Wetland, Woodland, Wildland Winter Phenology

When asking which category this phenology site would fall into in the Wetland, Woodland, Wildland model, the answer would certainly be an Open Upland Community, which falls under the category of a Wildland. This is a site of Wildland because a portion of it falls on a cliff side, which not only distrubs local vegetation but also increases hydrological run-off. This run-off causes soils to shift toward sandier conditions and undergrowth is not allowed to fully take root because of fast moving waters.

This site is more specifically formed of the qualities of an Open Upland Community as it has Cliffs and Talus in one area of the site, but shifts towards outcrops and upland meadows in the other half. Both of these fall under the Open Upland Community category, meaning it is entirely a site of Wildland.

At the site, some of the traits I noticed which led me to this conclusion we’re in the state of the canopy structure. While inland portions had began to form outcrops of tree stands, there was no dense forest like what an undisturbed Northern hardwood would see only a few hundred feet inland. Additionally, the cliffside leading to lake Champlain is quite steep, and only the occasional small shrub is able to find livable conditions on that slope, meaning it is clearly labeled as an open Wildland.

This far into the winter season and with the Hydrological pressures of recent weather patterns, the cliffside saw a lot of erosion. Already pressured by hydrological intensity, this further pushed the cliff inward and potentially brought brush off the landscape and into the shore. One of the most notable changes to phenology since my last visit is the frozen state of the lake. Everyone has begun to bring their dogs and kids out to walk out on the lake and watch as amazing sunset framed by the Adirondacks. Furthermore, all traces of active bird life have disappeared, leaving behind only the low echo of the wind between trees branches and needles, as even the last stranglers looking to move south are long gone by now.

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