Leaving the red pine stand we enter the climax plant community of our site: the oak-poplar forest. There is a mix of trees of differing sizes and ages throughout this part of the forest. In the winter the deciduous trees (white ash, oaks, maples, poplar etc.) have shed their leaves. The energy cost of this leaf loss and replacement is recovered with profit by the efficient spring and summer photosynthesis. The nutrients in the fallen leaves are recycled within the ecosystem by the earthworms and other decomposers.

View of the trail in winter

Winter tree panorama

This part of the Trail is an ecosystem that has grown up with very little human intervention. The developing forest influences the light, moisture and nutritional conditions of the site. Over time the most well adapted species will dominate the site. Many different herbs, shrubs and trees compete for the limited resources of the ecosystem.

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