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Forest Ecosystems in Urban and Suburban Midatlantic North American

Introduction

Before the arrival of Europeans, forests covered the eastern United States. It was said that a squirrel could travel from the Atlantic shore to the Mississippi River without ever touching the ground. Forested land has now been reduced to tiny fragments. The majority of our native plants and animals are adapted to life in forested ecosystems, Our forests vary from back dune holly forests along the sea shore, to moist coastal-plain forests on rich, deep soil; to dry, rocky upland oak woods. Our forests perform vital services for us. These services include carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake, oxygen (O2) production, uptake of pollutant gases, cooling through transpiration of water, soil formation, waste treatment, noise abatement, wind speed control, erosion control, storm water storage, filtration, and runoff control (i.e. flood control), nutrient cycling, habitat for plants and wildlife, and genetic resources. Forests provide habitat for plant pollinators and seed dispersers, and […]

Introductory Notes

Plants of Suburbia, Botanical Stories

The purpose of the site is to present short essays about plants and ecology found in the urban and suburban environs of the greater New York City metropolitan area, mostly along the New York to Philadelphia corridor. This includes woodlands, old fields, garden weeds, unmowed roadsides, swamps, marshes, wet ditches, and other natural areas

The New York City region is ideal for this purpose as it encompasses natural areas with a wide variety of habitats, including seashore, outer and inner coastal plain, and rocky New England upland. New York City alone is home to some 1200 plant species, both native and exotic, with overlapping ranges from Canada to Central America. Thus it has interest far outside the City’s boundaries.

For instance red maple (Acer rubrum), which is a common forest tree, is native from Newfoundland to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas. Boxelder (Acer negundo) […]