This morning I spent a few hours measuring in the larger portion of Clove Lakes Park. This southern portion is shaped like an hourglass bent to the west, and a high ridge runs down the western side while on the east it slopes down to an elongated pair of lakes that run the length of the park and continue the waterway of the stream and lake in the previously reported on portion of the park. Along the western and southern portion of the park, on the ridge, is relatively dry forest dominated by oaks, mainly red with some white and in places black being dominant. Hiding in here are some superlative hybrid oaks Kershner wrote about, but I'll have to wait for leaf-out to find those. This is mostly regrowth of less than two centuries, with some inclusion of exotics and a very disturbed understory. There are a couple more vigorous patches near the southern border, but it's on the eastern slope that the forest becomes particularly interesting.
White oak and sweetgum pretty much drop out as one moves north on the eastern slope, and a heavily red-oak forest dominates. The trees here are mostly ~5'cbh, spindly reaching trees. As one approaches the narrow point of the hourglass older trees and more diversity begin to push heights upward. I stopped to measure the first large tulip I encountered and several trees immediately surrounding it.
Continuing further up the trail, red oak continued to run the show. Measuring mostly trees on the steep slope overlooking the lake, eight exceeded 105', which is exceptional for such a short transect in forests here- I'm used to red oaks averaging closer to 100' and a few maxing out from 105-110. A tall sassafras was also measured.
At nearly the narrow point of the hourglass, however, the slope curves to become mostly north-facing where several trails intersect and the forest suddenly diversifies. I suspect this small area is the longest-undisturbed section of the park, due to the size and diversity of native species, and it's possible that the topography of that section of slope provides richer soils and more moisture. A few tall tulips hold court with an impressive elm and a younger but taller sibling, two hickory species, more red oaks, and the most fantastic beech I've met in NYC so far. This is the densest cluster of tall trees I've measured on Staten Island. At the northern edge of this cluster the forest transitions into a much more disturbed forest with black cherry, red maple, pawlonia, and others- of which I measured a couple. A previous visit with the uineye rangefinder I ended up returning yielded exciting numbers, so I was glad to visit with the old bushnell and get some more solid measurements.
- For illustration's sake I added colored dots- from left to right green is the tall beech, red the tall Pignut, yellow the tallest Bitternut and blue the measured tulip.
Last edited by Erik Danielsen
on Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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