Source: NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV submitted to
VEGETATION OF NORTH CAROLINA: INVENTORY AND DOCUMENTATION OF NATURAL COMMUNITIES
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
REVISED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0204664
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NC06829
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2011
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2016
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
WENTWORTH, T. R.
Recipient Organization
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
(N/A)
RALEIGH,NC 27695
Performing Department
Plant Biology
Non Technical Summary
There is an urgent need to document the composition and structure of the range of natural vegetation of North Carolina (and, more generally, the vegetation of both North and South Carolina). The US National Vegetation Classification currently asserts 591 types of vegetation (associations) for the Carolinas, but many of these are poorly documented as to their composition and distribution. Managers of conservation lands require accurate and detailed descriptions of the vegetation attributes they wish to protect. Restoration ecologists require similarly accurate and detailed "targets" for their efforts. Without a well-formulated vegetation assessment for the Carolinas, an appropriate template for management or restoration is not possible. Widespread realization of these needs has led to a broad collaboration among state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and professional ecologists, orchestrated on a continuing basis by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). At this time, the principal resource for information about natural vegetation in North Carolina is the Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carolina (CNCNC), created by Michael Schafale and Alan Weakley in 1990. The CNCNC remains a critical standard classification and information source for research and conservation activities in the state. Despite its enduring value as a reference, it is not based on quantitative data, and the classification system used recognizes relatively broad vegetation types. In addition, the CNCNC identifies potential vegetation, rather than actual vegetation occupying specific environments. Thus, successional communities, such as old-fields dominated by loblolly pine, are not included. What is needed is a new treatment that is data-based, includes more (and more narrowly defined) vegetation types, and reflects actual vegetation occupying sites, irrespective of disturbance and successional processes. It is such a document that we propose to create. This activity is timely, because the CVS has completed 24 years of collecting data on vegetation and environment throughout the Carolinas, and these data are now available for synthesis. Compiling and summarizing the CVS database on natural vegetation will offer considerable benefits to those seeking information on the diversity, composition, and environment of natural vegetation in the Carolinas. We anticipate that such a work will become a standard reference for scholars of the region's natural vegetation, and it will clearly characterize all the natural vegetation types of the Carolinas, greatly facilitating the work of conservation organizations seeking to preserve high-quality examples of the region's natural diversity.
Animal Health Component
45%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
45%
Applied
45%
Developmental
10%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
13624201070100%
Knowledge Area
136 - Conservation of Biological Diversity;

Subject Of Investigation
2420 - Noncrop plant research;

