New York Natural Heritage Program
Ice Cave Talus Community
Meghan Kirkpatrick and Gabe Chapin at Shingle Gulley, Shawangunk Mountains Tim Howard
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Barrens And Woodlands

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: G3?
A Global Rarity Rank of G3? means: Vulnerable globally (most likely) - Conservation status is uncertain, but most likely at moderate risk of extinction due to rarity or other factors; typically 80 or fewer populations or locations in the world, few individuals, restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or recent and widespread declines. More information is needed to assign a firm conservation status.


Did you know?
During the spring and summer, the air in ice caves is colder than the outside air. Warm air enters the sinkholes, is cooled as it flows over ice, and then escapes through vents in the slopes, keeping them at a temperature between 37 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This creates a variety of microclimates that support species characteristic of cooler climates. For example, the ice caves of the Shawangunks support northern species such as red and black spruce, mountain ash, and creeping snowberry while the surrounding communities are mostly pitch pine barrens and oak forests.

State Ranking Justification [-]
There are about 15 to 40 occurrences statewide. A few documented occurrences have good viability and few are protected on public land or private conservation land. This community is limited to areas of the state with fractured talus that accumulate sufficient ice that persists into summer. Although most examples are relatively small, there are a few large, high quality examples in New York. The current trend of this community is probably stable for occurrences on public land, or declining slightly elsewhere due to moderate threats that include mineral extraction and recreational overuse.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]