: 1) taller layer of flowering dogwood and eastern redbud and 2) lower layer dominated by American beautyberry with yaupon as associate species of this stratum. There was an interrupted herbaceous layer dominated by longleaf woodoats.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Pine Forest Ecosystem). K-101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest). SAF 76 (Shortleaf Pine-Oak). Pinus echinata Association (if recognized) in a Oak-Pine Series of Brown et al. (1998, p. 37) or, alternatively, Warm Temperate Forest and Woodland (123), Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (123.1), Pine Series (123.12) of Brown et al. (1998, p. 38). South Central Plains-Southern Tertiary Uplands Ecoregion 35e (Griffith et al., 2004).

 

115. Small's, lanceleaf, or coral greenbriar (Smilax smallii)- Common greenbriar (S. bona-nox) was comparatively more abundant than Small's greenbriar in the second-growth shortleaf pine-mixed hardwood forest featured in this section, but S. smallii was well-represented and afforded an opportunity to introduce viewers to another Smilax species.

Davy Crockett National Forest, Houston County, Texas. October; autumnal aspect.

 
Swamps and Related Wetland Forests

Dispersed widely, though sometimes extensively, the eastern deciduous forest complex there are various forest cover types on wetlands. Most commonly these forested wetlands are swamps or riparian forests or woodlands. Swamp was defined by the Society of American Foresters (Helms, 1998) as "a tree- or tall shrub-dominated wetland, characterized by periodic flooding and nearly permanent subsurface water flow through mixtures of mineral sediments and organic materials, essentially without peat accumulation". Much of the wetland forest vegetation furnishes little or no herbage or woody material for forage and browse due to either absence of an understorey or nearly permanent water inundation. While such forests are of limited value (at best) as grazing land per se their vegetation is part of the overall range landscape and does provide water and shade for livestock; serves as sources of water, cover, and space as habitat factors for wildlife, contributes biodiversity to the general forest range ecosystem; and, probably most important of all, serves as essential watershed including the role of flood protection.

A short sample of these wetland forest types was provided below.

116. Pine Island Bayou- Portion of bayou along which bald cypress dominated (almost exclusively) the riparian zone. Example of a slough-swell system. Manco soil series.

Big Thicket National Preserve, Pine Island Bayou, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A co-dominant variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Bald Cypress Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).

 

117. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) backwater swamp-Consociation of bald cypress but local associates are water oak (Quercus nigra) and water elm (Planera aquatica). No understory at all; standing water most of the year. Big Thicket National Preserve, Maple Creek, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16 (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). The bald cypress variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Tupelo-Cypress Series in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community of Brown et al. (1998). Would be Taxodium distichum Association (if such is recognized). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).
 
118. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)- Leaves and cones of bald cypress. Hardin County, Texas. September.
 
Presented immediately were a series of eight photographs of bald cypress, bald cypress-water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), and bald cypress-red gum (Persea borbonia) swamps in Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County County, Texas. These various stands were used to represent forest cover types recognized by the Society of American Foresters (Eyre, 1980). The overall forest vegetation was bald cypress-water tupelo bottomland forest on soils that are more-or-less permanently inundated with water. Such wetlands that are dominated by trees have traditionally been defined and described as swamps.
 

119. Bald cypress- Consociation of bald cypress, including knees and regeneration of bald cypress. Water tupelo was an associate species in this stand of slightly deeper water. Water oak was also "among the numbered", but the number of species was extremely limited. Slough of Beech Creek, Beech Creek Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. May, later vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 101 (Baldcypress). Taxodium distichum Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).
 
 

120. Big Thicket Cypress-Tupelo Swamp- General view of a bald cypress-water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) swamp deep in the Big Thicket portion of Texas Pineywoods. Structure, architecture, and species composition typical of this forest type.Second-growth forest so that trees lack size of old-growth patriarchs, but species composition was that of the climax forest. There was abundant regeneration of these two climax tree species. Understorey shrub was swamp cyrilla (Cyrilla racemiflora) which was also regenerating. Did not take long to describe this simple wetland forest community. Obviously the only range feed available was browse provided by the swamp cyrilla.

Along margins of this tract of swamp an adjoining forest on slightly higher land and less hydric soil another forest community had developed that consisted of swamp chestnut oak or, as also known, cow oak and basket oak (Quercus michauxii), shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, sugar maple, red maple (Acer rubrum), sweet gum, and the small tree or shrub of the tallest lower layer known variously as musclewood, blue beech, or American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). Soil association was a Caneyhead-Kenefick.