Field Of Science
1070 - Ecology;
Goals / Objectives
Over its 24-year existence, the Carolina Vegetation Survey has focused on building a comprehensive database of vegetation and environment throughout the Carolinas. Data collection is nearly complete and there is now a pressing need to begin the process of producing capstone volumes summarizing the available information. Such publications would deliver information on vegetation of the Carolinas in a print form accessible to conservation biologists, agency personnel, teachers, students, and other end-user groups in a compact and permanently-archivable format. This proposal focuses on creating such text volumes for this work, taking advantage of the team of collaborators currently in place, particularly Robert Peet, Alan Weakley, Michael Schafale, Michael Lee, and Thomas Wentworth. Completion of an initial draft volume for one of the four major physiographic regions of the Carolinas (Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, or Coastal Fringe) during this period would also serve as a catalyst for production of the other three volumes (one for each of the remaining physiographic regions) anticipated in this series. Specific objectives of this project are: (1) Outline the overall structure of the different volumes to be produced. This will be followed by development of a general outline for each of the proposed volumes, to include introductory material on physical environment and geography of the region, general background about broader vegetation patterns, and a listing of specific vegetation types to be documented in detail. Sampling protocol for vegetation inventory (already established) will be reviewed thoroughly. (2) Develop the classification system to be used, keeping in mind that conformation to national and international standards is essential. (3) Consider appropriate means for analysis of the data, using statistical tools that will facilitate efficient summary of available information and comparison with other types. (4) Develop a format for documenting each vegetation type, to include a brief literature review, general description of the type, summary tabular information, distribution map, conservation status, and illustrations. (5) Create a prototype volume for one of the four major physiographic regions of the Carolinas, likely either the Mountains or Coastal Fringe, given that data collection for these regions is now largely complete. Continue with production of additional volumes of the series for the other physiographic regions, as time permits.
Project Methods
(1) Initially, we envision four volumes, one representing each of the major physiographic regions of the Carolinas. Obvious candidates include the Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, and Coastal Fringe regions. In the first volume, we anticipate researching and creating a general introduction to background of the Carolinas, to include physical setting (geography, climate, natural and anthropogenic disturbances), geomorphology and geologic history (tectonic processes, marine processes, changing climate, soil formation), flora, botanical history, biogeography, and general vegetation pattern. Sampling protocol will be thoroughly reviewed. Each volume will also contain a general introduction to physical setting and general vegetation patterns specific to that region. (2) The classification selected will be hierarchical. At its finest level of resolution, it will consist of associations recognized in the US National Vegetation Classification (NVC). For higher levels of the classification, we will most likely use a hierarchical classification already developed by the Carolina Vegetation Survey. (3) Because the Carolina Vegetation Survey has detailed, quantitative data from permanent plots for each of the vegetation types to be documented, it will be useful to apply standard methods of vegetation analysis to these data, including ordination and numerical classification methods. Some revision of existing a priori plot assignments to vegetation types will also be necessary prior to application of these methods. Ordination methods will enable us to better interpret relationships of individual plots and vegetation types to specific directions of environmental variation. Classification methods will allow us to better assign specific plots to vegetation types. Data analyses will begin during the latter part of year one and continue through the life of the project. (4) Good models already exist for formats of such volumes, including the multi-volume sets that exist for Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Austria. We plan to use these as guides to appropriate organization of volume structure as well as formats of content for individual vegetation types. Format development will occur during year one of the project. (5) Once the specific format of the volumes is established, we plan to select one of the major physiographic regions (Mountains or Coastal Fringe) for which the Carolina Vegetation Survey already has reasonably complete data spanning the range of natural communities. We anticipate using the methodologies outlined in steps (2) and (3) above, together with the format established in step (4) above, to develop this first volume. Once the format is established, introductory material compiled, and prototypes prepared, we hope to produce one of the four planned volumes each year for 4 years, for a total project length of 5 years.

Progress 10/01/11 to 09/30/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) during 2012: (1) two vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on vegetation of North and South Carolina during the spring/summer of 2012. These were in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina (May 2012, 31 plots), and the Central Piedmont of South Carolina (July 2012, 46 plots); (2) guidance for the doctoral research project of Ms. Kyle Palmquist (working at UNC-Chapel Hill). Ms. Palmquist studied vegetation change in longleaf pine-dominated ecosystems at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and across the southeastern portion of NC (including the Green Swamp), on the Roanoke River, and in Duke Forest; and (3) efforts to refine the vegetation database for North/South Carolina, including data entry, quality assurance/quality control, and plant identification. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who worked on the project: Dr. Robert K. Peet, Professor of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6942, Email: peet@unc.edu; Dr. Alan Weakley, Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6931, Email: weakley@unc.edu; Mr. Michael Schafale, Ecologist, NC Natural Heritage Program, Phone: 919/707-8627, Email: michael.schafale@ncdenr.gov. Partner Organizations, Opportunities for Training or Professional Development: Faculty, staff, and students from NC State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources have participated since 1987 in a regional consortium known as the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). This organization draws on vegetation scientists from NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, Duke University, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy, among other federal, state, and private organizations. Each year since 1988, CVS has sponsored at least one week-long field expedition (pulse) to inventory natural communities in a portion of North and/or South Carolina. Using a published methodology developed for CVS, volunteers establish and inventory permanent plots placed in representative natural areas. Volunteer participants, including students from universities and colleges throughout the southeast, have received valuable training in inventory techniques, ecology, and plant systematics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the products of this project include any individuals interested in the natural vegetation of the Carolinas, including educators, scientists in both public and private organizations, including for-profit environmental consulting firms. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS during 2012 included the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database; and (3) provision of automated tools for identifying appropriate restoration targets. In 2012, CVS established a partnership with the US Geological Survey and Ecological Society of America to revise the National Vegetation Classification for the drier segment of southeastern longleaf pine-dominated communities. CVS also established a partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide ecological site descriptions for the Piedmont.

