Atlantic White Cedar

Habitat: Atlantic White Cedar

The white cedar forest habitat type occupies 6,700 acres of the refuge’s 153,017 acres and usually exists in a landscape mosaic interspersed with pond pine pocosin, cypress-gum, and nonalluvial hardwood communities. The habitat type typically occurs as a relatively even-aged stand, often with a dense canopy and low plant species diversity. White cedar is predominant although black gum is an important coexisting species. An occasional pond pine or bald cypress may be present. Conversely, an occasional white cedar may be found in other habitat types. Average tree height in this area is about 60 feet. The shrub layer in these areas is dominated by sweet gallberry, fetterbush, and greenbrier. Virginia or netted chain-fern is usually the only herbaceous plant present in substantial amounts. 

Atlantic white cedar was a major reason why Buffalo City was established on the area that is not the refuge in the early 1885. Its wood was in great demand as a material for boat-building, shingles, siding, and any product that would be in contact with water. White cedar is a catastrophic disturbance species and only reproduces itself after a major disturbance such as a hurricane or fire destroys the entire stand and exposes soil. The seed in the soil can germinate and grow uniformly and prevents domination by shade tolerant species such as red maple. Past logging on the refuge without management to ensure the establishment of white cedar stands has reduced the acreage of white cedar.


Facts About Atlantic White Cedar



  • even-aged stand
  • dense canopy
  • low plant species diversity