New York Natural Heritage Program
Serpentine Barrens
Serpentine barrens Andy Finton
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Barrens And Woodlands

State Protection: Not Listed
Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S1
A State Rarity Rank of S1 means: Typically 5 or fewer occurrences, very few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or some factor of its biology makes it especially vulnerable in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G2
A Global Rarity Rank of G2 means: Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 - 20 occurrences, or few remaining acres, or miles of stream) or very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors.


Did you know?
Serpentine is a light green bedrock that is thought to have been forced from the earth's core 450 million years ago during plate shifting activity. The green color is due to the high concentration of magnesium in the rock. The community is found in only a few places in the world and in New York it is only found on Staten Island. As it weathers, most of the rock dissolves. Soils poor in nutrients and high in nickel and chromium metals that are toxic to most plants and animals remain. Therefore, the ecosystem is sparsely vegetated and is not able to support commercial crops, hence the name "barren." However, some plants have found a competitive advantage and thrive in this nutrient poor soil.

State Ranking Justification [-]
There are only about five remnant occurrences in New York State totaling less than 40 acres. All sites are fair to poor quality. This community is limited to the regions of the state underlain with serpentine bedrock on Staten Island. The current trend of this community is probably stable in its current condition for occurrences on private conservation land and public land, or declining slightly due to moderate threats that include wildfire suppression, invasive plants, excessive ATV use, and trash dumping.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]