Conservation and Management
Red pine rocky summits are threatened by development (especially plans for cellular telephone and radio towers, wind farms, etc.) and trampling by recreational visitors (e.g., mountain bikers and hikers). Given the stunted and gnarly growth form of summit trees, the community is only minimally threatened for timber resources. Summits on unprotected land may targeted for mining of mineral resources. Clearing in the adjacent forest may be a threat that provides corridors for invasive plants. Natural fire regimes (e.g., from lightning strikes) may be suppressed in some areas, but are apparently intact at many sites, especially in the Adirondacks. Southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) is a bark beetle that infests pine trees, such as pitch pine, white pine, and red pine. Southern pine beetle is native to the southeastern United States, but its range has spread up the east coast to Long Island, New York in 2014. Natural communities dominated or co-dominated by pines would likely be most impacted by southern pine beetle invasion.
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Management activities should include the development and implementation of prescribed burn plans at appropriate sites. Fragmenting features such as roads, abandoned tower clearings, and unnecessary trails should be reduced or minimized, and high-impact recreational activities should be restricted to trails and least sensitive areas. Prevent the dumping of trash and off-trail trampling at heavily visited summits.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
Soils are very thin within and around this community, and the effect of clearing and construction on soil retention and erosion must be considered prior to any development activities. Similarly, these soils are nutrient-poor, and any soil enrichment contamination (e.g., from septic leach fields or fertilized lawns) of this community can alter community structure and function. The open structure of this community is maintained by fire and presents a fire hazard to existing and proposed development. Unprotected structures located within or near this community are more susceptible to damage from fire.
Survey leads for purported native, naturally occurring red pine stands on mountain summits and slopes in New York, especially in the Adirondacks. A statewide review of red pine rocky summits is desirable. Continue searching for large sites in good condition (A- to AB-ranked).
Research is needed to determine the role of fire in maintaining this community. Research the susceptibilty of this community to southern pine beetle infestation.
- Carex tincta (Tinged Sedge)
- Diphasiastrum complanatum (Northern Ground Cedar)