New York Natural Heritage Program
Cliff Community
Mount Colden from Shepherds Tooth / Iroquois South Tim Howard
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Open Uplands

State Protection: Not Listed
Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S4
A State Rarity Rank of S4 means: Apparently secure in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


Did you know?
Cliff communities can harbor some of the oldest trees in the state. Because of the inaccessible nature of cliffs, the vegetation at these sites is often left undisturbed. In addition, the trees that reside on cliffs grow under stressful conditions, including drought, high wind, and low nutrient availability, often making them stunted, knobby, and undesirable for commercial lumber. The small size of these trees can be deceiving. Studies of the Niagara Escarpment, which extends from New York into Ontario, Canada, have found northern white cedar trees (Thuja occidentalis) that are 500 to 1000 years old.

State Ranking Justification [-]
There are several thousand occurrences statewide. Some documented occurrences have good viability and many are protected on public land or private conservation land. This community is limited to areas of the state with acidic bedrock outcrops that are sufficiently high and steep. Although most examples are relatively small, there are several large, high quality examples in New York. The current trend of this community is probably stable for occurrences on public land, or declining slightly elsewhere due to moderate threats that include mineral extraction, recreational overuse, and invasive species.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]