Visiting New Hampshire's Biodiversity


Moose Brook State Park: Rich and Semi-Rich Mesic Forests



Description: Trail through a small patch of rich mesic forest community. Dominant tree species are Acer saccharum (sugar maple) and Fraxinus americana (white ash), with subdominant Tilia americana (basswood) and Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch) also present. A total of 67 vascular plant species occur in the rich mesic forest, with characteristic rich forest species such as Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood), Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches), Erythronium americanum (trout lily), Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern), Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern), Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnakefern), Osmorhiza claytonii (Clayton's sweet cicely), Actaea rubra (red baneberry), and Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry). This assemblage of plants grows almost exclusively in enriched soil conditions.

This tiny "island" of rich mesic forest is surrounded by a larger stand of semi-rich mesic sugar maple forest, a similar natural community which harbors many of the same species (though with fewer rich site indicators). Other areas of the forest in the park, some of which you will pass through to reach the rich mesic forest patch, are actively managed.


Directions: From Gorham, go west on Rte. 2 and follow signs to Moose Brook State Park. Turn right on Jimtown Road. Park either at the visitors center / park headquarters or in the first picnic parking lot on the right once you enter the park. The rich mesic forest is located at approximately 1,500 ft. elevation and can be reached by hiking about a mile up the Berry Farm Rd (dirt) and turning left at the second sign for the "CCC Perimeter Trail", near the Park's northern/upper boundary. You will know you have gone too far up if the dirt road levels out and you arrive at an open beaver pond/meadow after a curve to the right.

Landowner: State of NH – DRED, Division of Parks & Recreation

Images (hold mouse over image for caption)

Rich mesic forest at Moose Brook State Park (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Actaea rubra (red baneberry) in fruit at Moose Brook State Park (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Impatiens capensis (spotted touch-me-not) in flower at Moose Brook State Park (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern), an indicator species of the rich mesic forest community (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  Trail through rich mesic forest community at Moose Brook State Park (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Entrance sign at Moose Brook State Park visitors center (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Rich mesic forest at Moose Brook State Park site map (click to link to larger pdf)

Link: http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/moose-brook-state-park.aspx

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