What is an upland forest?

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Xeric upland forest occurs mainly in the Shawnee Hills in southern Illinois on sites where the soils are even thinner than those of barrens do. The trees have a stunted, gnarly growth form on these nutrient poor, droughty soils.

Dry upland forests grow on steep ridges, along rocky cliffs, and on bedrock outcrops along the Mississippi River and in the Shawnee Hills. Many of these sites were barrens in the past when natural fires were not extinguished by humans. The soils are thin and excessively drained, but the trees are not as stunted as those of the xeric upland forest are, which have even thinner soils.

1. Barrens means describes a variety of open-canopied forests with under stories of grasses and prairie plants. They are a unique combination of forest (oak) opening and prairie surrounded by dry or mesic upland forests with greater canopy cover. Both barrens and savannas have widely spaced trees and under stories of grasses, but whereas savannas occur on a range of soils from nutrient poor to nutrient rich, barrens are restricted to poor, thin, excessively drained soils.
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