Monday, September 17, 2007

observations in a little patch of Dover forest...

Kellee and I decided that, since we live in Dover, that it would be more convenient to find a place to do our observations close to home. We ended up going into the woods behind our apartment complexes. Despite initial discouragement because there were lots of signs of man's presence there, we eventually found a spot that was perfect.

The goal was to find a place where there are two portions of forest that are next to each other that are very different, and to try and determine the reason. The first part of the forest was dominated by very large and old White Pines, if I had to guess I would say 50-80 years old each. The understory and forest floor was littered with pine needles, and there was very little light, and not much light came through. The only other types of trees growing were very tiny beech and red oak trees, and a few wildflowers. (see picture to the left). There were also a curious amount of downed paper birch trees, all of which seemed to have been felled at the same time, which we did not have an immediate understanding of the reason for it.

In stark contrast to this was the site down a slight slope to this patch. There, ferns dominated the under story, the soil was wetter underfoot, and there were no conifers to be found- only tall silver maples, red oaks filled the canopy. This area of the woods was also lighter, and there was even grass growing. It was apparent that the area was likely often saturated with water - the grasses were recently all bent in one direction, and there was debris clinging to tree stumps, which makes me think that there was definitely flowing water ate one point. We found a frog, too, which also was a strong indication that there was water nearby.

I haven't been able to write up the observation paper quite yet as I ran out of time today, but I am confident that it was a good site to choose just based on the contrast we saw.

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