Conservation and Management
Threats to shale talus slope woodland are not well documented, but are presumed to be similar to those of shale cliff and talus communities. Both communities are threatened by development in the surrounding landscape (e.g., residential, agricultural). Other threats include habitat alteration (e.g., roads/parking areas, nearby logging & mining), and recreational overuse (e.g., trampling by visitors, ATVs, mountain bikes, campgrounds, picnic areas, swimming, rock/ice climbing, trash dumping). Threats to adjacent streams may apply to this community (e.g., alteration to hydrology, pollution, nutrient loading, impoundments/flooding, dredging). Several shale talus slope woodlands are threatened by invasive species, such as purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), and colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara).
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Where practical, establish and maintain a natural forested buffer to reduce storm-water, pollution, and nutrient run-off, while simultaneously capturing sediments before they reach the shale talus slope woodlands. Avoid habitat alteration along the cliff and surrounding landscape. Restore past impacts. Prevent the spread of invasive exotic species into the woodland through appropriate direct management, and by minimizing potential dispersal corridors, such as roads and trails.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
A natural (usually forested) buffer around the edges of this community will help it maintain the micro-climatic characteristics that make it unique.
Survey and document more occurrences. Survey for occurrences statewide to advance documentation and classification of shale cliff and talus communities. Continue searching for large sites in good condition (A- to AB-ranked). Better document the threats to this community.
Research composition of shale talus slope woodlands statewide in order to characterize variations. Collect sufficient plot data to support the recognition of several distinct shale talus slope woodland types based on composition, specific geology, and by ecoregion.
- Boechera stricta (Drummond's Rock Cress)
- Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
- Myotis leibii (Eastern Small-footed Myotis)
- Myotis septentrionalis (Northern Long-eared Bat)
- Plestiodon anthracinus (Coal Skink)