Honors Colloq HISTORY 112
Honors Colloq HISTORY 112 HISTORY 10
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Date Created: 10/30/15
MOUNT TOBY ECOSYSTEM THE MOUNT TOBY PARTNERSHIP The Mount Toby Partnership is a broadly based group of representatives of government agencies industry private organizations and citizens from the surrounding landscape Any group can join as long as they are committed to the statement of principles that guides the assemblage The agreement itself is a simple document that pledges the member groups work together for the bene t of the people and resources of the Mount Toby ecosystem Although it does not constrain the members or the member organizations to certain decisions and actions within their organizations it does commit them to quotcome to the table over and over againquot as a way of making the best of every situation As such it encourages group solutions made voluntarily and consensually rather than seeking administrative or judicial decisions among contending parties The initial charter of the group is for 10 years 20002010 but the clear intent is that this will become a permanent organizing basis for community planning and action Guiding Principles We seek to create a place to live that meets the needs of ourselves and future residents We seek to do this in a way that is based on community civility common sense rationality and efficiency We accept that naturally evolving ecosystems minimally in uenced by humans were diverse and resilient and that within the framework of competition evolutionary pressures and changing climates these ecosystems were sustainable in a broad sense Moreover we acknowledge that many present ecosystems modified by modern industrial civilizations do not have all these characteristics Indeed we note that much past human impact lies outside the biophysical capability of sustainable ecosystems because human wants have far exceeded needs and the result has been a significant deterioration in many ecosystems Therefore our primary goal is to bring the human social and economic needs into closer agreement with the ecological capabilities to ensure the sustainability of ecological and socioeconomic systems of the Mount Toby ecosystem We pledge ourselves to be guided by the following principles Humans are an integral part of today39s ecosystems and depend on natural ecosystems for survival and welfare ecosystems must be sustained for the longterm wellbeing of humans and other forms of life In ecosystems the potential exists for all biotic and abiotic elements to be present with sufficient redundancy at appropriate spatial and temporal scales across the landscape In other words ecosystems naturally contain redundancies to ensure resiliency following disturbance and stress Across adequately large areas ecosystem processes such as disturbance succession evolution natural extinction recolonization uxes of materials and other stochastic deterministic and chaotic events that characterize the variability found in natural ecosystems should be present and functioning Ecosystems are dynamic entities whose basic patterns and processes were and are shaped and sustained on the landscape not only by natural successional processes but also by natural abiotic disturbances such as re drought and wind Collectively these processes in uence the range of natural variability of ecosystem structure composition and function Human intervention should not impact ecosystem sustainability by destroying or signi cantly degrading components that affect ecosystem capabilities Ecosystem management is intended to allow normal uctuations in populations that could have occurred naturally It should promote biological diversity and provide for habitat complexity and functions necessary for diversity to prosper but it should not be a goal to maintain all present levels of animal r r 39 quot or to ma lull e 39 39 J J The cumulative effects of human in uences including the production of commodities and services should maintain resilient ecosystems capable of returning to the natural range of variability if left alone These principles re ect our underlying assumption that longterm economic and social wellbeing depend on a healthy functioning ecological system Hence managing for ecological sustainability has a preeminent role in the guiding philosophy of Mount Toby The Governor through its Executive Of ce of Environmental Affairs and af liated resource management agencies and the US Fish and Wildlife through its regional director and the Conti National Fish and Widlife Refuge have committed their resources to provide the base operations for the Toby Partnership The Secretary of Environmental Affairs has assigned a regional coordinator the primary task of ensuring easy access to all state government agencies and programs directly through the govemor s office The state Department of Environmental Management DEM has assigned a planner from its central of ce parttime to facilitate activities of the Toby Partnership and Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has assigned a biologist for the next 5 years to help with technical information and activities The US Fish and Wildlife Service has assigned a planner from the regional of ce and a professional resource manager from the Conti Refuge to assist the Partnership for 5 years In addition all other state and federal resource agencies with responsibilities in the Toby ecosystem have pledged the support of their staff and physical resources to help along the way The state39s representatives from the region have taken an intense interest in the Toby Partnership as a unique approach and a possible model for the entire commonwealth Representative Stephen Kulik who has run on the idea of communitybased decisions as best for the country has led a legislative effort to authorize 20000 annually for the work of the Partnership for 5 years Moreover they made the work of the Partnership exempt from the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act FACA and have assigned the US Fish and Wildlife Service as the lead agency for all federal resource management and environmental responsibilities in the ecosystem Planning staff in the Franklin Regional Planning Commission of ce have agreed to work with the Partnership to develop a comprehensive plan In addition the towns of Sunderland and Leverett have added the Partnership to the entities asked to review subdivision rezoning and development applications All signatories to the agreement are automatically members of the Mount Toby Partnership which entitles them to send a representative to all meetings as quotspeaking membersquot They are also voting members if the need arises to hold formal votes The work of the Partnership is carried out by the Community Circle a set of 1015 representatives of member organizations who are endorsed by a majority of the signatories to the agreement The Community Circle does the hard work of the Partnership organizing overseeing making decisions seeking funds and generally ensuring that the principles of the agreement are maintained and enhanced The Toby Community Circle Sunderland Selectboard representative Leverett Selectboard representative Montague Selecboard representative Department of Environmental Management regional planner Division of Fisheries and Wildlife professional biologist University of Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources Conservation The Nature Conservancy Connecticut River Valley Office The Kestrel Trust The Valley Land Fund Cowls Lumber Company US Fish and Wildlife Service Conti Fish and Wildlife Refuge The Mount Toby Association THE MOUNT TOBY ECOSYSTEM The Mt Toby project area encompasses 3837 ha on the edge of the Connecticut River valley in Franklin County Massachusetts in the westcentral part of the state approximately 4249N latitude 7254W longitude approximately 100 km west of Boston 48 km north of Springfield and 10 km north of Amherst The project area includes parts of three towns Sunderland Leverett and Montague although most of the area lies in Sunderland The project area is centered around Mt Toby a prominent 386 m peak and includes the seven major subwatersheds that drain it Mt Toby is unique because it is the largest tract of primary forest land ie land never plowed or pastured always forested in northcentral Massachusetts and perhaps all of east and central Massachusetts The project area is bordered on the west by the Connecticut River on the north and east by the Cranberry Brook and Long Plain Brook subwatershed divides respectively and on the south by Route 116 and Bull Hill Road Several major thoroughfares bisect the project area including Route 47 which parallels the Connecticut River and Route 63 which runs approximately northsouth and separates Sunderland from Leverett Two major divided highways Interstate 91 and Route 2 located within a few miles of the project area make the area easily accessible to a large number of people The physical environment of the project area is quite diverse ranging from lowlying 30 m asl oodplains with deep rich alluvial soils along the Connecticut River to level glacial outwash plains containing deep sand and gravel deposits to steep slopes and deeply incised drainages underlain by glacial tills on a resistant sandstone known as Mt Toby conglomerate The diverse terrain supports a wide range of natural communities including rock cliffs and outcrops transitional northern hardwoodhemlock forest oakdominated forest shrub swamps emergent marshes wooded swamps and vernal pools The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has designated several sites within the project area as priority sites because they represent rare or exemplary natural communities or because they support statelisted threatened or endangered species The climate is characterized as temperate with an average annual precipitation of 112 cm and an average minimum temperature of 750 C in January and maximum of 220 C in July The project area contains a complex mixture of public and privately owned lands used for a variety of purposes The University of Massachusetts owns the largest single parcel comprising roughly 8 of the project area The Department of Environmental Management owns several parcels and together with the University of Massachusetts property these stateowned lands comprise the core of the project area Municipalities through local conservation commissions own scattered parcels Several parcels are owned by various land trusts eg Trustees of Reservations and nongovernmental conservation organizations eg The Nature Conservancy Cowl39s Lumber Company owns and manages a number of parcels in the project area Overall however the vast majority of the area is owned by private individuals Given the diversity of ownerships it is not surprising that the project area contains a diversity of land uses Forests cover almost 80 of the area and are used for a wide variety of functions including timber production wildlife habitat recreation Agricultural uses cropland pasture and nurserys located mainly on the Connecticut River oodplain comprise an additional 8 Sand and gravel deposits associated with the glacial outwash plains on the east side of Mt Toby support a vital mining industry The Warner Brothers Company operates a large mine just south of the project area two small mines operate in the northern portion of the project area Highdensity residential and commercial uses are relatively restricted collectively comprising lt5 and are concentrated in the downtown area of Sunderland Lowdensity rural residential development is widely dispersed around the periphery of Mt Toby The History of Mount Toby In order to fully understand the current ecosystem it is necessary to understand the processes that shaped its development Specifically the current ecosystem structure and function is a direct result of past processes operating over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales These processes continue to shape the current ecosystem In order to sustain desirable ecosystem structures and functions it is necessary to understand how these structures and functions were created and maintained under quotnaturalquot conditions In this section we describe the geological paleoecological and postEuropean settlement land use history of the project area We provide a broad overview of the processes and events occurring throughout the region focusing on Mt Toby when possible Geological history The geologic history of Mt Toby and its surroundings is directly linked to a dynamic process that began more than 500 million years ago Over the course of time the land was folded eroded lifted eroded again and then glaciated up to twenty times The resulting landscape in what is now the Connecticut River valley includes the Pelham Dome the Holyoke Range Mount Sugarloaf and Mt Toby among other major landforms Beginning 400 million years ago Devonian Period the bedrock crust of the current Connecticut River valley went through a process of massive compression and uplift as the African continental plate collided with the North American plate creating the supercontinent Pangea The bedrock folded and pushed upward creating high mountains This mountain building episode was followed by an extended period of erosion during the late Paleozoic and early Triassic Periods ultimately leveling the mountains all the way down to a plain Beginning about 200 million years ago Triassic Period Pangea began to break apart into Laurasia North American and Eurasia to the north and Gondwana Africa South America Antarctica Australia and India to the south As Pangea broke apart the North American continent was put under enormous strain and many