What is a Cedar Glade

When settlers first came into the mid-south, they noticed places where there were no trees. They called these places "glades".

When scientists study these locations, they find more differences than similarities, and have classified these treeless habitats into three categories, all three of which exist in middle Tennessee.

  • Limestone Cedar Glades
  • Xeric (dry) Limestone Prairies
  • Barrens

 

This page is based on the work of Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C Baskin, and Edward W. Chester from their article, "The Big Barrens Region of Kentucky and Tennessee: Further Observation and Considerations." [Castanea 59: 226-254 (1994).]

Limestone Cedar Glades
Xeric Limestone Prairies
Barrens
Naturally treeless due to very shallow soil and resulting extreme micro-climate
Cleared of trees by native people by periodic burning.
Cleared of trees by native people by periodic burning.
Many of the plants found are endemic, i.e. they are found only in cedar glades
Plants found here are also found in many other places.
Plants found here are also found in many other places.
Plant life dominated by non-woody plants
Habitat succeeds to woody plants.
Habitat succeeds to woody plants.
Plants adapted to the extreme micro-climate are found such as winter annuals and plants which form spores (cryptogams)
Adaptations not found.
Adaptations not found.
Plant succession limited by the extreme geologic conditions.
Plant succession procedes but at a slow rate.
Plant succession procedes at a normal pace.

In Tennessee, Limestone Cedar Glades are found mostly in the Inner Central Basin in Davidson, Wilson, and Rutherford Counties. Xeric Limestone Prairies are found on the borders of these glades. Barrens are found primarily on the Highland Rim.

Limestone Cedar Glade (Murfreesboro)

Glade

Xeric Limestone Prairie (Murfreesboro)

XLP

Barrens (Arnold AFB)

Barrens1

 

 BarrensMap

 


map adapted from William J. Wolfe, "Hydrology and Tree-Distribution Patterns of Karst Wetlands at Arnold engineering Development Center," USGS