Plant Community Composition of Rhus michauxii Colonies at Fort Pickett Military Reservation, Virginia
CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING RESEARCH LAB (ARMY) CHAMPAIGN IL
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Rhus michauxii, a federally listed endangered species, was discovered at Fort Pickett Military Reservation, Virginia in 1993. Previous work had determined the locations of known colonies, the amount of hybridization with R. glabra, the seed viability and stem density of R. michauxii. There were two primary objectives of this study 1 summarize previously gathered data on the community composition of R. michauxii colonies, and 2 ecologically assess colonies, using set criteria, that might be affected by the proposed construction of a Multi-Purpose Range Complex MPRC. Researchers gathered the community composition data under the auspices of the Armys Land Condition Trend Analysis program. A series of releves were located in the larger colonies of R. michauxii to determine plant community composition. Soil core samples were also collected. R. michauxii colonies occurred in two associations at Fort Pickett the oak woodland and open shrubland associations. R. michauxii vegetative cover was highest in the open shrubland association. Differences in the floristic and physiognomic composition of the two associations were likely due to differing levels of disturbance. Soil core samples in R. michauxii associations were significantly higher in pH and concentrations of Ca, P, and K than other associations sampled at Fort Pickett. A majority of the ecologically assessed colonies were in the open shrubland association and had reproductive structures. Most of the colonies have the potential to be affected by the construction of the proposed MPRC. Whether these effects will be positive or negative has yet to be determined.