downfaulted valleys were created as a result Locally the Eastern Border Fault which runs through the Mt Toby project area was created as a result of this process Over the next 85 million years earthquakes increased the elevational offset along the fault line the eastern hills were raised as the valley oor was lowered The estimated maximum vertical offsets range from as much as 35000 ft in Connecticut to approximately 15000 in Massachusetts As the eastern highlands rose they were quickly eroded away by west and southwest owing rivers which deposited deep layers of alluvium on the valley oor These sediments accumulated to depths of up to 6000 ft Today these erosional remnants form much of the sedimentary rock found in the valley and represent the parent material for the Mt Toby conglomerate bedrock This conglomerate material survived millions of years of erosion due to the presence of the mineral Albite which acted to bind the minerals together into a strong erosion resistant sedimentary rock Today the eastern border fault provides an interesting tale of this history because it separates the older metamorphic rocks of the eastern highlands from the much younger sedimentary rocks of the Connecticut River valley Volcanism was also active in the valley during this period Most of the volcanic ows came from faults in the bedrock fissure ows which allowed magma to seep to the surface slowly These lava ows continued sporadically for 25 million years Concurrent and subsequent erosion of the eastern highlands filled in the valley and buried the volcanic deposits Some of these fissure ows are still evident in the valley eg Holyoke Range they are up to 400 ft thick and tilted due to the active fault movements of the valley Roughly 135 million years ago the valley faulting ended as Pangea completed its breakup thus ending the tensional stresses that created the fault in the first place Ultimately the rift zone along the Eastern Border Fault was aborted leaving the Connecticut River valley attached to North America During the Cretaceous Period 14465 millions ago the valley was completely filled in by erosion of the eastern highlands The landscape at this time was mostly worn at by erosion and deposition processes creating what is called a peneplain The most resistant rocks survived this erosional period and form modernday quotmonadnocksquot e g Mount Monadnock and some of the higher mountains in the region eg Green Mountains and White Mountains Most of the modemday landforms were shaped during the Cenozoic Era At this beginning of this period slow meandering streams made there way across the gentle incline of the valley oor However late in this era 10 million years ago there was a major uplifting of the valley several thousand feet in the project area This uplifting increased the erosive power of the streams Ultimately the Deerfield Westfield and Farmington Rivers united via headward cutting of feeder streams into what is now know as the Connecticut River As the larger Connecticut River and its tributaries cut its way down the valley softer materials were easily eroded leaving behind the more resistant rocks such as the volcanic basalts and the more resistant sedimentary materials such as the Mt Toby conglomerate GlaciationThe modemday landforms were affected by multiple glaciations that occurred during the last 25 million years The most recent of the many glacial advances during the period was the Wisconsin Ice Sheet which covered New England with a twomile thick sheet of ice during its peak As this glacier advanced it deposited thick glacial till over most of the landscape Indeed most of Mt Toby is covered by this till As the glacier retreated from its southern most extent 18000 years ago it deposited its terminal load of rock and sediment forming a terminal moraine and creating what is now Long Island Cape Cod and the islands At that time Long Island Sound was Glacial Lake Connecticut Approximately 13700 years ago as the glacier continued to retreat a glacial ice lobe formed a dam out of bouldery till along the glacial outwash plain in Rocky Hill Connecticut This dam created glacial Lake Hitchcock a temporary lake that eventually stretched for some 200 miles north to modemday St Johnsbury Vermont In the early stages of formation Lake Hitchcock was still J to Lake M39 39 quot via the quot1 spillway and water levels were continually changing at this time When the water level declined the two lakes were separated and the New Britain Spillway was formed connecting Glacial Lake Hitchcock to Glacial Lake Connecticut Lake Hitchcock continued to drain here eroding the dam of glacial till until the moraine dam solidified becoming quotincised in bedrockquot This stabilized the water level in the lake for 20003000 years In Green eld MA north of the Mt Toby project area the water level was measured at approximately 300 feet above the current sea level As the glacier continued its retreat glacial streams deposited sand and gravel outwash in alluvial fans In addition streams entering Lake Hitchcock formed deltas and these deposits have supported a vital sand and gravel mining industry within the project area for the past 200 years Fine grain deposits were laid down on the bottom of Lake Hitchcock Specifically layers of coarse sand and silt alternating with layers of very fine clay particles also known as varves represented yearly seasonal deposition of material into the lake from the many rivers and streams that flowed into the lake Coarse material was deposited during warmer months when the lake was relatively free from ice and the winds kept the water in motion When the lake froze in the winter the finer clay particles settled out A scientist by the name of Eamst Antev researched sediment varves all over New England and has estimated Lake Hitchcock to be around 4100 years old There is much controversy over this date According to radiocarbon dating done by Richard Little the lake was formed in 13700 BF and began to drain as early as 12900 BP While researching Glacial Lake Hitchcock Tammy Marie Rittenour discovered a variance in the thickness of varve layers that had a patterned occurrence It is currently believed that these thicker layers have to do with El Ni o Southern Oscillation ENSO cyclical climate events which brought more rain to the area and thus more sediment It was formerly believed that ENSO events were exclusively warm weather events their discovery in the geologic record of this lake is very signi cant to the study of this cyclical global disturbance and its role in the global climate of today It is believed that the lake water was too cold to have supported much life and the varve sediments reveal that little organic matter was present When the lake drained the climate is believed to have been cold and windy With little to no vegetation on the barren lake oor windblown sediment and sand formed active dunes which can still be seen in the landscape today at the southern edge of the project area in the form of vegetated mounds on the oor of the relatively at valley The interface of the topset beds and the forset beds at the glacial river delta sites reveal the lakes prehistoric water levels When sites revealing these topset and forset beds were compared they showed a slight incline to the north indicating that the basin had been tilted It is believed that this is due to isostatic rebound an uplifting of the crust once the incredible weight of the ice sheet no longer rested on the land Geologists date this rebound event as happening 2000 years after the retreat of the glacier which is a relatively lengthy delay in isostatic uplift that is unique to this area This is believed to have been the event that finally drained Glacial Lake Hitchcock Approximately 12000 ago the dam at Rocky Hill was eroded as the lake began to drain As isostatic uplift increased a current began to develop within the mass of water due to the tilt of the basin As the water level continued to lower it eventually reached a depth where most of the southern lake oor was exposed A number of small shortlived basins remained in the northern deeper portions of the lake basin in Massachusetts Vermont and New Hampshire The protoConnecticut River connected these lakes eventually causing them to drain As the river eroded into the lake bottom it formed a gentle gradient to its base level in the ocean Therefore the river became perched on bedrock and till nick points which were resistant to erosion These resistant features prevented further deepening of the river channel and in uenced terrace formation As additional isostatic uplift occurred the river cut further through these resistant features abandoning the current ood plain and incising further into the oor of Lake Hitchcock Currently the Mt Toby landscape re ects the complex geologic and glacial history of the area The dominant landforms are a direct result of the geological processes that created the underlying bedrock but they have been substantially modified and shaped by the actions of repeated glaciation Many of the visible surficial geological features are a direct result of the last glaciation For example large blocks of stranded ice from the last glaciation formed depressions in the landscape known as quotkettle holesquot Many of these depressions subsequently filled with water to form lakes and ponds Cranberry Pond in the project area is a good example of a kettle hole pond In addition the soils of the project area directly re ect the glacial processes that deposited them Together these landforms and abiotic features create the template upon which all plant and animal communities have developed Postglacial palmecological history Vegetation PattemsFollowing the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier the project area was a tundra landscape similar to modemday arctic regions with herbaceous and low shrubtree vegetation As the climate progressively warmed from 10000 to 5000 BP forest vegetation gradually replaced tundra Tree species migrated north from refuge areas not under the Laurentide ice sheet Boreal trees species such as spruce and larch were the first to expand northward approximately 12000 BP followed by red andjack pine and balsam f1r 1 112000 BP hemlock and white pine 1 110000 BP and eventually characteristic northern hardwood species such as birch beech and sugar maple 910000 BP Our current understanding of vegetation change during the period between deglaciation and European settlement is based largely on analysis of lake sediments which contain fossil pollen spores and charcoal The lake sediments are collected using a corer which gathers several meters of material for analysis The collected material is then transferred to a laboratory and measured Loss on ignition testing is conducted by burning the sediments for one hour at 5500 C The organic matter in the sediments will burn completely to carbon dioxide leaving only mineral soil sand silt clay The percentage loss of organic matter gives an indication of past changes in productivity and possible forest type Sediments are also examined using a stereoscope and image analysis software to detect evidence of charcoal The macroscopic charcoal is used for reconstructing past fire dynamics Fires surrounding the lake would cause ash to settle in the bottom of the lake and cluster in the sediment The macroscopic charcoal provides a historic reference of fire disturbance severity and frequency Analysis of the fossil pollen provides a useful means of reconstructing the historic vegetation composition Fossil pollen accumulates on lake bottoms by the same varveforming processes described earlier for lakebottom sediments and is awlessly preserved due to strong resistance to decay particularly in anaerobic conditions The pollen is extracted from the sediment through a multistep process and examined under a microscope for pollen type Fortunately each tree genus has a very characteristic pollen shape and size Identif1ed samples provide a chronological examination of the relative forest type and vegetation dynamics Native American In uencesrAlthough Native American migration patterns remain in dispute scholars today generally divide the span from 12500 BP to the Gregorian calendar year 1600 into four periods the PaleoIndian Period 12500 to 8000 BP the Archaic Period 8000 to 3000 BP the Woodland Period 3000 to 1000 BP and the Late Woodland 1000 BP to 400 BP According to the theory of migration across the Bering Strait the PaleoIndians followed their prey primarily the mammoth bison and elk in nomadic movements across and down the North American continent As the animal supply decreased presumably from overkill and environmental pressures and were pushed southward by glacier activity small bands of hunters were forced to the east and south This migration was an extremely slow process involving many small and tribally varied groups of people Archaeological sites in southwest Pennsylvania and on Long Island suggest the presence of humans in these two areas as far back as 16000 years a site in Goshen New York has evidence of human activity as early as 15000 years ago These data suggest that humans migrated across the Bering Strait more than 40000 years ago although there is scientif1c debate on these dates The most recent glacial advance down the northeastern part of what is now the United States was the Laurentide Ice Sheet or Wisconsin ranging as far south as the Ohio River and as far east as Long Island The coastal New England area was almost completely covered with ice up to 2500 feet thick and as far north as Hartford Connecticut The climate south of the glacier was cool and moist Land was green and well watered and as the ice sheet