Big Thicket National Preserve, Maple Creek Unit, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A co-dominant variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Nyssa aquatica Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).

 

121. Deep in the swamp; thick in the Big Thicket- In the deep interior of the legendary Big Thicket bald cypress and water tupelo formed a forbidding, mysterious, erie, etc. (adjectives and explectives abound) wetland forest. These two vertical photographs showed representative samples of this forest vegetation. The shrub in center foreground of second slide was swamp cryilla.

Big Thicket National Preserve, Maple Creek Unit, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A co-dominant variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Nyssa aquatica Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).

 

122. Water tupelo-bald cypress swamp- Healthy natural regeneration but perennially standing water undoubtedly prevents other than rare browsing by white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Big Thicket National Preserve, Maple Creek, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A co-dominant variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Nyssa aquatica Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and(223.11) Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).
 
123. Local stand of bald cypress and redbay (Persea borbonia)- There was some water tupelo present, but redbay was clearly co-dominant with water tupelo a "dim and distant" third among tree species while red maple limped in at fourth place. The major species of shrubs were sqamp cyrilla and swamp or dwarf palmetto. Little Pine Island Bayou, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). Variant of SAF 104 (Sweetbay-Swamp Tupelo-Redbay). Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., (2004).
 

124. Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) swamp- Blackgum dominated a small swamp formed by backwater of the San Jacinto River. Yaupon and swamp or dwarf palmetto formed one to two shrub layers (depending on height of yaupon at different locations) in this wetland forest. Adjacent to this swamp were larger areas of less wet soils on which loblolly pine-mixed hardwood-palmetto forest developed. That forest range vegetation was covered under loblolly pine forests earlier in this chapter.

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of the San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Nyssa sylvatica Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 

125. Blackgum in the backwater- More detailed view of a black tupelo swamp showing species composition and structure of a fairly restricted cover type in the Pineywoods. In addition to the trunks of blackgum "spotlighted" there were various twisted woody vines of rattan or Alabama supplejack, yaupon holly, and swamp or dwarf palmetto in this wetland forest vegetation.

Montgomergy County, Texas (backwater of the San Jacinto River). February, later hibernal aspect. FRES No.16. (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem). A variant of K-103 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest). SAF 102 (Baldcypress-Tupelo). Nyssa sylvatica Association (if and when recognized), Tupelo-Cypress Series (223.11) in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community (223.1) of Brown et al (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
Spanish moss or black moss (Tillandsia usneoides = Dendropogon usneoides) is a common--and conspicuous--component species of the wetland forests (both swamps and riparian forests) as well as surrounding upland forests and savannahs. It was included at this juncture for purposes of interest, variety, and as it seemed "fitting".
 

126. "Moss"-festooned limb in the Pineywoods- Trees in more southern portions of the eastern deciduous forest complex "sport" numerous species of epiphyte, " a plant that uses another plant, typically a tree, for its physical support, but which does not draw nourishment from it" (Allaby, 1998). Perhaps the most common and widely distributed epiphytic species of forests in southern North America is Spanish moss or, sometimes, black moss or blackmoss, or old-man's beard (Tillandsia usneoides = Dendropogon usneoides).

Contrary to the misleading designation "moss" this epiphyte is not only not a moss but it is, in fact, an advanced vascular plant, a monocotyledon in the Bromeliaceae (the pineapple family). Other forests--the Olympic Peninsula rain forest is the classic case--do have true mosses elegantly draped (="festooned" is the popular word) from limbs and branches of trees. Other forest communities have hanging wisply from their branches so-called "moss" that are species of lichen. The California oak woodland is the classic example. Still yet other forest range types (eg. Oregon white oak forest and the Olympic rain forest) have both actual moss and lichen species as distinct components or even layers of their vegetation.

Where Spanish moss is a member of various eastern deciduous forest cover types it is a conspicuous, even prominent, botanical component of the vegetation, especially given the species' rather indistinctive, "bland" arrangement of thread-like, gray-colored leaves and stems. In popular imagination Spanish moss figures more picturesquely in erie, deep woods like cypress and tupelo swamps as in the mystic Big Thicket. Actually the densest populations of this bromeliad are in trees growing not in forests but in the open and that have large, spreading crowns and where there is plenty of light for this chlorophyllous epiphye. This set of photographs was taken from ancient post oak and willow oak growing in open fields (but still in the area of the historic Big Thicket of Texas' Pineywoods).