Publications

  • Peet, R.K., M.T. Lee, M.F. Boyle, T.R. Wentworth, M.P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. 2012. Vegetation plot database of the Carolina Vegetation Survey. In Vegetation databases for the 21st century. Edited by Dengler, J., Oldeland, J., Jansen, F., Chytry, M., Ewald, J., Finckh, M., Glockler, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Peet, R.K., Schaminee, J.H.J. Biodiversity & Ecology 4:243-253. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00081.


Progress 10/01/10 to 09/30/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS conducted two full vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on vegetation of North and South Carolina during the spring/summer of 2011. These were centered in the southwestern Piedmont of South Carolina (May 2011, 63 plots) and the Triangle Region of North Carolina (June 2011, 58 plots); (2) CVS continued to work with and provide guidance for graduate student projects in 2011 (all conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill), including Elizabeth Matthews (riparian vegetation of Piedmont river basins), Stephanie Seymour (vegetation of Piedmont seeps and upland depressions), Megan Faestel (Coastal Plain riparian vegetation of the Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins), Kimberly Israel (vegetation of Duke Forest), and Kyle Palmquist (vegetation change in longleaf pine-dominated ecosystems at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune); and (3) CVS completed keys to maritime fringe associations of North and South Carolina in the US National Vegetation Classification. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who worked on the project: Dr. Robert K. Peet, Professor of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6942, Email: peet@unc.edu; Dr. Alan Weakley, Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6931, Email: weakley@unc.edu; Mr. Michael Schafale, Ecologist, NC Natural Heritage Program, Phone: 919/707-8627, Email: michael.schafale@ncdenr.gov; Dr. Joel Gramling, Assistant Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Phone: 843/953-6459, Email: joel.gramling@citadel.edu. Partner Organizations, Opportunities for Training or Professional Development: Faculty, staff, and students from NC State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources have participated since 1987 in a regional consortium known as the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). This organization draws on vegetation scientists from NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, Duke University, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy, among other federal, state, and private organizations. Each year since 1988, CVS has sponsored at least one week-long field expedition (pulse) to inventory natural communities in a portion of North and/or South Carolina. Using a published methodology developed for CVS, volunteers establish and inventory permanent plots placed in representative natural areas. Volunteer participants, including students from universities and colleges throughout the southeast, have received valuable training in inventory techniques, ecology, and plant systematics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the products of this project include any individuals interested in the natural vegetation of the Carolinas, including educators and scientists in both public and private organizations, including for-profit environmental consulting firms. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive); (3) development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects (particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions); and (4) improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting of data from those projects.

Publications

  • Matthews, E.M., Peet, R.K., and Weakley, A.S. 2011. Classification and description of alluvial plant communities of the Piedmont region, North Carolina, U.S.A. Applied Vegetation Science 14:485-505.