drove southward animals especially large mammals were driven before it Mammalian species included the woolly mammoth the mastodon the giant beaver native horses wolves bear deer antelope and rabbit An absence of edible plants makes it likely that PaleoIndians were biggame hunters wanderers with an extremely low population density At the close of the Pleistocene Age many mammalian species became extinct By approximately 10000 BP these species no longer existed There is speculation that the advancing ice sheet destroyed the plants on which these great beasts fed A change in the land use occurred ushering in the Archaic Period By 9500 BP the ice sheet had melted along what is now coastal New England The cold tundra environment gave way to a relatively warmer and more humid climate giving rise to conifers such as spruce pine and birch At this time evidence of biggame hunting vanishes The Archaic Period re ects numerous different patterns of migration and settlement The hunterwanderer society gave way to a seminomadic people engaged in an exploratory movement for sites offering seasonal food resources Patterns of migration along the Appalachian Ridge are found in both directions north and south Shared technology and a crude form of trade seems to have evolved During the Early Archaic Period 9500 to 7000 BP the forest environment likely provided enough ora and fauna resources for very small groups of humans perhaps no more than seventy at one time to gather in the warmer weather for communal foodprocuring activities such as fishing and vegetal gathering Food storage techniques were probably undeveloped in the cold months when resources were scarce the humans divided into even smaller groups perhaps no larger than the nuclear family The Middle Archaic Period 7000 to 5500 BP denotes the replacement of coniferous forest with a mixed deciduous forest Edible nuts berries tubers and roots probably became available as well as small game and fowl By the Late Archaic Period 5500 to 3000 BP substantial population increases are noted in coastal areas and inland as far north as the Berkshire region of western Massachusetts Occupation sites and distinct cultural groups increase in number and a marked push toward settlement occurs Almost nothing is known of the settlement patterns and domestic structures over the entire Archaic Period The Woodland settlement system 3000 to 1000 BP is characterized by the increasing significance of small seasonally occupied and specialized village sites Early in the period food procurement was likely reliant upon the hunting and gathering of wild foods with some gardening However in the Late Woodland Period 1000 BP to 400 BP agriculture was a vital part of the woodland people s culture as evidenced by corn planting Northern New England Native Americans had a principally huntergatherer subsistence consequently population densities were relatively low and the impact on their environment was kept to a minimum In addition to hunting and gathering Native Americans of southern New England practiced gardening Grain comprised fifty to sixtyseven percent of their diet Kidney beans squash pumpkin and tobacco were also sown By Autumn the corn was harvested chestnuts groundnuts and wild plants were gathered By October and well into December bear and deer were hunted supplying seventyfive percent of the winter meat Despite the increasing dependence on farming eastern Native Americans tilled less than one percent of the available land their agricultural techniques served to minimize weed invasion pest insects and soil erosion This coupled with shifts between modes of subsistence further reduced impact upon inhabited ecosystems However their presence and habits did in uence the character of their landscape The more dramatic effects on the land were driven by the burning of extensive forest sections one or two times each year Southern New England Native Americans would set fire to piles of wood around the bases of trees in a eld felled trees were then burned Cleared fields were often returned to for eight to ten seasons This continual burning created an area of large widely spaced trees chestnuts oaks and hickories thrived because of their ability to sprout from the roots Trees that did not sprout were at a disadvantage in these fields e g hemlock beech juniper white pine Furthermore forest nutrients were recycled into the soil at a faster rate consequently grasses shrubs and nonwoody plants ourished after a fire Populations of elk deer beaver hare porcupine turkey quail and ruffed grouse important animal species for the Native Americans increased in this landscape Native American burning created forests in many stages of succession a character of New England ecosystems which persisted throughout the Woodland Period and into the present PostEuropean settlement history The Mt Toby landscape has changed several times since the first European settlers arrived in the late 17th Century While there are no studies that specifically examine the project area if done judiciously we can extrapolate the basic changes in land use in the project area from studies of nearby Massachusetts regions Researchers at the Harvard Forest in Petersham have collected extensive data on land use history changes in Massachusetts and written many papers on the subject Foster 1992 Foster et al 1992 Foster 1993 Foster et al 1998 The wellknown Harvard Forest dioramas describe seven periods of different land use in Massachusetts 1 presettlement 2 early agriculture 3 height of agriculture 4 farm abandonment 5 oldfield white pine succession 6 white pine harvest and hardwood succession and 7growth of hardwood forest Because the dioramas were completed in the 1930 s they do not include an important disturbance event in westcentral Massachusetts the 1938 hurricane Since the hurricane there have been new land use changes which lead up to the present This section describes chronologically the land use changes in the Mt Toby project area following the Harvard Forest dioramas and other pertinent sources Much of the information reported herein has been taken from Foster and O39Keefe 2000 it has only been formally cited for quotations Information from other sources has been cited conventionally PreEuropean SettlementWhen the first European settlers arrived in the late 17th Century a mixed forest of pine sugar maple oak and beech greeted them Plant associations were obviously dictated by climate and soil factors maples birch and beech on cooler more moist north and east facing slopes oaks on the drier and warmer south and west facing slopes The forests were mostly old growth although Native Americans had been clearing land for crops and deer habitat Loamy soils large snags and coarse woody debris were typical of the oldgrowth forests Most of Mt Toby proper was forested with eastern hemlock eastern white pine sugar maple American beech red oak white ash and yellow birch typical of a mixed intermediate or transition forest In areas where Native Americans had burned and cleared for crops and hunting areas to attract whitetailed deer which prefer edge habitat white pine usually succeeded after the Native Americans moved on Native Americans did have an in uence on the landscape as their management practices created patches of different seral stages in the landscape DeGraaf and Miller 1996 White pine also invaded abandoned Native American villages dried up beaver ponds and the sandy soils typically found around ponds and lakes Windthrow was the most common disturbance but snow and ice loading pest outbreaks and fire also contributed to opening varioussized gaps in the forest Such gaps allowed less shade tolerant species like paper birch and white pine to get established in the forest Given a climate suited for many deciduous and coniferous trees a variety of soils and regular disturbance through windthrow and fire one would expect quot considerable temporal and spatial variation in the mixture and distribution of species and the pattern of vegetationquot Foster and O Keefe 2000 p 4 Elsewhere in the project area the main in uence on species composition was the Connecticut River which has oodplains on the western border of the project area American elm and sycamore would have been the dominant tree species in the oodplain accompanied by native willows and poplars the latter two more common closer to the river itself Early Subsistence FarmingWhen they arrived early settlers began clearing forest for their homes and small scale agriculture fields Plots for homes were carefully chosen to maximize solar heating to warm the house in winter and sunlight for crops in the summer The forest was beginning to be cleared by settlers for farms and individual farmers cleared one to three acres annually through cutting girdling and burning of trees Wood had little value other than for fuel and local construction Foster 1993 Settlers found the local land rocky and clearing for agriculture was tedious Because of scant trade most settlers produced goods only for their families Of the cleared land much was left as pasture approximately twothirds and the rest was used for crops Rocks excavated during tillage operations were used to build stone walls delineating fields and property borders Logs from felled trees were also used to make fences As trees were felled the stumps were left intact allowing hardwoods notably American chestnut to resprout The upland forest consisted of mixed hardwoods with occasional white pines and hemlocks The majority of the hardwoods were oaks and chestnut Roads were scarce and in poor condition area residents however did engage in trade of labor services and goods Garrison 1987 Height of Agricultural DevelopmentThe first third of the 19th Century represented the height of agriculture in New England when 6090 of the land had been cleared It is important to remember however that this was not the case with much of the Mt Toby project area landscape While agriculture was prevalent in the lower elevation areas along the northern edge of Mt Toby and in the oodplain of the Connecticut River the higher elevation areas with rocky outcroppings and steep slopes were not converted to fields or pasture Around 1830 Massachusetts was almost completely cleared for agriculture The Massachusetts landscape has not experienced the same extent of land cleared for farming since this time Larger farms and an intricate system of connecting and feeder roads replaced the preceding agricultural landscape of small farms and few roads Raup 1966 As a result of the improved transportation network trade ourished whereas previously it had been minimal Instead of subsistence farming farmers narrowed their focus to a few select cash crops tobacco for example and sold the crops for a profit The specialization in perishable goods beef cheese and butter as well as bulky items such as hay firewood and potash involved the increasing use of market persons and drovers and fostering development of a cash economy Pabts 1941 Baker and Patterson 1986 Foster 1993 The Georgian architecture indicative of the time highlighted a growing af uence among farmers and re ected their intention to stay on the land well into the future However prosperity eventually waned the upshot of several events Farm Abandonment Mid19th Centu Several important factors led to farm abandonment by many New England farmers In 1820 the Erie Canal opened facilitating travel to the Ohio River Valley In the 1840 s the country39s railroad network vastly expanded opening up areas previously accessed only with difficulty These major transportation boons coupled with the federal govemment s encouragement of westward expansion through land grants eg Homestead Act of 1862 succeeded in luring farming away from New England The rich mollisols of the Ohio River Valley and further west were more conducive to agriculture because of their less acidic and less rocky nature compared to New England39s soils Brady 1990 Furthermore the Civil War compelled young New England men to leave and fight for the Union reducing the number of farmers in the region As a result of these factors much of the farmland across New England gradually returned to forest With easily dispersed seeds white pine quickly reclaimed abandoned farm fields in Massachusetts Previously tilled soil and abundant sunlight allowed the white pines to grow quickly in the abandoned fields creating dense evenaged stands Further in uencing white pine39s dominance in old agricultural fields was preferential mammalian herbivory of hardwoods like maple oak birch and chestnut The diversity of habitat encouraged a commensurate diversity of fauna previously not common in the area Apple orchards herbs shrubs and seedlings left over from settlement provided forage for cottontail rabbits bobolinks and meadowlarks ate seeds and insects associated with the old fields Rodents like whitefooted mouse and chipmunk found stone walls that had delineated fields and property borders useful foraging and nesting sites Otters muskrats ducks and wading birds utilized ponds formed when settlers had dammed streams for power The increase in wildlife diversity would be apparent in appropriate locations within the project area but it is important to recall that Mt Toby is the largest tract of primary forest in Central Massachusetts This means that much of the project area was never used for agriculture and its wildlife communities would therefore not have changed in as great a degree as areas that were intensively farmed and then abandoned In the Mt Toby project area however current 1997 land use data show that agriculture is still prominent in the Connecticut River Valley This occurs because longterm oods and glacial