New York Natural Heritage Program
Oak Openings
Oak openings DJ Evans
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?
Oak openings, or grass-savanna openings within oak-hickory matrix forests, were never very common in New York. Far more common in the midwestern United States, this community type has declined dramatically throughout its range due to a combination of fire suppression, land development, and competition by invasive species. Widespread fire suppression has led to the succession of nearly all oak openings to mature forest. Historically, oak openings were created through the dynamics of natural fire disturbance; as openings succeeded to woody vegetation, regular fires in the landscape prevented canopy closure and dominance by woody vegetation.

State Ranking Justification [-]
This community has been degraded or destroyed throughout its range. New York State is at the edge of the range of the community. There are less than five occurrences statewide, and probably not many more historically given that its range is primarily restricted to the Monroe County portion of the Eastern Ontario Till Plain. Although two documented occurrences have good viability, there are no high quality examples known in the state (i.e., no A- to AB-ranked occurrences). Only two oak openings are protected on public land or private conservation land. The current trend of this community is declining moderately as a result of invasive species, development, and recreational overuse.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]