Brown Trail

3. At the end of the field, turn left into a forest of conifers.

Pines Move In

After substantial vegetative cover develops in the abandoned field, seeds of woody shrubs and trees will take root, brought in by the wind or seed-eating birds and small rodents.

The first trees to appear will be pines -- shortleaf, Virginia and white. Their seeds are brought in on the wind and because they are able to germinate on bare soil they take a fast hold. Redcedar will come in as well, its cone-like berries a favorite of many common birds, most notably the Cedar Waxwing, that readily deposit the undigested seeds. The evergreens thrive in the full sunlight of the abandoned field. As these evergreens develop and grow, their own seedlings will not be able to sprout in the shade their parents have created. Note how dark this particular stretch of woods is.

Next: Mixed Woods