activity have deposited rich alluvial soils along the river The western fringe of the project area contains such soils and remained under plow after farm abandonment Expediting the push westward for farming the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800 s began concentrating populations in the Northeast into urban areas to work in factories and mills Cities like Spring eld and Tumer s Falls attracted former farmers who did not move west but could no longer compete with farmers in the Midwest During this time hardwoods were still being harvested for timber and fuel Although abundant white pine was not harvested for fuel because of its high resin content which could cause chimney frres Oldfield White Pine HarvestWhen the harvest of white pine began in the late 19th Century saw mills found use for middle aged trees where prior logging had been mostly of oldgrowth trees Middleaged trees contained more knots than oldgrowth trees making them less useful for structural timber A changing nation however found use for the otherwise less valuable middleaged trees As noted earlier the burgeoning national transportation network expedited national commerce Transportation of material required containers and knotty white pine was the answer The primary use for white pine became boxes to ship goods and produce Middleaged white pine was light cheap and readily available ideal for boxes Portable saw mills sprouted up throughout Central New England as white pines were harvested loaded on sleds and pulled to the mills with horses Large clearcuts supported an average annual yield of between 25000 and 50000 board feet BF per acre This brought about 10 per thousand BF Once an area was clearcut the saw mill was moved to a new location where the operation started anew Between 1890 and 1920 about 15 million BF of secondgrth white pine was harvested accruing 400 million in Central New England Foster and O Keefe 2000 During this time of intense harvest little thought was given to the future production potential of white pine in particular or the forest in general Raup 1966 Hardwood Succession and Growth of Hardwood ForestsIn the second decade of the 20th Century the supply of white pine started to dwindle As a result of the intense white pine harvest of the previous three decades the hardwood understory that had been growing in the shade of the white pines began to replace the less shade tolerant pines Primary species were red oak American chestnut black birch and red maple Shade intolerant hardwoods like gray and paper birch pin cherry and poplars were present in more open locations but once the canopy closed these trees died off In the white pine clearcuts where the hardwood understory had not arisen or had been damaged during harvesting the pioneer species noted above were very common Forest diversity was high during this period as shade tolerant hardwoods grew pioneer hardwoods replaced white pine fields and the last remaining white pine fields remained The diversity of forest types created a more natural appearance in the landscape as opposed to the plantationlike appearance of oldfield white pine stands Raup 1966 Most of the hardwoods regenerated from stump sprouts red oak and American chestnut became dominant in the overstory However chestnut blight eradicated chestnut from the landscape in the first half of the 20th Century Beech bark disease also significantly reduced American beech stands leaving red oak as the dominant hardwood The variety of species age classes and sizes created a structurally diverse landscape and attracted presettlement forest wildlife like bobcats bears and fishers The 1938 HurricaneIn the Northeast hurricanes serve as a major natural disturbance factor Depending on their force they can cause a range of damage from blowdown of individual trees to massive blowdowns of broad forest areas In so doing they create forest gaps of varying sizes Interestingly the amount of hurricane damage is highly sensitive to historical changes in vegetation across the landscape This results because the spatial patterns of wind damage from hurricanes is controlled by vegetation height as well as forest stand composition Certain tree species are more susceptible to damage as are certain height classes Foster and Boose 1992 The Mt Toby project area has been impacted by four recorded hurricanes that produced significant damage Heavy blowdown occurred immediately to the east of the Mt Toby project area during a hurricane in 1815 On September 2 1938 a category 5 hurricane devastated the area As a result of the storm 7 million cubic meters of New England trees were blown down The amount of timber blown down during the storm was considerably more than blown down from previous storms of similar magnitude The primary reason for this phenomenon was the prominence of white pine which still existed in plantation form on abandoned farm fields on the landscape Since hardwoods were still mostly polesized they were less likely to sustain damage White pines of medium size and in isolated stands were considerably more susceptible to windthrow since there was a greater perimeter exposed to the wind White pine tends to be shallowrooted and in the fields it grew tall making it mechanically less stable Foster and O39Keefe 2000 Data show that white pine was almost completely removed from the westcentral Massachusetts landscape hemlock was significantly reduced but hardwood species were not as affected Foster and Boose 1995 On the Mt Toby landscape white pine suffered similar damage while only about onehalf the hemlock was blown down Much of the white pine in the project area occurred on the northern slope where glacial outwash had made agriculture possible When the fields were abandoned white pine invaded and was subsequently blown down during the hurricane M Kelty pers comm Most of the damage occurred on the eastern side of the mountain because the storm tracked just west of the mountain proper sparing the west slope Mount Toby Landscape post1938 Hurrican Since the devastating hurricane of 1938 the New England landscape including the Mt Toby project area has recovered to its present condition Across New England forests have outgrown losses from cutting and natural disturbance As a result the present forest is maturing and consists of two dominant age classes 1 140160 year old trees regenerated after farm abandonment and 2 60 year old trees regenerated after the 1938 hurricane Several other modern phenomena have affected the Mt Toby landscape since the 1938 hurricane including a variety of natural and anthropogenic disturbances These disturbance processes shape the current and future landscape but operate on a landscape that has been heavily impacted by past natural and anthropogenic activities Ultimately the structure composition and function of the future Mt Toby landscape is intimately tied to the legacy of the past events The Ecological Environment Disturbance and Succession Processes The Mt Toby landscape has undergone dramatic changes since the retreat of the last glaciation due to a variety of natural and anthropogenic agents Indeed both natural and anthropogenic disturbances have played a major role in shaping the current landscape and they continue to operate to affect landscape change In this section we review the major disturbances that affect the ecological and socioeconomic capabilities of the landscape Some of these are natural disturbances that in uence the range of natural variability in ecosystem structure composition and function These must be understood if the ecological capabilities of the system are to be sustained Other disturbances are either anthropogenic in origin or an indirect consequence of anthropogenic activities and may represent threats to the ecological sustainability of the landscape MrPerhaps the most ubiquitous and in uential natural disturbance affecting the Mt Toby landscape is windstorms Several recorded major hurricanes and windstorms have occurred in the region over the past 400 years The most recent and welldocumented was the hurricane of 1938 This storm brought 15735 cm of rain and had winds over 200kmhr More than 60 trillion board feet of timber were destroyed from New Hampshire to Rhode Island At the Harvard Forest more than 70 of the standing volume of timber was blown down Foster 1988 As noted previously the current forest landscape bears strong evidence of the 1938 storm as it drastically changed the forest composition and structure Storms of similar magnitude were recorded in 1635 and 1815 and are estimated to occur every 150 years Wind has a dramatic impact on successional species composition since it promotes growth of a shade tolerant understory Studies conducted by Harvard Forest at the species stand and landscape levels have suggested that susceptibility to windthrow is largely determined by canopy position Fastgrowing dominant species like Pinus strobus and Betula papyrifera in the overstory are far more likely to be affected by wind than lower canopy layers consisting of slowergrowing tolerant species like Acer rubrum Quercus alba Carya spp and Tsuga J 39 In r39 39 39 quot39 events such as the hurricane of 1938 uprooting appears to be the predominant form of damage This is most likely due to the heavy precipitation that typically accompanies the storm which in turn saturates the soil and decreases root stability Damage to forest stands appears to increase with stand age and height and decrease with stem density mrFire is a natural disturbance process in virtually all ecosystems and it can play a crucial role in the health of certain firedependent ecosystems In New England natural fires are relatively uncommon and they do not appear to have played a vital role in the development of presentday forests in the Mt Toby landscape Humancaused fires in contrast have had a much larger in uence on the development of presentday forests Although we do not have sitespecific data on humancaused fires in the Mt Toby landscape we can draw some general conclusions about the role of such fires from documented occurrences throughout the region Patterson and Backman 1988 Forest fires most often occur in coniferous eg white pine sprucefir and mixed coniferoushardwood e g oakpine forests on sandy and xeric soils It is well known that native Americans used frequent lowintensity ground fires to maintain open habitats in order to aid hunting agriculture and travel Consequently it is probably safe to assume that much of the Connecticut River valley and the fringe uplands including the Mt Toby project area was subject to frequent lowintensity burning over a period of several centuries preceding earlier European settlement Early colonists also used re as a mechanism for clearing land for agriculture As a result most of the upland forests during colonial times were dominated by the more fireadapted species ie those that sprout readily after the aboveground tree is killed as well However due to the absence of widespread natural fire and effective suppression of humancaused fires over the past century the presentday forests bear little evidence of past fires This is not universally true throughout the region Many bare rock mountains below 3800 feet in New England eg Mount Monadnock are the result of fire which destroyed organic matter and allowed thin soils to be washed away In the contemporary landscape prescribed fires are implemented on a local scale in order to maintain early successional stages create bird habitat remove unwanted species and reduce amounts of fuel to prevent a potentially devastating natural fire Patterson and Backman 1988 Thus although prescribed fires are not common they can be important locally FloodsFloods have myriad effects on aquatic and riparian ecosystems Floods can redistribute large quantities of sediment and organic matter including coarse woody debris thereby altering the morphology of stream and river channels Locally this can damage fish spawning habitats and displace invertebrate populations On the other hand oods play a critical role in the maintenance of oodplain riparian ecosystems by periodically depositing sediment and nutrients Overall oods are a natural process in riverine ecosystems and play a key role in maintaining the dynamic behavior of these system The impact of oods on the structure and function of aquatic and riparian ecosystems has been dramatically altered by human activities Specifically the regulation of water ow along major rivers such as the Connecticut has dramatically altered the ow regime of the river and effectively eliminated the occurrence of major oods As a result oodplain riparian forests are now largely a remnant J t of a once 391 J A natural quot y In addition the impacts of oods have been exacerbated by human manipulation of riparian vegetation Removal of trees along river banks has reduced the stability of banks and accelerated erosional processes eg soil loss Finally careless use of industrial and agricultural pollutants in oodplain areas has resulted in a deterioration of water quality as these pollutants are carried into water bodies by ood waters The Mt Toby landscape has experienced periodic ooding of the Connecticut River The largest recorded ood occurred in March 1936 following a major rainonsnow event ie heavy rain on deep snow pack Peak ow in Montague was 236000 cfs with a peak stage of 492 feet above sea level The ood led to increased sediment deposition in the Connecticut River bed and associated oodplains and had significant local impacts on channel morphology httpwwwnwsnoaagovernerfchistoricalmarl936htm Ice StormsIce storms are common disturbances in the eastern United States Major ice storms seem to occur approximately