New York Natural Heritage Program
Calcareous Cliff Community
Calcareous cliff community Stephen M. Young
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Open Uplands

State Protection: Not Listed
Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S3
A State Rarity Rank of S3 means: Typically 21 to 100 occurrences, limited acreage, or miles of stream in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G4
A Global Rarity Rank of G4 means: Apparently 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 their inaccessibility, 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 hundred occurrences statewide. Some documented occurrences have good viability and many are protected on public land or private conservation land. This community is limited to the calcareous regions of the state, and there are several large, high quality examples. 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 [-]