Quercus spp. (oaks) were the most abundant trees in the pre-colonial forests of the Hudson Valley. Over the last century, secondary forests have replaced many of the agricultural fields that were established after these forests were cut. Mohonk Preserve's Foothills, New Paltz, NY, includes secondary forest stands ranging in age from about 30 to 100 y. Stands on similar substrates and soils differ not only in age, but also in the factors that influenced forest development at and since field abandonment such as seed sources and herbivory. This study analyzed the composition of 8 stands of various ages to evaluate the possible importance of site-specific differences in these factors. Oaks dominate only one stand, and Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) is the major sapling species in all well-drained stands. We attribute differences in stand composition, particularly the lack of oaks and the prevalence of Sugar Maple, mainly to differences in drainage, seed sources, and extent of deer browse.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1