once every five to ten years Some tree species seem to have a higher susceptibility to ice damage For example trees with needles seem to suffer more damage because the needles create greater surface area Boemer et al 1988 Although there is ample evidence of the impact of past ice storms in the Mt Toby landscape the visible impacts are from the last major ice storm in 1998 This storm hit during early spring when the soils especially those in lowlying areas adjacent to surface waters were saturated with water As a result many trees fell along streams and wetlands resulting in the input of large amounts of coarse woody debris Local bank erosion was evident as well and may have reduced habitat quality for brook trout which need rocky substrate in order to spawn However over time the coarse woody debris will create pools offer shelter and provide a source of nutrients and thereby increase the productivity of the system In the uplands the patches of downed trees created openings and available space for new trees to grow thereby accelerating the gapphase regeneration process characteristic of older forests in this region Insects and Disease7Although native insect and disease outbreaks have certainly in uenced presentday forests exotic insects and diseases have had a much more dramatic impact on vegetation over the past century Globalization has facilitated the introduction and spread of exotic insect pests and diseases throughout North America Exotic pests have caused severe damage to ecosystems across the United States Due to their exotic nature they have no natural enemies or controls in a foreign ecosystem Though often impractical arti cial control measures are often required since native predators andor parasites are usually insufficient Management techniques sometimes involve chemical agents which often create more ecological damage Some chemical agents are specific to a family of insects or pathogens however some chemicals indiscriminately kill many different types of organisms including native and beneficial species As the number and variety of exotic pests continue to increase managers must decide how best to eliminate the invading species while retaining native populations Managers have the task of finding the best solution given all options which could involve leaving the exotics as they presently exist In the Mt Toby project area there are several notable exotic insects and diseases including hemlock woolly adelgid gypsy moth Dutch Elm disease DED beech bark scale hemlock loopers spruce budworm and hemlock borer USDA 1997 Unfortunately there are no studies that look at the effects of these pests on the Mt Toby landscape in particular but it is not inappropriate to infer general conclusions about their effects on the Mt Toby landscape Hemlock woolly adelgid HWA is arguably the pest of most concern presently given the nature of the Mt Toby landscape Introduced to the United States in 1927 form the Orient this pest is common from the Smoky Mountains through much of Massachusetts and has had devastating impacts eastern hemlock forests HWA is also found in the Pacific Northwest but it has not caused as much damage since the western hemlock species Tsuga heterophylla is more resistant to the insect Johnson and Lyon 1988 HWA is an aphidlike insect that sucks sap from twigs of the eastern hemlock causing severe needle loss bud mortality and branch and tree mortality within four years HWA has been found across much of the state including several locations on Mt Tom in Springfield and on the University of Massachusetts campus and is suspected to exist within parts of the Mt Toby project area Beechhemlock forests of Pennsylvania have experienced virtually a complete removal of all hemlock stands M McClure pers comm From the years 19841994 in a 7700ha study area in New Jersey 44 of the hemlocks had experienced moderate to severe defoliation and 9 had died Royle and Lathrop 1997 Similarly hemlocks in Connecticut have experienced up to 99 mortality in the southern portion of the state There are currently very few hemlock trees in Connecticut without woolly adelgid infestation Hemlocks are extremely important to forest ecosystems in New England speci cally to the Mt Toby project area therefore the HWA has the potential to have profound impacts Hemlocks provide distinct microclimates soil conditions and habitat for animal species and provide a valuable source of timber for humans Orwig and Foster 1998 Specifically the hemlock decline in southern New England measured at a site in Connecticut has been associated with increased light to understory and increased seedling regeneration Orwig and Foster 1998 especially black birch and exotics such as Ailanthus treeofheaven Orwig and Foster 1998 The loss of hemlock has also increased the potential for nitrogen leaching from sites where hemlocks have declined Current research is investigating the potential effects of loss of hemlock from the forest on breeding birds J Garrett pers comm Current research is investigating the possibility of introducing ladybeetles from the Orient which are the native predators of HWA McClure 1995 Sasaji and McClure 1997 This potential solution raises additional concerns regarding the complications due to introducing another exotic species and the lack of understanding of how it would affect native beetles their habitat niches and food sources The gypsy moth was rst introduced to North America in Boston in 1869 in an attempt to create a silk industry Gypsy moths escaped captivity and spread rapidly across New England The species has experienced many eruptions over the past century and has become a major forest defoliator In 1981 an enormous outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated much of the hardwood forests across the regionMt Toby was no exception Interestingly oak defoliation and dieback during the 1981 outbreak led to substantial increase in black birch regeneration in part of the Quabbin watershed T KykerSnowman pers comm Gypsy moths do the most damage in their caterpillar stage when they feed on several tree species Oaks Quercus sp especially the white oak group are the preferred forage species although secondary species such as all other deciduous trees are also readily consumed During years of large population outbreaks the caterpillars consume normally unpalatable foliage like pine and hemlock Johnson and Lyon 1988 Extensive loss of oak dominated forests can adversely impact wildlife species that depend on the acorn mast e g turkey or preferred browse eg whitetailed deer Currently the Asian gypsy moth is the highest priority in terms of biological control This species was introduced on both east and west coasts of North America and is a larger threat because of its diverse diet the female s capability of extended ight and the potential for hybrid vigor USDA 1997 Currently two parasites NPV a virus and an entomopathogenic fungus are keeping populations of gypsy moth below severe outbreak levels The Asian long horned beetle is another exotic insect pest that has the potential to affect the Mt Toby project area in the future Currently the beetle has been found only in metro New York and Chicago regions but it poses a serious risk to eastern hardwood forests including those in Massachusetts USDAFS 2000 The beetle has adopted a large host range of species and it attacks and kills even healthy trees atypical of boring beetles Management strategies prevention measures and control methods have yet to be developed and implemented Chestnut blight brought in on Chinese chestnut from the Orient where it is a native pathogen eliminated American chestnut from the eastern forests during the early 1900 s The blight was first discovered in New York City in 1904 and within fty years had spread throughout the native range of chestnut The fungus girdles stems when they reach a certain size killing the above ground parts of the tree but leaving the roots which in turn allow trees to resprout from stumps As a result chestnut trees continue to resprout living until sapling size when the fungus penetrates the bark Sinclair et al 1987 Since chestnut held a dominant position in the landscape when the blight killed chestnut trees the extent of disturbance was large After European settlement chestnut had resprouted vigorously from stumps during land clearing When white pine was harvested from abandoned farm f1elds chestnut resprouted as well Given the extent of agriculture in the Mt Toby project area chestnut probably was not as prevalent there as it was elsewhere in New England The Connecticut River oodplain as well as the northern slope of Mt Toby however were dominated by agriculture In these areas chestnut was probably more common and likely chestnut blight disturbed these areas more Chestnut was also a valuable wildlife tree used by many mammals and birds which foraged for its seeds Dutch elm disease DED has also been a prominent disturbance force within the New England landscape Dutch elm disease arrived from Europe before 1930 in elm logs infested with European elm bark beetle The beetle vectors the fungus that causes DED the native elm bark beetle also vectors the fungus but not to the same extent Johnson and Lyon 1988 While DED wreaked havoc in urban forests primarily as a result of monoculture plantings of American elms it was less devastating to endemic Massachusetts forests American elm is normally a oodplain tree and as such would likely have been found in abundance along the Connecticut River Valley including the western section of the Mt Toby project area American elm s prevalence has likely been greatly reduced on the Connecticut River oodplain as a result of DED Furthermore it has been documented in a Minnesota oodplain forest that the loss of American elm in conjunction with other disturbance factors has dramatically altered breeding bird communities Canterbury and Blockstein 1997 Planted in monoculture as a street tree the loss of American elm has significantly altered the design and appearance of many New England towns Beech bark disease another introduced exotic pest is a complex organism consisting of both an insect vector and a parasitic fungus Beech scale vectors a species of Nectria fungus that kills the cambium of beech trees A dominant canopy species valued by wildlife for its buds and nuts for forage beech is not as valuable for timber production Its mortality in the Mt Toby project area has likely allowed other canopy dominant trees to increase in growth as well as created gaps to facilitate understory regeneration for more lightdependent species For example in the Allegheny Mountains of Central New York diffuse gaps created by beech mortality allowed sugar maples to increase their radial growth over 30 from sugar maples not in gaps DiGregario et al 1999 Despite gap generation further research done in New Hampshire has found no conclusive evidence to suggest that there is an increase in species diversity plants as a result of beech mortality and the gaps thereby provided Leak and Smith 1996 Invasive PlantsInvasive exotic plant species introduced to the United States have disturbed native natural plant processes in much the same way as exotic diseases and insects Like exotic insects and diseases nonnative plants lack native controls like herbivores and pathogens Several nonnative plants have been introduced deliberately for their vigorous growth potential erosion control visual screening windbreaks and food for wildlife For example Oriental bittersweet a climbing vine has been actively planted by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife on several stateowned management areas The seeds and fruits produced by bittersweet are easily dispersed by birds and wildlife attracted to them by their bright orange color The spread of exotic plants is also attributed to human movement and practices Ornamental trees and shrubs frequently exotic species are regularly planted in residential landscapes in lieu of native species Recreational boating can transfer seeds and organisms to new locations previously not invaded Furthermore roadsides abandoned fields and rightsofway have proved to be suitable habitat for various invasives which thrive in harsher growing conditions Often occurring in large patches invasives outcompete native plants for habitat reducing the biodiversity of natural areas and reducing native species populations Weatherbee et al 1998 By altering the biodiversity and therefore the relationships between native plant and animal species invasives have in some cases altered or completely changed the characteristics of complex food webs ultimately leading to the decline of both native plant and animal species Levine and D39Antonio 1999 Studies of interactions between invasive plants and native organisms from the Galapagos Islands to grasslands in South Africa have shown a significant decrease in native biodiversity when exotic plants invade an ecosystem Mauchamp et al 1998 Samways et al 1996 Invasives successfully outcompete native vegetation quickly colonizing and dominating an area There are many documented exotic invasive plants in the Mt Toby project area including Norway maple Oriental bittersweet autumn olive and Japanese knotweed purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria Phragmites Phragmites australis and Eurasian watermilfoil Myrophyllum spicatum Weatherbee et al 1998 Purple loosestrife listed by both government agencies and The Nature Conservancy as one of the top ten worst invasive species in United States ecosystems was brought to New England in the early 1800s as an ornamental A hardy wetland plant characterized by bright purple ower spikes it has moved rapidly north into