** Guide to the Natural Communities of North Carolina
This document presents a revised framework for the classification of natural communities in North Carolina. Natural communities are central to the work of the Natural Heritage Program. Tracking occurrences of good examples of them comprises a major portion of the program’s inventory and database work. Natural communities are important components of biodiversity. They also represent a crucial means of conserving species diversity, as they offer a means of capturing many of the poorly known and un-tracked species that occur in them. The classification of natural communities has also proved useful for a variety of other purposes, including guiding research, organizing ecological information, characterizing sites, and defining habitat for particular species.
Books and publications recommended by George Ellison on North Carolina’s natural heritage:
Exploring North Carolina’s Natural Areas: Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails (UNC Press, 2000) edited by Dirk Frakenberg, is a collection of 36 Tour Guides divided among the coastal, coastal plain, piedmont and the mountains.
Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians and Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes (UNC Press) by Timothy P. Spira