Progress 10/01/09 to 09/30/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS conducted two full vegetation sampling events (pulses) and one mini sampling event that focused on vegetation of North Carolina during the spring/summer/fall of 2010. These were centered in the northern Piedmont (May 2010, 48 plots), the western mountains (June 2010, 48 plots), and South Fork of the Catawba River (September 2010, 8 plots); (2) CVS continued to work with and provide guidance for graduate student projects in 2010 (all conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill), including Elizabeth Matthews (riparian vegetation of Piedmont river basins), Stephanie Seymour (vegetation of Piedmont seeps and upland depressions), Megan Faestel (Coastal Plain riparian vegetation of the Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins), and Kyle Palmquist (vegetation change in longleaf pine-dominated ecosystems at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune); (3) CVS completed identification of the >6000 plots in the plot database to types in the US National Vegetation Classification and the NC Natural Heritage Program vegetation classification, both to facilitate selection of plots for developing restoration targets, and to determine the most critical natural communities to address in future vegetation sampling; (4) CVS developed the prototype for a restoration target generation tool that identifies appropriate species composition for a given site based on input of environmental conditions and location; and (5) CVS worked toward enhancement of protocols for monitoring vegetation in restoration projects. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who worked on the project: Dr. Robert K. Peet, Professor of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6942, Email: robert_peet@unc.edu; Dr. Alan Weakley, Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6931, Email: weakley@unc.edu; Mr. Michael Schafale, Ecologist, NC Natural Heritage Program, Phone: 919/733-4181, Email: michael.schafale@ncdenr.gov; Dr. Forbes Boyle, Carolina Vegetation Survey Project Manager, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6934, Email: mboyle@unc.edu; Dr. Joel Gramling, Assistant Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Phone: 843/953-6459, Email: joel.gramling@citadel.edu. Partner Organizations, Opportunities for Training or Professional Development: Faculty, staff, and students from NC State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources have participated since 1987 in a regional consortium known as the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). This organization draws on vegetation scientists from NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, Duke University, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy, among other federal, state, and private organizations. Each year since 1988, CVS has sponsored at least one week-long field expedition (pulse) to inventory natural communities in a portion of North and/or South Carolina. Using a published methodology developed for CVS, volunteers establish and inventory permanent plots placed in representative natural areas. Volunteer participants, including students from universities and colleges throughout the southeast, have received valuable training in inventory techniques, ecology, and plant systematics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the products of this project include any individuals interested in the natural vegetation of the Carolinas, including educators, scientists in both public and private organizations, including for-profit environmental consulting firms. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive); (3) development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects (particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions); and (4) improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting of data from those projects.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/08 to 09/30/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS conducted three vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on Piedmont and Coastal Plain vegetation of North and South Carolina during the spring/summer of 2009. These were centered in the Pamlimarle Peninsula and Pamlico River, NC (May 2009, 62 plots), in the south-central Piedmont of NC/SC (June 2009, 57 plots), and in the maritime fringe of SC (July 2009, 94 plots); (2) CVS collaborated with EEP to present a two-day workshop (June 9-10, 2009) focused on introducing professionals in the field of ecological restoration to the CVS-EEP field inventory protocol, data entry tool, and other information critical to documentation of planted and natural vegetation of mitigation sites; (3) CVS continued to support graduate student projects in 2009, including Brenda Wichmann (NCSU), working on mountain bog vegetation (completed in 2009), Elizabeth Matthews (UNC-CH), working on riparian vegetation of Piedmont river basins, Stephanie Seymour, (UNC-CH) working on Piedmont seeps and upland depressions (76 plots inventoried in 2009), and Megan Faestel (UNC-CH), working on Coastal Plain riparian vegetation of the Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins (60 plots inventoried in 2009); (4) CVS initiated an effort to identify critical gaps in its vegetation database and to inventory plots in the NC/SC maritime fringe representing these gaps (133 plots inventoried in 2009); and (5) CVS continued identification of the ~6000 plots in the plot database to types in the US National Vegetation Classification and the NC Natural Heritage Program vegetation classification, both to facilitate selection of plots for developing restoration targets, and to determine the most critical natural communities to address in future vegetation sampling. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who worked on the project: Dr. Robert K. Peet, Professor of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6942, Email: robert_peet@unc.edu; Dr. Alan Weakley, Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6931, Email: weakley@unc.edu; Mr. Michael Schafale, Ecologist, NC Natural Heritage Program, Phone: 919/733-4181, Email: michael.schafale@ncmail.net; Mr. Forbes Boyle, Carolina Vegetation Survey Project Manager, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6934, Email: mboyle@unc.edu; Dr. Joel Gramling, Assistant Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Phone: 843/953-6459, Email: joel.gramling@citadel.edu. Partner Organizations, Opportunities for Training or Professional Development: Faculty, staff, and students from NC State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources have participated since 1987 in a regional consortium known as the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). This organization draws on vegetation scientists from NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, Duke University, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy, among other federal, state, and private organizations. Each year since 1988, CVS has sponsored at least one week-long field expedition (pulse) to inventory natural communities in a portion of North and/or South Carolina. Using a published methodology developed for CVS, volunteers establish and inventory permanent plots placed in representative natural areas. Volunteer participants, including students from universities and colleges throughout the southeast, have received valuable training in inventory techniques, ecology, and plant systematics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the products of this project include any individuals interested in the natural vegetation of the Carolinas, including educators, scientists in both public and private organizations, including for-profit environmental consulting firms. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive); (3) development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects (particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions); and (4) improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting of data from those projects.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/07 to 09/30/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS conducted two vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on Coastal Plain vegetation of North Carolina during the summer of 2008. These were centered in Columbus County, NC and Horry County, SC (May/June 2008, 76 plots), and in the Upper Tar River and Meherrin/Chowan Rivers (July 2008, 66 plots); (2) CVS collaborated with EEP to present a two-day workshop (June 17-18, 2008) focused on introducing professionals in the field of ecological restoration to the CVS-EEP field inventory protocol, data entry tool, and other information critical to documentation of planted and natural vegetation of mitigation sites; (3) CVS continued to support two graduate student projects in 2008, Brenda Wichmann (NCSU), working on mountain bog vegetation, and Elizabeth Matthews (UNC-CH), working on riparian vegetation of Piedmont river basins; (4) CVS completed work on updated scientific nomenclature of all species represented in the plot database; and (5) CVS continued identification of the ~6000 plots in the plot database to types in the US National Vegetation Classification and the NC Natural Heritage Program vegetation classification, so as to facilitate selection of plots for developing restoration targets, and so as to determine the most critical natural communities to address in future vegetation sampling. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who worked on the project: Dr. Robert K. Peet, Professor of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6942, Email: robert_peet@unc.edu; Dr. Alan Weakley, Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6931, Email: weakley@unc.edu; Mr. Michael Schafale, Ecologist, NC Natural Heritage Program, Phone: 919/733-4181, Email: michael.schafale@ncmail.net; Mr. Forbes Boyle, Carolina Vegetation Survey Project Manager, UNC-Chapel Hill, Phone: 919/962-6934, Email: mboyle@unc.edu. Partner Organizations, Opportunities for Training or Professional Development: Faculty, staff, and students from NC State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources have participated since 1987 in a regional consortium known as the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS). This organization draws on vegetation scientists from NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Western Carolina University, Duke University, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy, among other federal, state, and private organizations. Each year since 1988, CVS has sponsored at least one week-long field expedition to inventory natural communities in a portion of North and/or South Carolina. Using a published methodology developed for CVS, volunteers establish and inventory permanent plots placed in representative natural areas. Volunteer participants, including students from universities and colleges throughout the southeast, have received valuable training in inventory techniques, ecology, and plant systematics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the products of this project include any individuals interested in the natural vegetation of the Carolinas, including educators and scientists in both public and private organizations, including for-profit environmental consulting firms. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive); (3) development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects (particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions); and (4) improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting of data from those projects.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/06 to 09/30/07