Canada south into Virginia and west through the Great Lakes earning its nickname of quotpurple plaguequot Outcompeting native species purple loosestrife creates an impenetrable mat of root and stem systems throughout wetland areas Mature loosestrife propagates vegetatively by root or stem segments Each plant has the capacity to produce millions of seeds which are then dispersed by wind and water Loss of both native species and habitat diversity is a significant threat to wildlife including several rare amphibians and butter ies that depend on wetlands for food and shelter Currently several studies at Cornell University are attempting to find ways of eradicating purple loosestrife One potential biological control involves the use of Eurasian leafeating beetles Weatherbee et al 1998 Phragmites is a tall grass which can reach heights of fifteen feet and sprouts plumelike seed heads Originally a native species of brackish marshes in Massachusetts phragmites has expanded its range and is now a native invasive species frequently occurring on disturbed sites Weatherbee et al 1998 By following along saltladen highway margins and rights of way corridors phragmites spread into adjacent lands choking out native vegetation and reducing habitat to wildlife Several methods have been utilized in an attempt to remove phragmites These methods have met with some success and include ooding during the growing season approximately four months dredging and prescribed burning Often a combination of these approaches have met with the most success Phragmites is found in the Connecticut River oodplain but was not observed during our class eld trips to the project area Eurasian water milfoil is a rooted aquatic vascular plant with a long stem and many nely divided leaves The exact origin and date of Eurasian watermilfoil arrival to the United States has often been confused due to very similar native species M exalbescens and M sibiricum which are considered endemic to North American Aiken and McNeill 1980 The general consensus regarding the milfoil39s arrival is that it was introduced to the United States in the late 1880 s from the emptying of ship ballast Rawls 1978 Aiken et al 1979 Moore 1984 By the mid1980s milfoil had spread to 33 states and 3 Canadian provinces Couch and Nelson 1986 As of 1994 Eurasian watermilfoil can be found in 40 states and 3 provinces and is still spreading Sheldon and Creed 1995 Partnership members have observed Eurasian watermilfoil in Cranberry Pond within the last year It is therefore likely to be present in other aquatic environments within the project area Once established in an aquatic environment common human recreational tools such as boats especially propellers and boat trailers readily transport milfoil to other bodies of water Once introduced into a lake or pond milfoil often quickly becomes the dominant plant Unlike native aquatic plants Eurasian watermilfoil grows into think impenetrable mats leaving no room for other plant species to compete for light Sheldon and Creed 1995 The extensive beds of Eurasian watermilfoil have detrimental impacts on fish plants and invertebrates which depend on native aquatic vegetation Furthermore extensive colonies of the milfoil restrict the use of open water for navigation recreational boating swimming and in some instances fishing Both chemical and physical methods have been implemented in an effort to control the infestations Herbicides plant harvesting lake drawdowns and bottom barriers that exclude light have all been utilized However none of these methods provides longterm controls or eradication Some new methods are currently being researched including the possibility of introducing a quotnatural enemyquot such as the aquatic weevil Eubrychiopsis lecontei This weevil has proven to be effective in pool experiments and is being tested on lake environments Sheldon and Creed 1995 BeaverBeaver was once a common resident of the Connecticut River valley but was extirpated from the region during the 1800 s as a result of over harvesting and habitat loss As the forests recovered during the 19th century beaver eventually reestablished itself in Massachusetts in1928 and subsequently spread throughout most of their original range They are now quite common in the region albeit much less so than during the presettlement period As the population has grown and expanded its distribution the number of beaverhuman con icts has increased Currently beaver are viewed as a nuisance animal in several suburban and agricultural areas causing crop loss cutting of valuable trees and ooding property Langlois 1994 Beavers are widely considered to be a keystone species by many conservationists Through their engineering activities beavers create wetlands which have many irreplaceable values within an ecosystem Beavers are also important contributors to the fur trade generating over 40000 in revenue in Massachusetts annually Langlois 1994 Currently MDFW is managing beaver populations in order to make them available to trappers while at the same time maintaining a population within the carrying capacity of the available suitable habitat in addition to implementing a damagemitigation plan for affected property Langlois 1994 In the Mt Toby project area beavers may play an important role in enhancing landscape diversity Speci cally beaver impoundments are a unique wetland community that adds to the variety of natural communities in the landscape and provide habitats for a wide range of organisms Due to past population control efforts however the beaver population is very scarce within the project area The only known locations of inactive beaver impoundments are in the headwaters of the Cranberry Brook watershed Beaver activity is common in Cranberry Pond itself Overabundant Deeereer populations have expanded over recent years and are now larger than any time in recorded history This overabundance of deer has presented a problem for the natural regeneration of trees in many forested areas of the region In examining the consequences of overabundant deer populations in New England it is important to bear in mind this imbalance is the result of habitat instability brought about by human activities Man has altered the Mt Toby environment largely through agriculture forestry and predator removal During the past two centuries the area was partially cleared for agriculture intensively utilized for forest products and devastated by the 1938 hurricane The combination of these agents created and maintained an open canopy forest that encouraged prolific growth of understory vegetation important as deer forage The greatest impact of overabundant deer populations is on the composition and structure of understory vegetation Through selective and intense browsing of saplings deer populations have significantly altered the understory vegetation in many forests Specifically selective browsing on the most palatable forage species has resulted in a shift in understory composition In areas subject to intensive browsing all tree regeneration has been prevented These effects have potentially longlasting impacts on the successional development of forest stands Agricultur Mount Toby is the largest tract of primary forest in Central Massachusetts The core of the Mt Toby project area was never cleared for subsistence farming by early European settlers and unlike much of New England the core was not transformed into pasture and cropland during the early 1900s Today the central forested area remains relatively intact However the southern and western boundaries of the project sector boast rich loamy Connecticut River oodplain soils which have provided an ideal environment for agricultural and pastoral practices From Native American swidden agriculture to modern mechanized farming these ood plains have been maintained continually as agricultural land Currently these lands support fields of corn tobacco potato cucumber and squash In 1997 pasture and agricultural land comprised approximately ten percent of the landscape in the project area and totaled 250 hectares divided into fifty separate patches These agricultural patches are relatively at and possess fertile soils and a favorable climate The valley experiences approximately 142 days of frostfree temperatures annually and approximately 44 inches of rain Norwood 1998 In economic terms this agriculture supplies not only fruits and vegetables dairy and meat products but a network of employment and income for residents in the Pioneer Valley The elds themselves provide edge habitat for certain plant and animal species and forage area for migratory birds But although farms and farming practices generally bene t the local human population the resultant landscapes can have a serious effect on the surrounding ecosystems A major disturbance associated with clearing land for agricultural and pastoral use is wind damage Windthrow is a common natural disturbance and is often exacerbated by human manipulation of the landscape Areas void of trees afford storms with an opportunity to gain momentum and destroy the forest edge Windthrow can alter soil integrity wind erosion removes the lighter and less dense soil particles such as clays silts and organic matter reducing overall soil productivity The resulting dust may enter suspension and become part of the atmospheric dust load causing decreased visibility and siltation in water areas Other disturbances associate with agriculture include the effects of insecticides fungicides and herbicides The threat of molds exotic weed invasion and large pest invasions instigates the mass application of these substances The various pests and exotic species regularly develop an immunity to such chemical methods building high dose tolerances Such successful pest responses combined with an indiscriminate application of chemicals among both target and nontarget organisms invariably creates imbalances in species populations and reductions in species diversity As in the case of insecticides beneficial predator species are compromised along with the pest species leading to secondary pest outbreaks Additionally many pest controls such as Aldicarb are known to have carcinogenic and mutagenic effects on birds fish bees and earthworms Agricultural practices also animate or spur numerous other ecological disturbances including increased drought conditions runoff irrigation erosion habitat fragmentation loss of biological diversity nonpoint pollution downstream sediment yield homogeneous plant communities salinization of soils nitrification eutrophication and irregular pH levels Farmers are trying to diminish these effects but often land management methods are expensive and difficult to implement Landowners opt to avoid these expenses by dividing the land into small parcels and selling segments to residential builders for a hefty profit The spread of residential development continues to threaten the persistence of agriculturally productive lands For example half of Sunderland s farms went out of business between 1965 and 1968 in 1937 there were sixtyfour dairy farms operating and in 1968 there were six Norwood 1998 The majority of this farm land was sold directly for residential development Residential DevelopmentDespite the several major pest pathogen and pollution problems that have adversely affected the Mt Toby project area s forest cover an apparently greater threat comes from residential development Forested acreage has actually increased by two percent in Massachusetts west of Worcester County since 1985 MADEM 2000 However a Massachusetts Audubon Society MAS report 1999 revealed that development in the southern half of the Connecticut River Valley is dramatically increasing Due primarily to residential expansion ie suburban sprawl the development is causing irreversible harm to natural habitats MAS 1999 Not surprisingly in spite of only 7 population growth in Massachusetts between 1980 and 1996 the number of houses increased 16 and the amount of land developed increased 30 during the same period MAS has suggested that these diverging curves of population growth housing and land development indicate suburban sprawl As noted above one of the foremost areas of sprawl occurrence is in the southern half of the Connecticut River Valley MAS 1999 Development is most easily undertaken in at landscapes bereft of rocky soils the same is true of agriculture If it were not for legislation to protect farmland in the Pioneer Valley R Prokopy pers comm much more of the current agricultural land would likely be under residential development This is evidenced in land use data which shows considerably more development in lowlying areas along the Connecticut River and less development in the steep sloped forested areas In the Mt Toby project area residential development has occurred primarily in Sunderland From the time of European settlement approximately 1620 to the beginning of the early modern period approximately 1915 agriculture was the main land use in the project area Although the region still concentrates on agriculture residential development has significantly increased Pioneer Valley Planning Commission current as of 1998 Today much of the developed space of the Mt Toby project area is in fact characterized as ruralresidential Due to Sunderland s history of agriculture many local residents want to maintain the rural and agricultural character of the region Almost in spite of this desire statistics show that Sunderland has the most rental units per capita than any other municipality in the state of Massachusetts except for Boston Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development The cause is doubtless the proximity to