Forest Ecosystems Daily: Classifying Communities

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At Ellicott Rock National Wilderness, we challenged students to assess the forest community, examining a small plot area in detail. Teams recorded species and percent cover in the canopy, mid-story, shrub, and herb layers, as well as measured the slope, aspect, plot profile and section, elevation, and soil depth and texture. Using a key, we then identified the community as an Appalachian Montane Oak-Hickory Forest (Typic Acidic Type). Knowing the community type can help protect┬árare species, for example, and are critical for conservation. [Plus, plants don’t run away.]

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