Pond Pine Woodlands

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This habitat type is described as having a pond pine overstory with a pocosin shrub, switchcane, or shrub/cane/savannah understory. Trees, usually with a canopy closure greater than 70 percent, dominate the habitat. In older stands, trees tend to be of larger diameters (8-20+ dbh), taller (usually > 40 feet), and have “healthier” pond pine. They typically occur on shallow organics (16 to 51 inches of peat; Belhaven, Ponzer) and occasionally on mineral soils (Hyde loam, Cape Fear Loam) and the very shallow organics (<16 inches peat; e.g., Roper or Wasda).

Pond pine pocosin, with a cane understory, typically occurs on sites with shallower organic or mineral soils and is maintained by regular fire. Pond pine pocosin with a shrub understory typically occurs on deeper organic soils. Management in pond pine pocosins will likely require a combination of fire and thinning to develop the stand structure and understory desired. Ideally, there should be little or no hardwoods or shrubs in the mid-story or over-story except in isolated inclusions or islands. Where these sites occur on more fertile (i.e., shallow organic) soils, they are capable of producing relatively large pond pines of sufficient age to manage for redcockaded woodpecker cavity trees. The less fertile sites provide smaller trees but are ideal for redcockaded woodpecker and other pine specialists as foraging habitat. Currently, these habitats are in need of restoration as the exclusion of fire and growth of hardwoods and shrubs are suppressing pine growth. Cedar Island Refuge has 125 acres of pond pine woodlands.