In Western Maine and New Hampshire… At the mountain base, northern hardwood species (sugar maple, American beech, yellow birch) or oak hardwood species Spruce and balsam fir forests further up Krummholtz “sub alpine” zone - stunted, dwarf trees, often flagged Alpine zone - above treeline (grasses, lichens, specialized plants) Drastic changes in plant communities and forest structure
Alpine Communities Very rare (<5% of terrestrial habitat on planet) Very similar species to tundra biomes Mount Washington biggest alpine zone east of Mississippi (Mt. Katahdin is second). Plants remenants of last glacial retreat (9000 years ago) Very fragile (easily trampled by humans) Endemic plant species present Threated by warming trend (global warming)
Alpine Vegetation Low lying (cushions) for protection against snow Have thick, waxy leaves to prevent wind/snow damage Alpine plants can tolerate extremes in environment (drying winds, acidic soils, scant water, ice coating) Evergreen leaves to save energy of foliation in spring
Cladina stellaris Star-tipped reindeer lichen Lichen - mutualism between algae and fungi Attaches to hard substrates (rocks, trees) Nutrients from air and photosythesis Bioindicator Cladina stellaris important food for caribou
Birds of the Alpine Zone American Pipit –Rare in the East –Only nests on Katahdin and Presidentials
Mammals Caribou once roamed throughout New England’s alpine zones Extirpated by turn of century Reintroduction to Baxter State Park failed in 1980s
What we will do on Bald Face? Measure canopy height Measure % canopy cover and light intensity Record tree species and diameter (dbh) in 10x10 meter plots Collect a soil sample and measure horizons Record height and % cover of forest layers (herbacious, shrub, subcanopy, canopy) Identify plant species (herbs, shrub, fern, etc) Determine Stand Age Incidental mammals, herps, birds
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