New York Natural Heritage Program
Maritime Holly Forest
Maritime holly forest at Sunken Forest, Fire Island National Seashore Conservation Management Institute
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Forested Uplands

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: G1G2
A Global Rarity Rank of G1G2 means: Critically Imperiled or Imperiled globally - At very high or high risk of extinction due to rarity or other factors; typically 20 or fewer populations or locations in the world, very few individuals, very restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or steep declines. More information is needed to assign a single conservation status.


Did you know?
The old growth maritime holly forest known as Sunken Forest in Fire Island National Seashore is unique among maritime barrier island communities. "It is likely the most northern holly-dominated maritime forest on the Atlantic barrier island chain with the highest holly dominance" (Art 1976). However, because of increasing deer herbivory, particularly on tree seedlings, holly has not been able to grow into the canopy for many years. According to Forrester et al (2006), “if heavy browsing continues on this barrier island, the maritime holly forest composition will be further altered by shifting canopy dominance towards a higher percentage of black cherry, one of the most tolerant browse species. This change in species composition will change the characteristic canopy of [this] globally imperiled plant community".

State Ranking Justification [-]
There is one very small, geographically restricted occurrence of this community located in a vulnerable barrier island landscape. Although the occurrence is protected in a National Seashore, the property is heavily used by the public. The trend for the community is slowly declining due to threats that include heavy deer browse and trampling near heavily-used boardwalks.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]