Vegetation-soil relationships within the maritime shell forest community, Pinckney Island, South Carolina
Johnson, Amy Marlene
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The vegetation and soil properties within the “Maritime Shell Forest Community” (as named by Porcher and Rayner (2001)) that lay within the previously deposited shell middens within Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, are distinctly different from the surrounding vegetation communities in the area. Tree, sapling, and seedling composition, plus shrub species diversity values are significantly different on and off the shell middens within the island. On the refuge, this community was most distinguished, through detrended correspondence analysis, by the following species: Cornus asperifolia, Aesculus pavia, Juniperus virginiana, and Carya spp. Most surface and some vertical soil physical and chemical properties are significantly different on and off the shell middens. Shell midden sensitive vegetation variables correlated well with many soil chemical properties. Shell midden tree canopy was almost three times as deciduous as non-midden tree canopy. In the future, the search for shell middens can be assisted on the ground with the list of shell midden associated species and in geographic imaging with the knowledge that shell midden canopy exhibits substantially greater deciduous representation.