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

127. Making a habit ot it- Habit (general or outer physical form) of Spanish moss. Strands of thread-like (filiform), grayish stems and leaves of Spanish moss form festoons of considerable size (attaining lengths measured in feet or even yards or meters) as they hang from branches of trees and sway in the slightest breeze. This lichen-resembling species generally lacks roots and instead uses scaly hairs on leaves to absorb water and mineral nutrients from the air (hence, another common name of "airplant"). Spanish moss is regarded as an atmospheric or atmospheric-type eipphyte. It is also a xerophyte (plants living in arid or extremely dry [xeric] habitats) having such xerophytic features as the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism pathway of photosynthesis and multicellular hairs on leaves that reflect excess light and reduce water loss in addition to capturing air-borne nutrients (Diggs et al., 2006, ps. 478, 480).

Ephphytes provide one of the textbook examples of commensalism, a symbiotic relationship in which one organism or species benefits (positive effect) from the association (the commensal; in this instance, Spanish moss) while the other "pardner" (the host), trees or other plants functioning as support and growing space, is unaffected (neutral or no effect) by the relationship. The Spanish moss specimen introduced in the first photograph was growing on a willow oak whereas the Spanish moss plant in the second photograph was hosted by an ancient post oak.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

128. In the thick of it- A sample of portions from three plants of Spanish moss showing the tangled arrangement of gray, filiform (thread-like; linear, slender and circular in cross-section) stems and leaves within the festoon produced by plants of this epiphytic and xerophytic monocotyledon.

Spanish moss is frequently used as nesting material by various species of birds, reptiles, and mammals (from smaller rodents to farrowing sows of free-ranging, feral swine). Indians in both North and South America made miscellaeous uses of this widely distributed bromeliad. Industrial Age man has used Spanish moss for everything from floral decoration to stuffing and packaging material. Anecdotal and empirical evidence has indicated that Spanish moss can be a component of deer diets.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

129. Strands of thread-like leaves- Two close-up views of Spanish moss to show the filiform shoots and individual leaves of this xerophytic epiphyte. These adult plants were of large, mature size but at pre-bloom phenology.

Liberty County, Texas. February.

 

Big grass in the Big Thicket- Sugarcane plumegrass (Erianthus giganteus= E. saccharoides) growing in a local clearing of sugarberry (Celtis laegivata)-sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)-green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) flatwoods forest. (See Organizational Note immediately below in regards to this forest cover type.) This forest range vegetation was in an ecotonal area between the Big Thicket form of Pineywoods and Gulf Coast Prairies & Marshes vegetational areas.

There are three other Erianthus species native to Texas. All four plumegrass species are tall, rank-growing, robust perennials whose biological ranges include primarily low, moist to wet habitats within the Pineywoods and Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes (Gould, 19785, ps. 569-573).

Jefferson County, Texas. Early October.

 
ORGANIZATIONAL NOTE: The sugarberry-sweet gum -green ash flatwoods forest was treated in the chapter entitled Miscellaneous (Riverine Forest section) under Foressts and Woodlands.
 

Hairy union- The pilose "throat" of sheath, base of blade, and stout culm of sugarcane plumegrass. This detail was of one of the shoots included in the tufts or clumps of sugarcane plumegrass shown immediately above. The union sheath and blade of leaf is designated as the collar for the outer (outside) surface and ligule for the inner (inside) surface. Dense, silky pubescence outlined this convergent portion of the leaf.

Jefferson County, Texas. Early October.

 

Big plumes of a big grass in the Big Thicket- Panicles of sugarcane plumegrass in various stages of maturity ranging from unopened and opened (expressed) stages in current year's growth (mid-ground of first slide) to full maturity in previous year's growth (foreground of first slide). Young panicles with branches just beginning to unfold or expand and prominent flag leaves (those immediately subtending the panicle) were shown in second slide. The fully expanded panicle from last year was shown further in the succeeding two-slide set.

Jefferson County, Texas. Early October.

 

All plumed out- Last year's panicle of sugarcane plumegrass. Two views of the same panicle showed the branching pattern of this feathery secondary inflorescence. Silveus (1933, p. 507) described the panicle of this species as being "broadly oblong, erect or slightly nodding" and "densely villous".

Jefferson County, Texas. Early October.

