This forest occurs on moist, well drained (not soggy) soils and cover about 25% of Lewisboro on lower and mid-slope elevations. Good examples are found at the Brownell Preserve where sugar maples are tapped to make maple syrup. Sugar maple, red maple and beech trees are dominant. Other trees include white ash, black birch, black cherry, basswood and, in very moist areas, tulip trees.
The understory is usually made up of smaller sugar maple and beech saplings, hornbeam (ironwood), and sassafras trees. Witch hazel is a common shrub.
Soil is moist and has New York, lady and and interrupted ferns growing beneath the trees and, in sunlit openings, hay-scented fern. The shaded, moist and less acidic soil here favors many spring ephemeral wildflowers including trout lily, trillium, toothwart and bloodroot, especially in places where deer do not commonly browse. Other plants include black cohosh, snakeroot, Solomon’s seal and violets along with beech drops near beech trees.
Birds found in this habitat include the ovenbird, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, veery and red-eyed vireos. These migrating bird populations have plummeted over the last decades as their habitat here and in their overwintering locations in South and Central America have disappeared.
Did you know?
Road salt harms sugar maples. Many of these beautiful trees were planted along our country roads hundreds of years ago by farmers for their maple syrup.
Which Lewisboro Preserves Have this Habitat?
Why is the Sugar Maple Becoming less Common Here?
Sugar maples are a northern tree and Lewisboro is near its southern limit. They are better adapted to the cooler temperatures found further to the north. Higher temperatures due to climate change are stressing sugar maples and killing them either directly, or indirectly by making them more vulnerable to disease and pests.