Pasture Ridge by Beginning with Habitat

A relatively broad, low ridgeline of uneven topography, Pasture Ridge has a mosaic of pitch pine woodlands within a forest of mixed mid-successional oak-pine woods. At over 200 acres, this is one of the largest pitch pine woodlands in the state. 

Low-growing pitch pine (Pinus rigida) dominates the overstory and averages 25% cover, while white pine (Pinus strobus) and red pine (Pinus resinosa) are present in lower abundance. A few old stonewalls suggest that the pitch pine forest is growing on abandoned pastureland, and long-ago fires also could have facilitated establishment of the pitch pine. The understory is dominated by huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), low-bush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), broom crowberry (Corema conradii), and lichens (Cladonia and Cladina spp.). The soil layer is thin and quite acidic (pH 3. 7). Scattered among the bedrock outcrops are small basins that sometimes contain water, perhaps as vernal pools.

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