Virtual Nature Trail

Entering the Oak - Poplar WoodsLeaving the pines we enter the oak-yellow poplar forest that is this area's successional climax ecosystem.  The view through this section of forest is different from any that we have seen so far. The ground plants are much more diverse and include grasses intermixed with the herbs and shrubs. The vegetation here is in distinct layers and is packed into the volume of the forest with a much greater density. There is less downed wood compared to the red pine area and the soil even on the trail is denser and firmer underfoot.

Read about Leaf Shapes

Dense masses of grapevines wrap around both the failing red pines and also around some of the encroaching ash trees. These grapevines accelerate the shading and the rate of death of the pines. These vines also add considerable weight to the crowns of the trees and increase the probability of their toppling in the wind (wind throw). This section of the trail has been shaped by natural forces with little sustained impact by humans. The tree species here have become established both as a result of chance influx and also as a consequence of the specific conditions of each site.

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