This trip to my site my mission was to identify what type of natural community the area would represent based on the guidelines set by wetland, woodland, wildland, a guide that lays out all the natural communities present in Vermont.
I think my particular site is a tricky example since it is so heavily disturbed. Powerlines run right through the site, which means that all the new growth that pops up is cut down every four years. But, through considering the forest edges surrounding the site and identifying the saplings that have sprouted around the site I believe it would be classified as Hemlock-Northern Hardwood Forest if left undisturbed and allowed to go through all the stages of forest succession.
With current conditions, however, the site is actually pretty beautiful, especially as precipitation and temperatures increase to begin to create some snowmelt. Because of the human disturbance my site is one section of a huge strip of land that is completely cleared, and has turned into a combination of wetland, meadow, and early succession forest. Tree species that enjoy a lot of sun, such as sumac, move in and prosper, and the brook introduces all sorts of aquatic life.
My site has changed immensely since I first started visiting it last fall. I’ve seen it become completely blanketed in snow for months, and now I’m beginning to see it come back to life. Something I found particularly interesting this visit was that as the brook begins to melt layers have begun to form which look almost like strata layers in rock (left).
I also saw some very fresh deer tracks on the path by the brook.