Conclusions about the Piney Point Tract
Piney Point is being affected by sea level rise at an increasing rate. The impacts are being seen in the forested communities and marsh communities in particular. Human created communities have decreased overall but have been roughly stable in the recent period. Below are some of the conclusions for the vegetation community/land cover categories.
Condition of Forest Communities and Woodlands
The forest and woodlands are maturing from Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest. Northeastern Coastal Plain Mixed Oak/Heath Forest is roughly stable. Coastal Loblolly Pine Wetland Forest and Chesapeake Bay Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forest have both increased. However, sea level rise is resulting in losses to both woodlands and Successional Maritime Forest. All of these communities are at the marsh edge.
Condition of Shrublands
Irregular Flooded Eastern Tidal Salt Shrub is losing ground from sea level rise conversion. This shrubland faces possible elimination in the next decade or two
Condition of Herbaceous Communities
Both of the herbaceous communities in the tract are declining. One, Northeastern Old Field, likely due to maturing to other communities such as Early to Mid-Successional Loblolly Pine Forest. The other, Upland Switchgrass Vegetation, is losing ground due to the expansion of the agricultural field.
Condition of Marsh
All of the marsh communities associated with tidal water, except for North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh, suffered reductions in area. One marsh, not tide associated, Eastern Reed Marsh, did increase in area. An increase of the water table could be responsible.
Condition of Anthropogenic Communities/Land Covers
Most human created communities/land covers suffered losses in area throughout the period of study. Two, impervious surface and modified land, did increase in area.
Condition of Non-vegetation Land Covers
All of the non-vegetated land covers saw an increase in area during the study period. Three of which were new to the tract during the recent period.
Condition of Water
Estuarine Coastal Polyhaline Water continued its steady march upward throughout the study period and with an increasing rate of inundation. This increase will likely continue and the rate will increase as well. Farm Pond/Artificial Pond goes up and down according to the impoundment water level.