the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College in nearby Amherst The region surrounding Mt Toby is witnessing a boom in new homes and rental properties many students and faculty find housing in these local 39bedroom communities39 Statistics also indicate an in ux of young families from such urban centers as Boston Hartford Springfield and Worcester Growing populations and the residential and commercial development that attends it generally confer pressure on the land and on the community resource base New construction carries with it the need for power lines and paved roads sewage systems trash removal and sources of clean water Water tables become in danger of pollution and overuse with for example increased wells for bathing and cooking washing machines and dish washers Ornamental landscaping and lawns further displace the natural landscape posing an additional stress to biological diversity Utilities and commercial sites also place immediate and often longterm stress on the local ecology In Montague for example Northeast Utilities owns a 2000acre parcel of undeveloped land In the 1970 s a twin nuclear power plant was intended on this site the plant was not built but the company retains plans for some type of power facility There will likely be a direct correspondence between the demand for such a facility and the rise in residential development Perhaps the most grave threat to the water supply and to the overall health of the local ecology may be the extraction of rock for gravel in operations close the Mt Toby project area Privately owned land is becoming fragmented into smaller parcels the size of the average nonindustrial private forest parcel in Massachusetts decreased from 234 ac to 106 ac between 1976 to 1989 Kittredge et al 1996 In the project area between 1971 and 1997 the total area of these land to p 39 39 39 39 A 39 Table 1 similarly the largest patch index increased in lightdensity residential areas particularly from 1985 to 1997 and correspondingly decreased in forest cropland and pasture Table 1 smaller rcc c u rf r the 1 rec ma o o biological d39versity Fragmentation also accelerates the edge density offorest andpasture of in39 39 r rmnland f 39 ao pasture has decreased most Table 1 FRAGSTATS output measuring the extent and configuration offorest cropland pasture and residential patches in the Mt Toby project area IGndsluse85 3130 41 IGndsluse85 I Gndsuusess I Gndsuusess ngitrresldent 107 45 I Gndsuusess Medrresldent Thelandin as lamp to forest over the last 150 years Foster 1995 the impact ofthis conversion is still seen in the composition a 39 l quot 39 l surfaces such 39 39 39 39 39 W 39 succession and 39 39 um 39 4 h residential 39 39 car emissions leaching of u I ii residential and other t Toby increases so will the threat ofsoil compaction erosion littering and noise pollution Wim cu o from the whole thereby creating a suite ofproblems relating to that one issue An increase in the quot 39 wildlife and L I 39 39 4 R0 ere39 39 fd39 gravel quot 39 39 border and traverse the Mt Toby project area There are 135 miles ofdirt roads 286 miles of paved syn cc c i s 4n c gravel roads d 38 miles ofrailroad The immediate consequences ofroad construction are the fragmentation of habitat the reduction of habitat with the removal of trees and understory vegetation and soil compaction and erosion The indirect effects are more various and subtle but no less demonstrative of signi cant ecological disturbance Several highways surround the Mt Toby project area Routes 47 63 116 and Interstate 91 These roads directly alter wildlife behavior and movement patterns within and across the project area Certain animal species exploit resources supported by roads birds may use gravel and pebbles as a digestive aid birds and mammals may consume road salt and utilize the protection of dense roadside vegetation snakes are drawn to the warm asphalt as a source of temperature regulation These offerings come with a cost these opportunists are vulnerable to vehicular traffic Scavengers such as vultures crows and coyotes which feast on road kill are particularly susceptible victims Loss of habitat puts pressure on species such as deer and moose to find new resources The incursion of roads into wild forested areas combined with this added pressure for resources has led to an increase in car accidents and animal deaths Although no species has successfully adapted to the prevalence of roads some species such as deer caught in residential areas have become habituated to them other species such as white footed mice learn to avoid them Roads play a pivotal role in shaping the spatial and genetic dynamics of wildlife populations Even small unpaved roads that prohibit public traffic can alter animal movement perception and interaction When roads fragment a population the remaining smaller groups grow more vulnerable to genetic deterioration random drift environmental catastrophes uctuations in habitat and demographic changes Pollution from roads is varied and extensive an immediate form is noise Noise pollution causes many animals to alter their patterns of movement and predation other more subtle behavior changes may be seen especially in species like songbirds that depend on auditory signals Vehicles also produce toxins and pollutants such as heavy metals C02 and CO all of which have serious cumulative effects The combustion of gasoline and the wear of tires result in lead contamination of roadsides This lead may persist in soils and the food web for detrimentally long spans of time This lead also moves through the food chain from plants to herbivores and omnivores to the carnivores which feed on them These effects cross easily between aquatic and terrestrial pathways Pollutants such as herbicides deicing salts and abrasives are introduced with road maintenance Moreover drainage of salt laden water and sediment from roads into aquatic ecosystems may cause algal blooms and sedimentation both of which can be extremely toxic to fish Besides direct habitat loss roads facilitate the invasion of weeds pests and pathogens and introduce a variety of edge effects Roads themselves preempt wildlife habitat Road construction may expose low nutrient subsoils reduce soil water holding capacity and increase vulnerability to landslides and erosion thus limiting roadside site productivity in the long term There is a claim that increases in grassland edge and other invasive species are beneficial but they are in fact a biological trap and a mortality sink for animal populations Many of these invasive species have detrimental effects on native species as well 39Edge39 was once considered to be favorable since many game species are edgeadapted Edge is now seen as one of the major causes of fragmentation especially when it cuts through an intact forest Roads introduce a narrow influence that varies in wi have little edge effect especially when surrounded by tall forest canopy As roads are improved S Wh of edge habitat typically forest edge is not in a straight line but rather azone of 39dthlvano39 i edenecie rightsofvmy are lined with edge habitat Road construction alters the hydrology ofwatersheds through changes in vwater quantity and quality stream 4 e e of impervious surface in avmtershed resulting in substantial increases in overland ow and s discharges which usually a 439 A en quot quot 39 39 39 39 surrounding land surface it will act as a dam and alter surface water flowpattems restricting the mum at 4 areas A 39 auflo ina smaller area which increases erosion Watertables are also lowered in the vicinity ofaroad It is acommon 39 39 39 394 crossingsby l L 394 alte39 the streams channelized 39 39 439 39 39 39 39 39 loads 39 c annel A 39 1treducesthe stability ofbanks and exacerbates downstream flooding r The and H construction Another clear indicator ofthe my in which human disturbances encourage and A L 39 39 moreihan 39 39 The other piuuuuiuu 4 L primarily ofclay lime and peat Barton 1976 In 1971 the project area contained two mining sites with atotal area of 177 hectares 0046 percent ofthe landscape The trend over time shows an increase in the number and size ofsites In 1997 there were five mining sites with atotal area of1852 hectares 0483 percent ofthe landscape Table 2 Accordingly the total edge and core area also increased Table 2 primary mining sites in the Mount Toby project area as of 1997 Town Owner Location Areaacres Leverett Bryant 34 Long Plain Rd 4564 acres Montague Whitney Warren Whitney Way 7566 acres yodlenslej Stanley Foster Rd 3983 acres Sunderland 1141 Construction Rattlesnake Rd 14625 acres Klaus WB amp AL Reservation Rd 16889 acres ote There is asixth mining site just southwest ofthe project areain the town of Sunderland owned by Warner Bros Construc ion It was not available in the database and thus itwas not depicted on the map When in progress mining eliminates most of the sh and wildlife on the site and in the surrounding area When a mining operation is complete the land remains poor habitat Moreover since vegetative cover is removed before and during the course of mining roads and other facilities are constructed which in turn pollute the ecology of the land The removal of the top soil results in the exposure of acid forming materials Mining thus accelerates the erosion acid mined drainage and the sedimentation which contaminate aquatic systems In fact most of the mining sites as shown on the maps are located adjacent to stream systems such as the Cranberry Pond Brook and Whitmore Brook part of the Connecticut River system both of which represent key habitats for many species of cold water sh A solution to this type of disturbance ie erosion sedimentation is the creation of buffer strips of vegetation along the streams The higher plants overhanging the water provide shade preventing extremely high water temperature and they provide habitat for insects a food source for many aquatic organisms Wider buffer strips provide more erosion control as well Loggi gLogging practices within the Mt Toby project area can be divided into two subpractices direct commercial harvesting and incidental logging which coincides with the dominant human stressors on the environment road construction and agricultural and residential clearing for example Commercial timber harvesting has had a relatively low impact upon the face of the landscape the forest encompasses approximately the same area as presettlement The more serious disturbance occurs in the interplay between logging practices and the human activities which must in the most fundamental sense contract them Such conditional effects of logging are observed in the wake of these activities Cowls timber company est 1741 is the dominant commercial harvester of wood within the Toby bounds The company39s largest contiguous ownership 400593 acres is composed of thirteen contiguous parcels spanning the southeast border between Sunderland and Leverett the largest single parcel of forested land lies in Leverett Additionally Cowls owns six parcels along the eastern boundary of the project area three other parcels of land are owned in the south part of Sunderland Collectively Cowls owns 629022 acres of forested land within the Mt Toby project area The Cowls timber company employs harvesting methods typical of the region They selectively cut a mixture of pine oak and hemlock A major criticism put forth by some forest managers and wildlife biologists is that this practice does not create early successional vegetation which may be vital for species habitat and forest regeneration Although Cowls manages their land for a steady supply of wood products smaller harvesters particularly private land owners selectively 39highgrade That is they cut down individual valuable trees eg white pine cherries and oaks for profit After highgrading subcanopy shadetolerant trees eg beeches birches and hemlocks fill in the gap Within five years the light on the forest oor typically has returned to a preharvest state Selective harvesting effectively inhibits the regeneration of the more shadeintolerant trees of higher commercial value Consequently the populations of white pine cherries and oaks have decreased while those of shade tolerant species such as red maple and black birch have risen In effect selective cutting has diminished the diversity of tree species without modifying the age of the forest within the study area Kelty personal communication Minimal logging occurred in the two decades following the 1938 hurricane partly because of the demand for salvage logging and to a lesser extent because of the lack of harvestable material But in the 1970 s and 1980 s timber management accelerated as the forest aged this coincided with the expansion of residential development Currently the study area is defined as mature forests bordering on residential areas NonPoint Source PollutionrNonpoint source pollution NPS originates from diffuse sources and is a result of a variety of everyday activities NPS pollution results from rainfall or snowmelt moving over or through the ground and carries both natural and artificial pollutants which ultimately accumulate in rivers lakes and wetlands Several NPS pollutants likely impact the Mt Toby project area Agricultural runoff and increased sedimentation from timber harvesting practices are two primary sources Runoff from agricultural fields located along the Connecticut River oodplain and northwest section of the project area likely contains fertilizers herbicides insecticides and animal waste In a study of comfields in Georgia fertilizer runoff was found to be a significant source of nitrates in streams and ponds Torbert et al 1999 All of these pollutants are detrimental to aquatic