Blue Ridge Metasandstone Outcrop
Southern Appalachian Rocky Summit (NatureServe 2014)
Eastern Tennessee, primarily along the state line with North Carolina, in Cocke county. Occurs along ridge tops surrounding Mount Cammerer.
Due to the community primarily consisting of bare rock, the main organisms that inhabit these communities are lichens, as vascular plants are mostly unable to inhabit the bare rock surface.
The community occurs on the upper slopes and ridges of High-Elevation Blue Ridge mountians, mostly in the area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park around 1493m (4900 ft). The soils are considered to be very rocky Breakneck-Pullback complex which are steeply sloping (30-95%), and have a pH of 3.7. Bedrock is composed of Graywacke and metasandstone. The communities range from 30-600 square meters in size.
The outcrops develop via erosion which exposes the bedrock and prevents any soil deposition.
Community Variation and Subtypes
The communities consist of bare rock surface, which primarily harbors lichens, small soil packets which may harbor small perennial plants, and outcrop borders which contain plant species from the surrounding forests.
Associated Natural Communities
Blue Ridge High-Elevation Spruce-Fir Forest
Blue Ridge High-Elevation Slate Outcrop
Presettlement distribution and Size
The outcrops are likely retain their pre-settlement size into the present day.
In Tennessee, the community is fairly rare, only occurring along the boundary with North Carolina at high elevations, and is represented by 7 sites.
Cocke County: Summit of Mount Cammerer (35.763694°, -83.159348°)
Due to the relative isolation and inaccessibility of the sites, no major threats affect these communities.
Sites that are accessible to trails could be enclosed to limit disturbance via foot traffic.
Future Research Needs
USGS is currently conducting a survey of all outcrop communities along the Appalachian Trail.
NatureServe. 2014. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web
http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed: May 29, 2015).
Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department
of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Available online at
http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/. Accessed [04/29/2015].