Brown Trail

Brown Trail - Mixed Forest

At the T-intersection of Brown Trail, turn left.

Mixed Stands

Hardwood seedlings will come next, nurtured by the soil changes caused by pine litter (increased organic matter and subsequent moisture retention). Their large seeds are brought in by seed eating animals such as blue jays and squirrels, whose hoarding behavior inadvertently plants many a tree.

These deciduous trees will sprout and grow amidst the evergreens competing for the canopy light. This is called the "mixed forest" stage of succession. As the hardwoods reach the canopy, they will begin to shade out the sun-loving pines and cedars that will then die back, opening up the forest to more light. These hardwoods will eventually become the most dominant component of the plant community. Because of their slow growth rate, this dominance can take many years to develop.

Along this trail, look for stands of evergreens and deciduous hardwoods growing side by side. These mixed stands show the transition from earlier stages of succession when pines dominate to later stages of mature hardwoods.

Next: Hardwood Community