Pine/Oak Upland Forest

Pine/Oak Upland Forest is the most common and the most characteristic natural community in the Pine Barrens.

Image of Pine Barrens uplandsPine Barrens uplands Uli Lorimer

It is defined by its flora, but is also home to a diverse fauna. Many of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects use the uplands for all or part of their life cycles. Many amphibians - for example, the Pine Barrens Treefrog - are really creatures of the forests, and the adults use the wetlands mainly for breeding. Here you’ll notice that the majority of the canopy trees are Pitch Pines, the most characteristic tree of the Pine Barrens, with a smaller number of Shortleaf Pines, and, in some areas, a few Virginia Pines. The understory is made up of shrubs such as Scrub Oak, Mountain Laurel, Low Blueberry, Pine Barrens Heather, and Sweet-fern. The ground cover consists of low-lying plants such as lichens, mosses, ferns, annual and perennial wildflowers, and sub-shrubs like Bearberry, Teaberry, and Hudsonia.

Oak/Pine uplands are simply areas where the oaks predominate. Ecologists believe that oaks are likely to predominate in areas where wildfire has been suppressed over long periods. In some areas, the oaks may out-compete the pines so thoroughly as to become virtually exclusive.

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