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The ecological communities in and around BNL have been classified according to the dominant vegetation and the habitat each provides, using the ecological classification system developed for New York State (Reschke, 1990). Dominant vegetation and associated wildlife as well as the various habitats on and adjacent to BNL were identified during field surveys in December 1993 and again in May, June, August, and October 1994. Ecological communities were classified according to dominant species, density of vegetation, wildlife present, and degree of human disturbance incurred. Particular attention was focused on plants, shrubs, and trees that provided food (nuts, berries, and browse) for area wildlife. The way in which resident wildlife species use the communities was identified (e.g., nesting feeding, roosting, etc.).

The number of plant species on site has been increased by human activities. Lawns, plantings, and plantations on developed portions of the property have increased the number of non-native plants on-site. Due to habitat restrictions, sandy soils, low nutrients, and periodic fires, relatively few non-native plant species have invaded the undisturbed pine barrens habitat. The on-site wetlands generally contain native species, such as common reed (Phragmites australis), which has invaded the large herbaceous wetland on the Peconic River (east of the east firebreak). Common reed appears to be spreading and consequently replacing native wetland vegetation, including cattail (Typha spp.), tussock sedge (Carex stricta), and spiked bur reed (Sparganium eurycarpum).

Twenty-eight plant species identified on-site are protected in New York State under Environmental Conservation Law and New York State Regulation, which states that "no one may knowingly pick, pluck, sever, remove, or carry away (without the consent of the owner thereof) any protected plant". No federally listed threatened or endangered plant species are known to occur at BNL.

Threatened & Endangered Species, Species of Special Concern, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Common Name Scientific Name State Status BNL Status
Small-flowered false foxglove Agalinis paupercula R Confirmed
Stargrass Aletris farinosa T Confirmed
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior V Confirmed
Spotted Wintergreen Chimaphila maculata V Confirmed
Flowering dogwood Cornus florida V Confirmed
Pink lady's slipper Cypripedium acaule V Confirmed
Ground pine Dendrolycopodium obscurum V Confirmed
Round-leaved sundew Drosera rotundifolia var. rotundifolia V Likely
Marginal wood fern Dryopteris marginalis V Confirmed
Engleman spikerush Eleocharis engelmannii E Confirmed
Eastern showy aster Eurybia spectabilis T Confirmed
Dwarf huckleberry Gaylussacia bigeloviana E Confirmed
Winterberry Ilex verticillata V Confirmed
Sheep laurel Kalmia angustifolia V Confirmed
Narrow-leafed bush clover Lespedeza augustifolia T Confirmed
Wild lupine Lupinus perennis R Confirmed
Whorled loosetrife Lysimachia quadrifolia E Confirmed
Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica V Confirmed
Stiff-leaved goldenrod Oligoneuron rigida T Possible
Cinnamon fern Osmunda cinnamomea V Confirmed
Clayton's fern Osmunda claytoniana V Confirmed
Royal fern Osmunda regalis V Confirmed
Crested fringed orchid Plantathera cristata E Likely
Green fringed orchid Platanthera lacera V Confirmed
Prostrate knotweed Polygonum aviculare ssp. buxiforme E Possible
Bracken fern Pteridium alquilinum var. E Possible
Swamp azalea Rhododendron viscosum V Confirmed
Long-beaked bald-rush Rhynchospora scirpoides R Confirmed
New York fern Thelypteris novaboracensis V Confirmed
Marsh fern Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens V Confirmed
Possum haw Viburnum nudum var. nudum E Possible
Virginia chain-fern Woodwardia virginica V Confirmed
Notes: Information based on 6 NYCRR Part 182, 6 NYCRR Part 193, and BNL survey data.
E = endangered, T = threatened, SC = species of special concern, R = rare, V = exploitably vulnerable, SGCN = species of greatest conservation need

Reference: December 1994; Sitewide Biological Inventory, Phase II. Note: Text citations are found in the above-referenced document.