Red Trail


Look for the "edge habitat" between forest and field.

Edge Habitat

Along the western edge of the field, note how thorny, tangled shrubs and small trees make up this valuable ecotone, known as "edge" habitat. Enhanced by forest and field habitats on either side, the edge habitat provides prolific fruit production and protective cover. This habitat offers a safe place for sleeping, feeding and traveling and a quick get-away for prey species such as birds and small mammals fleeing from the predators that come to the field to hunt. Dense branches make excellent nesting sites for many birds, including cardinals and mockingbirds. Edge habitat is truly a haven of biodiversity.

Many wildlife species, such as foxes, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and field mice rely on the berry-producing shrubs for food. Valuable summer fruits include blackberries and black raspberries. Come fall, many migratory songbirds rely on the high-fat fruits of spicebush, sassafras, dogwood and Virginia creeper. Vines do particularly well in this sunny habitat and may produce grapes, berries and other valuable fruits. Even the low-fat, high-sugar fruit are valuable as they offer good winter food sources. These include eastern redcedar, holly and sumac.

next: Riparian Habitat