Trees define a forested ecosystem. They are the dominant organisms; meaning, they affect the occurrance of all other organisms, both plant and animal, which occupy a site. Even the presence of fungi and other decomposing organisms is influenced by the trees species. The classification of an ecosystem is based on trees. For example, the predominant community type found in the Nature Center is called a mixed-woods forest which consists of both conifers and broadleaf trees. Although this community type may change over thousands of years, over the shorter term it's relatively consistent and stable.
One of the nice things about trees is they are present throughout all the months of the year. Although they may go through some radical changes between summer and winter, they can always be found .... usually in the same place. The benefit of this is they can be studied no matter what the season is! In fact many trees are more reliably identified by winter characteristics including their bark, twigs and buds.
We encourage you to expand your enjoyment of the Nature Center by visiting it throughout the entire year. Take note of the seasonal differences exhibited by these most impressive and most important group of organisms.
- Key To Identifying the Woody Plants of the Nature Center
- Photo Gallery of Woody Plants
- Glossary of Terms