Forests

Forests at UNDERC are Northern mesic hardwood forest that is mostly second-growth consisting chiefly of aspen-birch, pine, or swamp-conifer with some red or sugar maple-hemlock.

Natural Disturbance: Wind

UNDERC has forests with treefall gaps of various ages

  • Downbursts and tornadoes
  • Locally high winds cause downbursts among the trees in an area creating a gap in the canopy
  • Range in size from several miles to several yards in diameter
  • Fires frequently follow such wind destruction further modifying the environment 

Successional Differences

  • Quite obvious in areas of disturbance
  • Aspen and birch are pioneer species that often colonize after windthrows or fires
  • A stand of aspen serves as a shelter crop for more shade tolerant species (such as white pine, red or sugar maple, and hemlock) that can grow under a full canopy such as white pine, red or sugar maple and hemlock
  • The path of succession is affected by many factors including the frequency of disturbance and seed availability so a complete and predictable series is rarely, if ever, attained
  • Trees commonly encountered at UNDERC include the following
  • Early successional
    • Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    • Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
    • Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
    • Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
  • Late successional
    • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
    • Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
    • Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
    • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
    • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
    • White Spruce (Picea glauca)