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Old 01-19-2020, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
612 posts, read 136,509 times
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I know they're incredibly biodiverse, but really the MOST on the entire continent? It has not only two temperate rainforest regions (one from near Anchorage to north of San Francisco, the other straddling the North Carolina/Tennessee state line) and a semi-tropical desert but also even a fully tropical rainforest region in eastern Mexico. Surely one of those four ecosystems - also world-class biodiversity hotspots - would be more magnificent than even the mighty pine savannas?
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Belt-lover L.A.M. View Post
I know they're incredibly biodiverse, but really the MOST on the entire continent? It has not only two temperate rainforest regions (one from near Anchorage to north of San Francisco, the other straddling the North Carolina/Tennessee state line) and a semi-tropical desert but also even a fully tropical rainforest region in eastern Mexico. Surely one of those four ecosystems - also world-class biodiversity hotspots - would be more magnificent than even the mighty pine savannas?

Context for the question? They are quite diverse but did someone claim they were the most diverse? Natureserve says there are the most species in California, but their count only includes a limited number of the more well-known insect families, and does not include most of the most diverse and poorly studied groups.



https://www.thoughtco.com/top-states...ersity-1203613


The full report is here



https://www.researchgate.net/publica...s_Biodiversity
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Old Yesterday, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MISSOURI
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I had always read that southern Appalachian cove forests were the most diverse habitats in the US.

I would think Southern bottomland forests would be up there as well.
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Old Yesterday, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
612 posts, read 136,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Bond 007 View Post
I had always read that southern Appalachian cove forests were the most diverse habitats in the US.
Those are part of the Appalachian Rainforest, which is one of the other four biodiverse North American ecosystems I mentioned. While I can't remember which one, I remember reading somewhere that one of the Appalachian Rainforest states (so either AL, GA, NC, SC, TN or VA) has more native tree/shrub species statewide than all of Europe. But I find it likely that it's NC as it has both the largest area of the rainforest (ahead of even TN) and the second-northernmost area of Longleaf Pine Savannas (Virginia is further north and has a few, and NC is still further north than AR), not to mention the Outer Banks that extend in states to the south and midland hardwood forests similar to those in TN/AR/VA/OK too.
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Old Yesterday, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MISSOURI
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I never got the impression Southern pine forests were particularly diverse. Certainly in terms of trees, you typically have maybe 2 or 3 dominant pine species and just a few other kinds of trees as well. Maybe shrubs and insects are diverse, or something, but I'd say even the oak forests around me in KC are probably more diverse than Southern pine forests. As I said, bottomland hardwood forests down there are almost certainly more diverse.

The west coast rain forests don't actually have much biodiversity either. I used to work with a wetland biologist in Seattle who told me precisely that once (I lived in Washington 27 years). At least in Washington state, the lowland forests are completely dominated by 6 species:

Coniferous:
Douglas-fir
Western hemlock
Western redcedar

Deciduous:
Bigleaf maple
Red alder
Black cottonwood

Around Seattle, I'd bet those 6 species comprise 85-90% of the wild trees. Plus right along the coast you also get Sitka spruce. In the mountains you get a different mix, but it's also not particularly diverse.

Like the Southern pine forests, I am pretty sure the oak forests around me are more diverse than those. There are probably at least 5 or 6 oak species in the forests around me, but even then, oaks are maybe only half the total number of trees.

Somewhere I read that the coastal mountains south of Grant's Pass are really diverse, at least by Western standards. You get a mix of California Mediterranean and NW coastal vegetation there.

I think the mountains in SE Arizona are pretty diverse, too.
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
612 posts, read 136,509 times
Reputation: 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Bond 007 View Post
I never got the impression Southern pine forests were particularly diverse. Certainly in terms of trees, you typically have maybe 2 or 3 dominant pine species and just a few other kinds of trees as well. Maybe shrubs and insects are diverse, or something, but I'd say even the oak forests around me in KC are probably more diverse than Southern pine forests. As I said, bottomland hardwood forests down there are almost certainly more diverse.

The west coast rain forests don't actually have much biodiversity either. I used to work with a wetland biologist in Seattle who told me precisely that once (I lived in Washington 27 years). At least in Washington state, the lowland forests are completely dominated by 6 species:

Coniferous:
Douglas-fir
Western hemlock
Western redcedar

Deciduous:
Bigleaf maple
Red alder
Black cottonwood

Around Seattle, I'd bet those 6 species comprise 85-90% of the wild trees. Plus right along the coast you also get Sitka spruce. In the mountains you get a different mix, but it's also not particularly diverse.

Like the Southern pine forests, I am pretty sure the oak forests around me are more diverse than those. There are probably at least 5 or 6 oak species in the forests around me, but even then, oaks are maybe only half the total number of trees.

Somewhere I read that the coastal mountains south of Grant's Pass are really diverse, at least by Western standards. You get a mix of California Mediterranean and NW coastal vegetation there.

I think the mountains in SE Arizona are pretty diverse, too.
I, too, imagine it's probably in terms of shrubs, grasses and fauna. The understory has a lot of Dwarf Palmetto, Saw Palmetto, River Cane, Wax Myrtle and many small grasses I don't know the names of.

Also, there are actually more than 3 common pine species: Longleaf Pine, Pitch Pine, Virginia Pine, Loblolly Pine and Shortleaf Pine all occur there. One of those even has a tropical subspecies in south Florida. None of those are common in closed forests because the only southeastern pine species with much shade tolerance are Eastern White Pine and Spruce Pine. Without wildfires, the pine savannas would die out; in fact, they're seriously threatened by fire suppression as it is.

However, you have pretty much proven my initial disbelief that it's the MOST diverse ecosystem to be invalid. I imagined Appalachian Rainforest, NW California/SW Oregon, Sonoran Desert and the jungles of Mexico would all be at least somewhat more diverse.
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Old Today, 08:55 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
3,315 posts, read 1,287,754 times
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I think you'll find that the Kankakee River drainage area is the most biodiverse area in the US. https://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning...kee/index.html Besides river, lake & riparian biomes, it also contains oak/hickory & beech/maple climax forests, conifer forests tall grass prairies & sand prairies (not to mention the unique Indiana Dunes) and wetland/swampland....That about covers it all except desert and tundra.


Biggest problem is that it's densely populated and early farmers filled in most of the wetlands in Indiana to improve cropland. Not much all-natural habitat left. It's still the classic teaching tool for ecological succession as habitat/climate changed coming out of the last glacial maximum.
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Old Today, 11:26 AM
 
1,718 posts, read 947,060 times
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I think we are comparing apples and oranges and kiwis and mangos here. Some are talking about diversity of habitat types, some tree diversity or other plant diversity. Any talk of biodiversity that excludes insects is overlooking the greatest part of biodiversity, or diversity of life forms. And tree diversity might be greater elsewhere but plant diversity is greatest in the sw, and insect diversity most likely is too.
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