 
130. Two distinct plant communities comprising locally restricted vegetation types: 1) a swamp of water oak with bald cypress as an associate and 2) a maidencane (Panicum hemitomon) marsh designated as a lowlands range site. These two types together constitute a flat woods pond. FRES No. 16 (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem) and corresponding K-101 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest) and FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with with no Kuchler units small enough to pick up the maidencane type. Maidencane would be included with Kuchler-83 (Everglades) in Florida. The maidencane marsh type is SRM 819. Mixed Hardwood Series in Southeastern Swamp and Riparian Forest biotic community and Maidencane Series (if and when such is recognized) in Southeastern Interior Marshland biotic community, respectively, of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
131. Edge of two wetland range communities- Boundary between the water oak-bald cypress swamp and maidencane swamp introduced in the preceding slide. The swamp portion of this flatwoods pond was FRES No. 16 (Oak-Gum-Cypress Ecosystem) and corresponding K-101 (Southern Flood-Plain Forest) while maidencane marsh was FRES No.41 (Wet Grasslands Ecosystem) with with no Kuchler units small enough for this region so that instead maidencane would be included with Kuchler-83 (Everglades) in Florida. Maidencane rangeland cover type was SRM 819 (Freshwater Marsh and Ponds). Swamp with water oak dominant and bald cypress the associate species comprised a combination or "hybrid" of SAF ted
 
132. Maidencane in the spring- Hardin County, Texas. May, late vernal aspect. Maidencane Series (if and when such is recognized) in Southeastern Marshland biotic community, respectively, of Brown et al. (1998). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
133. Plant on a Pineywoods pond- Grassleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea) on a local ponded habitat in natural forest clearing in the Big Thicket of Texas Pineywoods. There are several Saggitaria species in North America. These are in the monocotyledon family, Alismaceae (arrowhead family). Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.
 

134. Flowers and young fruits on a Pineywoods pond- Inflorescence on the specimen of grassleaf arrowhead introduced in the preceding slide. This provided a very good example of an indeterminate inflorescence, one that matures "top-down and outside-in" (flowering begins at apices of inflorescence, or on the upper- and outer-most floral tips, al-most and progresses downward and inward). Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.
 

135. Common pitcherplant or yellow trumpets (Sarracenia alata)- Habit and general appearance of common pitcherplant (also shown as pitcher plant) one of the more unique and distinctive of moist forests in the southeastern portion of the North American deciduous forest formation. This specimen featured was at the edge of a colony of its species on highly acid soil in the Big Thicket part of the Texas-Louisiana Pineywoods.

Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.

 

136. Pitchers in the Pineywoods- Pitcherplants are these largest of Earth's carnivorous plants and are most readily distinguished by "modified leaves that form hollow, water-containing vessels that are adapted to trapping and digesting animal prey"(McPherson, 2007, p.3). These modified, cylinderical leaves that usually form complete enclosures open only at the top are referred to as "pitchers". Hence, the most commonly used common generic name.

The pitcherplant featured here is the species most common in western portions of the southeastern region of the North American deciduous forest formation. It is also typically a generally large and showy species (even when it is out of season for its light lemon-colored corolla). Sarracenia alata is a highly variable species, especially given it rather limited species range. Definitive description of this species (and other species of the pitcher plant family native to the Americas) was McPherson (2007, ps. 195-203). As of this writing, the definitive work on carnivorous plants on ranges and forests of North America is that of Schnell (2002).

Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.

 

137. Fruit pitcher- Shoot apices of the yellow trumpets pitcherplant bearing the leaf-enclosed fruit. The fruit has been interpreted as a loculicidal capsule, which is one that dehisces due to or through openings in the locules between partitioning tissue (Smith, 1977, ps. 122, 300). Pitcher plants are in the family Sarraceniaceae.

Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.

 

138. Plant eats bugs- Portion of lower pitcher of yellow trumpets pitcherplant revealing a partly digested insect being used as a source of nitrogen for a plant highly adapted to impoverished soils.

Big Thicket National Monument, Hardin County, Texas, April.

 

139. Bay-Gall Bog or Titi in the Texas Big Thicket- This vegetation is the most impenetrable “jungle” or “tangle’ in the Big Thicket. The local mound-and-intermound relief creates a bog ecosystem. The soil series of the mound microrelief (on the mound) has the spodosol soil series Babco. This is currently the only spodosol mapped in Texas. The dominant plants are red bay (Persea borbonia) and sweet bay or swamp bay (Magnolia virginiana) among the hardwood trees and shortleaf and loblolly pine from the conifers. Gall, swamp cyrilla or, by the Indian name, titi (Cyrilla raecmiflora) is the dominant species of the shrub layer along with gallberry (Ilex coriacea; not to be  confused with the preceding gall), bull-briar (Smilax bona-nox), saw-brier (S. glauca), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) dominate the shrub layer. Completing this “tangle” is the herbaceous understory often dominated by rather rank-growing ferns.

