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Piney Point Tract Forest

Picture of Successional Maritime Forest

Piney Point Tract Forest

Six forested communities are present within the Piney Point Tract (Figure 1, Table 1).  Historically Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest was the most common forest followed by Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest.  At the current time, Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest is the most forest community with the same forest in second.  Three forests have declined overall since 1937, while the other three have increased.  United States National Vegetation Classification System codes are given with forest names.

Chart of Piney Point Tract Forest

                                           Figure 1.  Piney Point Tract Forest  1937-2012

Table 1.  Piney Point Tract Forest  

1937-2012 (m²)

  1937 2002 2007 2012
Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest 180,170.02 159,075.62 161,396.29 163,098.04
Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest 109,748.10 31,722.43 31,715.54 34,289.21
Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest 358,352.03 115,456.38 114,842.78 114,519.81
Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest 29,667.00 177,671.59 176,058.66 173,475.07
Northeastern Modified Successional Forest 0.00 15,086.25 16,889.51 17,608.37
Successional Maritime Forest 34,882.30 111,769.40 110,310.53 92,651.61

Overview of Forest Communities

Picture of Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest

Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood                       Forest (file photo)

Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest (CEGL004644)

This forest community has decreased in area overall since 1937, but has increased in the recent period (2002-2012).  The recent increase is due to a give and take between Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest.

Picture of Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest

     Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest

 

Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest (CEGL006137)

This coastal pine forest has decreased overall since 1937, but has seen a recent increase coming from Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest maturing to it.  Not seen in the figures, however, are decreases due to sea level rise converting this forest to shrubland or marsh.

 

Picture of Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest

     Early to Mid-Successional                  Loblolly Pine Forest

Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest (CEGL006011)

This successional pine forest has lost the most area of any of the forest communities since 1937.  Most of the forestland in 1937 was recovering from cutting and this forest is one of the first to come in.  This community will continue to decrease as it matures to other forests.

 

 

Picture of Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest

Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath                     Forest (file photo)

Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest (CEGL006269)

This forest occupies the highest land in the tract and has overall increased in area since 1937.  However, in the recent period it has decreased from 2002 high.  Some of this observation has come conversion to marsh.

 

Picture of Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest

Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath                              Forest

Northeastern Modified Successional Forest (CEGL006599)

This forest was not present in 1937 and is the result of exotic plant species invasions.  During the recent time, area has increased with more invasion.

 

 

Picture of Successional Maritime Forest

           Successional Maritime Forest

Successional Maritime Forest (CEGL006145) 

Maritime Forest saw an overall increase since 1937 from maturing Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest.  But due to its location, it has seen a marked decrease from sea level rise conversion to shrubland and marsh.  This trend will is projected to continue in the future.

 

 

Factors leading to loss of Forestland

Due to sea level rise, marsh has been encroaching into the forests of Piney Point Tract and in Assawoman Wildlife Area in general.  Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest and Successional Maritime Forest have experienced this more often because of location.  Pictured below is marsh encroaching into the loblolly forest.

Picture of Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest converting

    Marsh converting Coastal Loblolly Pine                             Wetland Forest

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