Earth Partnership for Schools


WOODLAND PLANT COMMUNITY - SOUTHERN WET-MESIC FORESTS

Topography: Southern wet-mesic forests often grow on bottomlands; elevated terraces along streams; areas with yearly flooding of short duration; and areas with excess surface wetness in spring and winter and dry conditions in mid-summer.

Composition: Species listed below are most likely found in the community.

Dominant Trees: Silver maple, green ash, and basswood. Red oak and basswood are dominants in a variation of the wet-mesic forest. American elm was once a dominant tree of the wet-mesic forest. Dutch elm disease significantly reduced its numbers.

Common Trees: Green ash, swamp white oak, and river birch.

Typical Shrubs: Elderberry, gooseberry. Vines: woodbine, grape, hogpeanut, dodder, wild yam, moonseed, carrionflower, and poison ivy.

Prevalent Groundlayer: Wood nettle, jewelweed, Jack-in-the pulpit, marsh blue violet. Spring flooding is neither frequent nor prolonged; therefore, a fairly rich display of spring bloomers develops. Typical but not widespread spring plants include green dragon, toothwort, woods phlox, Virginia bluebells, and sweet cicely.

Structure: scattered large trees with few understory trees and shrubs beneath characterize A wet-mesic forest. Large colonies of groundlayer species are common. Nettles, grasses, and sedges tend to form dense colonies. Vines seem to cling to every tree.

Soil: Fine sandy to silty clays, heavy clays. Poor to moderately well drained.

Major Soil Series: Arenzville.

 

Summary of Soil Analysis:

W.R.C.

118%

p H

6.1

Ca

3715 p.p.m.

K

84 p.p.m.

P

39 p.p.m.

NH4

13 p.p.m.

Stability: Relatively stable. Succeeded by mesic forests only by changes in water supply.
Typical Number of Species: Trees 36, Shrubs 42, Herbs 255, Total 333
Species Density: 39
Guild SE ES LS SV WA WG DI MY EV
Average Proportion 0.6% 31.7% 45.1% 18.3% 0.7% 0.0% 1.7% 1.1% 0.7%
Guild Key: SE = Spring Ephemeral; ES = Early Summer; LS = Late Summer; SV = Shrub/Vine; WA = Winter Annual; WG = Wintergreen; DI = Dimorphic; MY = Mycotrophic; EV = Evergreen
Wildlife: Wood duck, white-eyed vireo, red-shouldered hawk, yellow-throated vireo, northern oriole, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, and beaver.
Typical Examples: Wyalusing S.A., Tower Hill State Park.
Geographical Distribution: Along rivers and flat lands, Minnesota to New Jersey, south into the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.