Virtual Nature Trail

You have reached the juncture of the Entry Trail and the Red Pine Trail. As you face down the Red Pine Trail, notice how 'open' the pine stand to your left appears compared to the hardwood forest to your right. The more heavily shaded conditions of the red pine stand limit the density and abundance of the under story plants. The shading also has impacts on the red pines themselves. Looking up the trunk of a nearby red pine you see a sequence of branch scars that run high up into its small crown. These are marks from the branches that the red pine has lost over the years due to shading. The red pine needs lots of sunlight and is very intolerant of even moderately shady conditions. Its tiny canopy and reduced branch density are the consequences of this extreme shade intolerance.

Red Pine Stand

Read more about Red Pine Trees

At the edges of the red pine stand where the ash and the poplars have grown up into the pine stand, the impacts of even more extreme shading can be observed. Many of these red pines have lost their entire canopy to shading by the growing crowns of the ashes and the poplars. Many of these pines are standing, dead trees waiting for insect damage or a windstorm to bring them down. Stacked along side of the Trail are pine logs and branches that are the casualties of the successional 'war' that is going on between the pines and their competing hardwood species.

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