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The Significance of Cliff and Talus Communities as Habitats for Rare Plant Species in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas
Cliff and talus communities in Arkansas are known to support many state and globally significant plant species of conservation concern, yet no systematic analysis of these habitats or the rare species they support has been conducted. Cliff and talus habitats in the Interior Highlands (the Ozark Plateaus, Boston Mountains, Arkansas Valley, and Ouachita Mountains) are typically associated with medium- to large-sized streams, but also occur in association with faults and other geologic contacts. These habitats have been heavily impacted by inundation following the construction of several large reservoirs on many of the larger stream systems, most notably the White River system in the Ozark Plateau, and the Ouachita River system in the Ouachita Mountains. However, remaining habitat still supports rare species. An overview of the flora of conservation concern in these communities will be presented in terms of ecoregion, geologic substrate, moisture gradient (wet to xeric), and physical site characteristics such as microhabitat, slope, and aspect. Several of the plants of conservation concern in these habitats are endemic to the Interior Highlands and others represent significant range disjunctions. Biogeographical patterns of these rare species present will also be discussed. Important endemic plant taxa associated with cliffs and related outcrops in the region include Amorpha ouachitensis, Claytonia ozarkensis, Dirca decipiens, Elymus churchii, Elymus glaucus ssp. mackenzii, Heuchera villosa var. arkansana, Houstonia ouachitana, Liatris compacta, Quercus acerifolia, Solidago ouachitensis, Streptanthus maculatus ssp. obtusifolius, Streptanthus squamiformis, Tradescantia ozarkana, and Valerianella ozarkana. Appropriate management of these sites will be discussed.

Oct 16, 2021 07:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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