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A Floral Survey of Cliff Habitats Along Bull Run at Manassas National Battlefield Park

Courtney James, Biological Science Technician, National Park Service, Manassas National Battlefield Park; Esther D. Stroh, Matthew A. Struckhoff, and Keith W. Grabner, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center

In an area of increasing development, Manassas National Battlefield  Park contains some of the highest quality natural communities in the region  and supports at least 706 plant species and 10 broad habitat types. However, previous floral surveys did not include the bluffs along Bull Run, and they recommended that the bluffs be thoroughly surveyed due to the occurrence of locally rare species and the refuge provided by the steep terrain from excessive  deer browsing. Variations in soil, topography, and exposure can create microclimates that support a suite of species that is atypical of the surrounding landscape. Therefore, a floral survey of the cliffs was prioritized via the National Resource Preservation Program, and in 2014, a floral survey of the 11 cliffs in the park by the U.S. Geological Survey recorded 282 species in 194 genera  and 83 families, including 23 newly documented species for the park.

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