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Old 03-13-2011, 11:44 PM   #1
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Of the rare plants on Maryland's serpentine outcrops, the Serpentine Aster (Aster depauperatus) is the only species restricted to this habitat throughout its range. Rather than migrating from a similar habitat type as many other plants have, the Serpentine Aster actually evolved on serpentine soils. A low, branching plant with small, daisy-like white flowers, this fall-blooming aster occurs at only four sites in Maryland and is a federal candidate for listing as an Endangered or Threatened species.

The Sandplain Gerardia (Agalinis acuta) has numerous funnel-shaped pink blossoms that are open from late summer through early fall. Once more widespread in acidic, nutrient-poor Coastal Plain soils, this federally Endangered species has been largely eradicated by development and now occurs at only one site in Maryland, a serpentine grassland in Baltimore County. State biologists have been conducting research to determine what role disturbances, such as breaking up the soil surface, play in the survival of this plant.

Currently listed as an Endangered species in Maryland, the rare and beautiful Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita) once flourished in at least five locations in the state. Scattered along streams and beside open seeps, it now thrives at only two serpentine areas in Maryland, its silky, purplish-blue flowers radiant in full sunlight.

The small, pink blossoms of the state-rare Fameflower (Talinum teretifolium) are usually open for only a few short hours on sunny days. This species is confined almost solely to serpentine outcrops and is listed as a Threatened species in Maryland. Bees are attracted to the bright patches of star-shaped flowers, which contrast sharply with the otherwise stony soil.
While looking for information pertaining to Pennsylvania serpentine barrens I came across these links chock full of biodiversity being taken very seriously.

http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/documents/2010Q4%20PNHP%20Newsletter.pdf


http://www.pabiodiversity.org/snapshotweb.pdf

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Wetland restoration and creation of new wetlands have been advanced by recognition of the ecological services that wetlands provide. While replacing wetlands on an equal area basis is the emphasis of most mitigation projects, there is less concern for replacing ecological functions. In addition, many mitigated wetlands are being replaced with dissimilar wetland types. For instance,while the greatest loss of wetlands has been of the scrub-shrub type, most restored wetlands are open water types, which have lower ecological value.
Despite initial optimism that created wetlands would perform the same functions as native wetlands, recent evidence suggests this is not the case. Poor wetland design, inability to establish vegetation, and the influx of invasive species are some of the reasons that wetland mitigation
projects fail. In spite of such evidence, some argue that created wetlands have not been given sufficient time to achieve all of their potential ecological functions.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:39 PM   #2
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Wow, Gloria, what a great find! Thank you so much for sharing.

I scanned the first site...then scanned the second one even more thoroughly reading some tidbits. Great photos. I saved them as favorites to explore more at my leisure.

Thank you again for sharing this.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:44 PM   #3
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Interesting info. I was browsing unread messages and got completely sidetracked by those documents. It's remarkable how many people today are involved in biodiversity activities. But, with austerity budgets being proposed at both the state and federal level, I wonder how many of those people are going to be on the street as funding dries up.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:59 PM   #4
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A video...

Green Life Pennsylvania Blog Archive Serpentine Barrens

I could not get the video to embed but the link goes straight to the correct video. See the serpentine rock and shallow poor soil and some of the plants that grow on the barrens. The power lines crossing the serpentine barrens on the Pennsylvania Maryland border have helped keep the trees at bay allowing the grassland to flourish.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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Oh.
I'll have those links. Thanks very much Gloria.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the video link, Gloria.

I have always been fascinated by these types of environments...perhaps because my dad was a rock gardener. I remember, in my late teens or early twenties, thinking that powerlines should be underplanted by low growing plant communities... it is nice to see that sometimes powerlines encourage such communities.
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