Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Lanham, Joseph D

Committee Member

Mikhailova , Elena A

Committee Member

Stringer , William C

Committee Member

Shelburne , Victor B

Committee Member

Walker , Joan L

Abstract

Grassland habitats have essentially disappeared from the Piedmont. This study was conducted to determine which site characteristics in remnant Piedmont prairie sites could be used as indicators of suitable sites. Eight prairie remnant sites located in the Piedmont of North and South Carolina were evaluated based on soil series, slope, aspect, landform index, temperature, and precipitation. Geographic Information System technology was used to create layers of these characteristics to predict potential restoration sites throughout the North and South Carolina Piedmont. It was found that southern aspects, slopes generally less than 15%, upper slope positions, and occurrence on Enon (Fine, mixed, active, thermic Ultic Hapludalfs), Iredell (Fine, montmorillonitic, thermic, Oxyaquic Vertic Hapludalfs), Mecklenburg (Fine, mixed, active, thermic Ultic Hapludalfs), Wilkes (Loamy, mixed, active, thermic, shallow Typic Hapludalfs and Wynott (Fine, mixed, active, thermic Typic Hapludalfs) soil series were common to all sites. All sites had been disturbed in some manner. Analysis of soil chemical and physical properties showed no significant differences for C, N, and Zn among locations. Significant site differences were found for P, K, Ca, Mg, B, Cu, Mn, Na, Zn, acidity, pH, buffer pH, C/N ratio, K base saturation, Ca base saturation, Mg base saturation, Na base saturation, total base saturation, CEC, and percent sand, silt, and clay. When soil nutrients were rated for growth sufficiency, N, P, and K were found deficient, and other nutrients were sufficient or greater. Base saturation ranged from 29-70%, but averaged 52% for all sites. Soil texture to a 15 cm depth was loamy with sand comprising the greatest volume (mean 45%), followed by silt (33%) then clay (21%). Ordination of five prairie remnants indicated that the sites group based on moisture. Winter bentgrass (Agrostis hyemalis (Walt.) B.S.P.), yellowfruit sedge (Carex annectens (Bickn.) Bickn.), scarlet Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.), spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculata L.), chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia Marsh.), needletip blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium mucronatum Michx.), and spring lady's tresses (Spiranthes vernalis Engelm. & Gray) are preferential to the most mesic site. Remaining locations were divided based on the occurrence of Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum L.). One location contained this species while four did not. Thirty-eight species did not show a preference to site with twenty-two having an association with prairies. Qualification of landscape position, soil chemical and physical characteristics, and species occurrence will assist restorationists and land managers by aiding them in choosing better sites thus increasing restoration success. Results may also give insight into whether present management and selection methods are suitable.

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