Forests have covered our landscape for most of the millennia since the last glaciations left some 15,000 years ago or so. Given our current combination of soils, temperature and rainfall, they continue to be the land’s natural inclination in the majority of the County. This means that many of our native creatures are forest species. Walk out of an upland field and into a forest, and you have usually walked out of some highly cosmopolitan mix of Asian, European and North American plant (and animal) species and into a much more richly native world. Most places on our landscape, if left to their own devices, will return to forest. There are many kinds of forests, formed by the different combinations of soil, hydrology and climate, and by the different disturbance histories – axes and chain saws, hurricanes, fires, bulldozers, deer, floodwaters…. Forests are finely textured and dynamic places. We hope our tools will help you familiarize yourself with the woods.
For more information, please see the following:
Winter Woody Plant Botany: A set of images and words meant to open your eyes to the exciting, if cold-fingered, world of winter botany.
Forests: Our web page introducing the County's forests.
Floodplain Forests: Those muddy, messy woods along our larger streams are worth delving into; this page might help you see why.
Ancient Woodlots: The botanical variation in our forests is a product not just of variation in the physical environment, it also reflects stand history. This page explores one example of the power of happenstance.