Outputs
The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS conducted two vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on Coastal Plain vegetation of North Carolina during summer of 2007. These were centered in the western sandhills of North Carolina (May 2007, 72 plots), and in Croatan National Forest, eastern Carteret County, and Core Banks of North Carolina (July 2007, 125 plots); (2) CVS collaborated with EEP to present a two-day workshop (June 5-6, 2007) focused on introducing professionals in the field of ecological restoration to the CVS-EEP field inventory protocol, data entry tool, and other information critical to documentation of planted and natural vegetation of mitigation sites; (3) CVS continued to support two graduate student projects in 2007, Brenda Wichmann (NCSU), working on mountain bog vegetation, and Elizabeth Matthews (UNC-CH), working on riparian vegetation of Piedmont river basins; (4) CVS completed work on updated scientific nomenclature of all species represented in the plot database; and (5) CVS continued identification of the ~6000 plots in the plot database to types in the US National Vegetation Classification and the NC Natural Heritage Program vegetation classification, so as to facilitate selection of plots for developing restoration targets, and so as to determine the most critical types to address in future vegetation sampling.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) addition of new data to the existing CVS plot database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives; (2) management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects (this includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive); (3) development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects (particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions); and (4) improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting of data from those projects.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/05 to 09/30/06

