By admin

Ecological Communities

Dwarf shrub bog

These peatlands are dominated by low-growing evergreen, ericaceous shrubs (more than 50% cover) and peat mosses, sometimes with scattered stunted trees. Leather leaf is often dominant and may form a floating mat. Prominent shrubs are huckleberry, highbush blueberry, and small cranberry. Other characteristic plants include round-leaved sundew, tawny cottongrass, pitcher plant, and bog rosemary. These bogs may grade into a highbush blueberry bog thicket.

Highbush blueberry bog thicket

The dominant vegetation is tall, deciduous, ericaceous shrubs (usually highbush blueberry) and peat mosses. Other characteristic shrubs and herbs include winterberry, mountain holly, black huckleberry, false Solomon’s seal, pitcher plant, and cinnamon fern. Stunted trees such as red maple, white pine, and tamarack may be present.

Red maple-hardwood swamp

A swamp that occurs in poorly drained upland depressions usually on acidic muck over gray clay. Red maple or silver maple may dominate alone or with yellow birch, black ash, white pine, butternut, and bitternut hickory. The shrub layer is quite dense and includes spicebush, winterberry, black chokeberry, highbush blueberry, red osier dogwood, arrowwood, and wild raisin. The herb layer is often dominated by ferns. Herbs include skunk cabbage, jewelweed, and sedges.

Shallow emergent marsh

A marsh that is better drained than a deep emergent marsh; water depths may range from 15 cm to 1 m during flood stages, but the water level usually drops by mid to late summer and the substrate is exposed. Characteristic plants include bluejoint grass, reed canary grass, rice cutgrass, mannagrass, three-way sedge, bulrushes, sweetflag, wild iris, and water smartweed.

Shrub swamp

A shrub dominated wetland that occurs along a lake or river, in a wet depression , or as a transition between wetland and upland communities. The substrate is usually mineral soil or muck. Alder or willow are common dominants. Other characteristic species include red osier, silky, gray dogwoods, meadowsweet, steeplebush, swamp azalea, highbush blueberry, maleberry, spicebush, viburnums, and buttonbush.

Successional forest

A forest that occurs on sites that have been cleared or otherwise disturbed. Dominant trees are usually two or more of the following; red maple, white pine, white ash, gray birch, quaking aspen, big-tooth aspen, and, less frequently, sugar maple. Tree seedling and saplings may be of more shade tolerant species. Shrubs and ground cover species may be those of old-fields. In abandoned pasturelands apples and hawthorns may be present in the understory.

Successional old field

A meadow on sites cleared, plowed, and then abandoned. The ragweed type occurs on fields 1 to 3 years after last cultivation. Ragweed, daisy, Queen Anne’s lace, crab grass, golden foxtail, and chickweed are common. The goldenrod subtype occurs 3 – 15 years after last cultivation. Dominant species are perennial composites: goldenrods and asters. Other herbs include timothy, orchard grass, smooth brome, bluegrasses, quackgrass, sweet vernal grass, evening primrose, old-field cinquefoil, wild strawberry, and hawkweeds. Shrubs represent less than 50% cover but include gray and silky dogwoods, arrowwood, raspberries, sumac, and eastern red cedar.

Successional shrubland

A shrubland with at least 50% cover of shrubs that occurs on agricultural fields 10 – 25 years after abandonment, following other disturbance, and especially on sites with restricted drainage. Characteristic shrubs include gray dogwood, raspberries, hawthorn, serviceberries, chokecherry, sumac, nannyberry, arrowwood and buckthorn. Herbs are of those of old-fields. Seedlings of white pine, red maple and white ash are usually present.