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Evidence of Plant Succession on Granite Outcrops of the Georgia Piedmont
Madeline P. Burbanck and Donald L. Phillips
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 94-104
Published by: The University of Notre Dame
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425520
Page Count: 11
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Successional changes are taking place in the vegetation of certain "island communities" on granitic rock outcrops in the Lithonia, Georgia, area (Piedmont Plateau). The floristic composition and maximum soil depths of 34 communities, first studied in 1957, were re-examined in 1968 and 1976-1978. Maximum soil depth tended to increase over time. Sixteen of the 34 communities studied showed successional changes in floristic composition, confirming the earlier hypothesis that lichen-annual, annual-perennial and herb-shrub communities represent seral stages as soil depth increases. There are characteristic plants and maximum soil depths for each stage, with overlapping depth ranges. Diamorpha communities, which occur on the shallowest soils, have remained unchanged floristically and maximum soil depths have changed only slightly. With 1-12 cm increases in soil depths, three lichen-annual communities became annual-perennial communities, four annual-perennial communities progressed to an herb-shrub or shrub-tree stage, and one herb-shrub community became a shrubtree community Shrub-tree communities may represent an edaphic climax subject to periodic regression to earlier seral stages.
The American Midland Naturalist © 1983 The University of Notre Dame