Outputs
The following activities were completed in support of this project by the Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) in collaboration with the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP): (1) CVS worked with EEP personnel to assess EEP program needs for vegetation data generation and management. This led to a plan for development of a field protocol, an instruction manual, datasheets, a data entry tool, and training activities. (2) In consultation with EEP personnel, CVS developed a common data collection protocol for EEP and CVS sampling activities. (3) CVS constructed a preliminary data entry tool, linked to an access database with a data model consistent with national standards and the architecture of the VegBank data archive (see http://cvs.bio.unc.edu/methods/database.mdb). This tool was successfully tested at an EEP training workshop in May 2006 and was used by a select group of contractors during fall 2006. (4) CVS conducted four vegetation sampling events (pulses) that focused on Coastal Plain vegetation of the Carolinas during summers of 2005 & 2006. These were centered in Brunswick County NC (July 2005, 86 plots), the Francis Marion Forest SC (June 2005, 52 plots), Bladen County NC (May 2006, 51 plots), and Elizabeth City NC (July 2006, 51 plots). A surprisingly large proportion of the plots did not fit well within established types of the National Vegetation Classification, reinforcing the need for additional data collection and analysis. Data for all of these projects have been processed and plant collections have been identified. (5) CVS collaborated with EEP and the Water Quality Group at NC State University to present a three-day workshop (June 14-16, 2006) focused on introducing professionals in the field of ecological restoration to the CVS-EEP field inventory protocol, data entry tool, and other information critical to documentation of planted and natural vegetation of mitigation sites. (6) CVS initiated two graduate student projects in January 2006, corresponding to the students it anticipated supporting for the first two years of this collaborative project. Brenda Wichmann (NCSU) worked on mountain bog vegetation, and Elizabeth Matthews (UNC-CH) worked on riparian vegetation of the Cape Fear Basin. Both collected field data during summer 2006 and have completed data entry and identification of unknown plant species. (7) CVS initiated a detailed QA/QC review of the extant data in the CVS database. (8) CVS completed processing and analysis of the backlog of soil samples from past sampling events and incorporated the data into the CVS database. (9) CVS initiated work on processing the backlog of vegetation plots from past sampling events as a step toward entry of those data into the CVS database. (10) CVS initiated identification of the 6000 plots in the CVS database to types in the US National Vegetation Classification and the NC Natural Heritage Program vegetation classification so as to facilitate selection of plots for developing restoration targets, and so as to determine the most critical types to address in future vegetation sampling. To date, approximately 1400 plots have been identified to type.

Impacts
The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) and North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) initiated a partnership in May 2005 with a set of goals designed to benefit both organizations in terms of generation, management, and distribution of vegetation data for both natural and mitigation sites. Impacts of this cooperative venture between EEP and CVS include the following: (1) Addition of new data to the existing CVS database to provide more comprehensive coverage of the diversity of and geographic variation in high-quality examples of the natural communities of North Carolina and vicinity to be used to establish target conditions for restoration initiatives. (2) Management, curation, and digital distribution of vegetation plot data generated by EEP as part of its monitoring of mitigation projects. This includes, in part, provision of data entry and delivery tools to facilitate easy submission of data in a form compatible with the CVS database, and provision of tools for generating summary reports of data in the CVS archive. (3) Development of tools and services for analysis and reporting of data in ways that help EEP meet its objectives of identifying mitigation targets and determining the success of ongoing mitigation and restoration projects. Particular emphasis is placed on providing restoration targets for specific geographic locations and site conditions. (4) Improvement of EEP protocols for monitoring of current and future mitigation projects and reporting data from those projects.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period