The largest trunk (in center) is a loblolly pine, the trunk immediately behind and to the right of it is a water oak, the two trees immediately behind and to the right of the water oak are sweet bay magnolias, and the left foreground tree is a red bay. Most of the shrubs in the foreground understory are swamp cyrilla or titi. Hardin County, Texas. May. There is no specific FRES or Kuchler for this local community that grows within the FRES No. 13 (Loblolly Pine-Shortleaf Pine forest Ecosystem). South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).

 
140. Interior of a Texas Big Thicket Bay-Gall Bog- Detail of the shrub layer described in the preceding slide caption. Note the seedling or young tree stage of loblolly pine in the foreground and the adult loblolly pines in background indicating that this is the dominant conifer for this unique local community. Hardin County, Texas. May.
 
141. The floor or herbaceous layer of a Bay-Gall Bog dominated by ferns. Over 20 species of ferns are native to the Big Thicket and there are another four or five species that may have naturalized here. The ferns are growing on a mound of Babco soil. Hardin County, Texas. May.
 
142. Profile of Babco soil (the only spodosol mapped in Texas)- Spodosols comprise the  soil order characterized by having  a light gray eluvial horizon over a reddish aluminum- and/or iorn-enriched horizon. They typically occur in humid areas.  The Babco pH ranges from 3.1 to 3.6. Hardin County, Texas. May.
 
143. Climax Loblolly Pine-Oak Hardwoods Forest-This bottomland Pineywoods is deep inside the Big Thicket and at or, at least, approaching the state of old-growth. It is on the first terrace above Beech Creek and is an edphic climax community of the region with a characteristic open, sometimes bare, understory of grasses in the Panicum, Paspalum, Uniola, and Andropogon species. The three mature trees are (front to rear) water oak, loblolly pine, and cherrybark oak (Quercus falcata var. pagodifolia) whose big limbs form a spreading crown. The adult tree in the background and appearing immediately to the right of the loblolly pine and the small tree adjacent to and, from this angle,  appearing to sprout from the water oak are swamp chestnut oaks (Q. michauxii). The small tree at far left opposite the branched cherrybark oak is a young willow oak (Q. phellos) whose branches are interwoven with those of another water oak just to the left of the field of view. The trunk immediately to the right of the loblolly pine whose upper portion is adjacent to the water oak is the rotting snag of some tree that lost the struggle for the most limiting resource, light. The background vegetation is a Bald Cypress Swamp in the floodplain of Beech Creek. About 200 yards from this site there is a sandjack or bluejack oak-sandhill bluestem scrub type that formed from aeolian sand carried up out of the Beech Creek bottoms over geologic time. Beech Creek Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. Vernal aspect, May. FRES No. 13 (Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Forest Ecosystem), K101 (Oak-Hickory-Pine Forest), SAF  82 (Loblolly Pine-Hardwood). South Central Plains- Floodplains and Low Terraces Ecoregion, 35b (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
Sandjack= bluejack oak (Quercus incana) Scrub Forest or Woodland
Sandjack or bluejack oak is one of several scrub oaks that constitute a forest cover type (SAF 72). The example of this range cover type presented here had developed on an upland approximately 200 yards from the bottomland Pineywoods presented in the preceding section.

144. Sandjack= bluejack oak (Quercus incana)-sandhill bluestem scrub type- The bluestem is a taxonomic complex of little bluestem, including the taxa often shown as Andropogon divergens or Schizachyrium scoparium var. divergens, and slender bluestem (Andropogon tener= Schizachyrium tenerum). A few post oaks are associates of bluejack oak. Composites and various prickly pears (Opunia spp.) are scattered throughout the bunchgrass sward. An aeolian ("blowsand") ridge community.

Beech Creek Unit, Big Thicket National Preserve, Hardin County, Texas. May. FRES No. 14 (Oak-Hickory Forest Ecosystem). A variant of K-72 (Oak Savanna). One of the many forms of Southern Scrub Oak, a variant of SAF 72 (Southern Scrub Oak). A Scrub Oak Series of Brown et al (1998), but one was not shown for this region. Sandy upland variant of South Central Plains- Flatwoods Ecoregion, 35f (Griffith et al., 2004).
 
Organization note: further coverage of Texas Pineywoods beginning with further bottomland forest range types followed in Texas Piney Woods-II.
 

 

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