Floristic inventory and quality of Piedmont gabbro upland depression forests in Jasper County, Georgia
Sewell, Sabrina Yasmin Sheikh
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Piedmont Gabbro Upland Depression Forests are a globally imperiled (G2) association endemic to a few scattered locations in the Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina. These distinctive communities occur in relatively level upland situations over mafic shrink-swell soils, particularly Iredell, derived from gabbro bedrock. The hydrology ranges from seasonally saturated to very dry. Unusual assemblages of plants occur, including species associated with wetlands, xeric areas, and the Coastal Plain. A floristic inventory was conducted of three USDA National Forest sites in Jasper County, Georgia, which documented 552 vascular plant taxa, including one species and one variety new to the state. Plot-based Floristic Quality Assessments (FQA) were conducted, with FQI and Mean C calculated with all species and with only natives. Maps and descriptions of the study area and findings are provided. This data justifies long-term stewardship of this unique forest type and establishes a baseline for conservation and management decisions.