environments and contribute to water body eutrophication P Barten pers comm Though these pollutants are most likely carried from the project area via the Connecticut River their potential for groundwater accumulation would continue to have adverse effects on parts of the project area Silviculture practices most likely have the greatest NPS pollution impact on the study area Logging practices generate NPS pollution from road construction soil disturbance and compaction from skidding logs These practices increase the potential for soil erosion Overland ow is increased through soil compaction and the disturbed soils ultimately erode into stream channels directly increasing the sedimentation rate of the streams and wetlands Satterlund and Adams 1992 Cranberry Pond according to Dr Ross has gone through an accelerated aging process including eutrophication and denitrification Though the actual cause for this has not been determined anthropogenic processes including potential NPS pollution are some of the hypothesized causes The Mt Toby study area has also been impacted by NPS pollution on smaller scales Atmospheric deposition runoff from roadways and bridges runoff from construction sites and malfunctioning septic systems are the most notable Acidic precipitation resulting primarily from the harmful emissions of cars and coal burning plants in the Ohio River Valley EPA 2000 poses a threat to the streams within the project area as well as Cranberry Pond Natural buffers in the water especially following snow melt in early spring cannot mitigate acidic precipitation resulting in a lowering of the pH of the aquatic environment Runoff from roads often contains road salt as well as small concentrations of oil rubber and other car pollutants Runoff from malfunctioning septic systems can increase nutrient loading into the aquatic environments Satterlund and Adams 1992 The EPA39s most recent 1998 National Water Quality Inventory Report informs Congress of the growing need for federal regulation of NPS pollution Forestry best management practices are currently voluntary in the state of Massachusetts but the state has imposed several strict laws on septic tanks and pesticide use Today Massachusetts requires the ling of timber harvest plans that incorporate state forestry standards The state of Massachusetts also integrates management for sediment and erosion control with broad state planning requirements which are ultimately binding on local governments that are now required to adopt and enforce them EPA 2000 Locally air pollution comes from burning of fossil fuels for automobiles trucks farm equipment trains recreational vehicles and electricity production Other sources of air pollution include chemical plants paper mills and power plants emitting significant amounts of toxic materials in addition to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from fossil fuel combustion Over long periods of time dry cleaners gas stations autobody shops and consumer chemical products combine to emit small amounts of toxic pollutants like ozone sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides The clean air act of 1970 promulgated restrictions on production of sulfur dioxide carbon monoxide nitrogen oxides ozone and particulate matter Amendments to the act have included other toxic air pollutants suspected of having adverse affects on the environment Though superficially Mt Toby does not appear to be suffering from air pollution in time toxin buildup in the atmosphere will begin to show affects with in the project area Ozone is an important concern to the longterm productivity and health of trees Skelly 2000 Other studies have indicated that mountainous and forested ecosystems are more likely to be affected by atmospheric pollution compared to a lower even elevation Lathrop 2000 High levels of pollutants can alter the water carbon and nutrient cycles of the forest and each individual tree McLaughlin 1999 This suggests that the Mt Toby project area would likely be susceptible to longterm air pollution stresses Abiotic resources The Mt Toby landscape contains a complex set of environmental gradients that have strongly in uenced past land use practices and natural community development These same abiotic factors will likely have a strong in uence on future land use practices and the biodiversity this landscape supports In this section we review the major abiotic factors that affect the ecological and socioeconomic capabilities of the landscape including soils water terrain and climate For each factor we also describe the affects on land use patterns and the development and maintenance of natural communities and populations Soileroils have a major in uence on the organisms plant and animal that inhabit a site Soils in the Mt Toby landscape are strongly in uenced by the glacial history In particular there are three major types of surficial deposits The uplands consist largely of glacial till deposited by the physical action of the advancing and retreating glaciers whereas the lowlands consist mostly of sands and gravels deposited as outwash from the retreating glaciers The deepest sand and gravel deposits were formed by deltas associated with glacial streams entering lake Hitcock In addition to these glacial deposits there is a narrow band of alluvial soils associated with the oodplain of the Connecticut River These surficial deposits have been classified into five dominant soil series Hollis Charlton Shapleigh Merrimac and Hadley The following are descriptions of these soil types and the associated land uses and impacts on the Mt Toby area Approximately 50 of Mt Toby soils are from the Hollis series associated with glacial till The four soils denoted HnC HnD HoD and HoF from this group are described as quotveryextremely rocky ne sandy loamquot and differ due to the slope of the land in which they are found These soils are found across a broad array of elevations on Mt Toby and coincide with mainly wooded areas They are best for yielding coniferous woodland plants such as white pine Pinus strobus and hemlock Tsuga canadensis which provide important cover for populous wildlife such as wild turkey and deer but can also support mixed hardwoods as well Both forest types are great habitat for migratory songbirds and woodpeckers Because of the rockiness of the soils the topsoil is not useful for agriculture nor is it suitable for roads or buildings due to the shallow and ledgy bedrock Logging for timber is difficult and dangerous because of the nature of the soil and the erosion that will occur from concentrated water settling on the exposed soil Natural disturbances such as ice and windstorms will cause dead trees to richen the soils unless excessive damage clears the forest HoD and HoF soils represent the rockiest of the Hollis soils HoD is found on slight to moderate slopes while HoF is characteristic of steeper slopes The two also differ in their capacity to hold water HoD soils generally have a lower moistureholding capacity than HoF soils Because of the woodlands these soils support many recreational use activities eg hiking trails and parks are associated with these soil types HnC and HnD soils are less rocky and can support a wider variety of plant communities than the HoF and HoD soils HnC and HnD soils are found at the higher elevations on Mt Toby The plant diversity is richer including both coniferous and hardwood plants as well as herbaceous upland plants HnC is found on slight to moderate slopes and can be used to plant cultivated crops while HnD is found on slopes too steep for agriculture In addition to high elevations HnC soils are found in close proximity to the Connecticut River where local townspeople practice agriculture The glacial tills found in many parts of the mid elevations 400900 ft asl come from the Charlton soil series These soils are described as quotextremely stony fine sandy loamquot The two soil types found in the Mt Toby project area CnB and CnD differ slightly in their slope ranges These soils generally support woodlands and unimproved pasturelands Hardwood tree species and herbaceous upland plants dominate these soils Although suitable for wood products production given the stony soils and relatively steep slopes logging practices may cause surface erosion following vegetation removal Road building and other forms of built development is not recommended because of the slope of the land and the stoniness of the soils Favorable wildlife habitat is provided for wildlife such as deer fisher New England cottontail and many birds Natural disturbances such as ice and wind storms will create much coarse woody debris to richen the soils unless excessive damage clears the forest The Shapleigh soil series dominates the eastern portion Leverett of the Mt Toby project area The two most frequent soil types SmC and SmF are described as quotextremely rocky fine sandy loamquot These soils are very shallow leaving these areas unsuitable for development Although some hardwood tree species grow well on these soils they generally support coniferous forests that do not provide good yields of timber If logging is practiced on these soils skidways have to be constructed so as not to create washouts Consequently these soils have the highest amount of paved road on its surface The Merrimac soil series contains the most numerous soil types MgA MgB MgD MmA MmB and MmC in the Mt Toby project area These soils range from sandy to ne sandy loam and make up the sand and gravels associated with glacial outwash deposits Consequently it is on these soils that the most buildings are located Merrimac soils are best for hardwoods herbaceous plants and grasses which is convenient for landscaping purposes However landscaping adds chemicals to the soils and alters the natural regeneration processes of plants Merrimac soils are also useful agricultural lands but dry up easily forcing the use of irrigation systems Since these soils are more inland of the Connecticut River building an efficient irrigation system is challenging and disruptive to other property and not feasible if the soil is not deep enough Merrimac soils can also be a good source of commercial sand and gravel The Warner Brothers company owns and operates a sand and gravel pit on these soils along route 116 in Sunderland With the many various human disturbances to this soil series natural disturbances such as ice storms wind storms and frost can result in more dramatic damage to the soil Bordering the Connecticut River are the hearty oodplain alluvial soils from the Hadley series characteristic of at lands and streams HbA and HbB soil types described as quotvery fine sandy loamquot are all well suited as cropland because of their high waterholding capacity and slower intake rates than other soils However these soils lack abundant organic matter and therefore require fertilizer and manure to enhance the crop yield as well as an irrigation system Both fertilizer and organic waste may cause toxic runoff to pollute the water of the Connecticut River or small streams running into it Irrigation though not as deleterious as the western portion of the United States disrupts the natural ow of a river These soils are also prone to erosion because of their location along the banks of the Connecticut River and therefore require protection from runoff Consequently the lands in Sunderland with Hadley soil types are used for cropland and pastures WaterrThe Mt Toby project area contains a variety of surface water features including a section of the Connecticut River which forms the western boundary several tributary streams headwatered in the Mt Toby highlands and ponds There are several waterfalls in the area The best examples are located in the northwest portion of the landscape where streams leave the Mt Toby highlands or descend over ledges near the Connecticut River Cranberry Pond located at the northeast base of Mt Toby is the largest of the ponds with a surface area of approximately 28 acres Mt Toby Article untitled 1991 In 1947 and 1972 the pond was drained and reclaimed as a trout pond Morin et al 1980 Public use of the pond is allowed for fishing boating and hunting The Mt Toby landscape contains seven minor watersheds Cranberry Pond Brook drains most of the northeastern and northern slopes of Mt Toby and forms the largest watershed It carries surface water to Cranberry Pond and then ows northwesterly through forest and agricultural fields to the Connecticut River Long Plain Brook drains most of the eastern and southeastern slopes of Mt Toby and forms the second largest watershed It also ows through a mixture of forest wetlands and agriculture before leaving the project area and eventually emptying into the Connecticut River south of the project area In the summer and early fall the surface ow dries up near the Sunderland aquifer The upper section of the brook has a rather sluggish ow with sand and silt bottom beyond this point the ow is more rapid over a uniform sand and ne gravel bottom Organic refuse from the hatchery supports a variety of invertebrates such as sowbugs and blood worms which in turn serve as a food source for the sh Mohawk Brook is a small watershed that drains a portion of Bull Hill in the southern part of the project area It arises from Greene swamp drops in a spectacular waterfall and then ows west through agricultural land Russel Brook Gunn Brook drains most of the northwestern slopes of Mt Toby It arises from a swamp at the northwest base of the peak descends through a narrow wooded ravine and quotconcludes in a lovely twotiered waterfall a drop of 30 feet down femcovered ledges shortly before it enters Chard Pondquot Mt Toby Lab Article 1991 Whitmore Brook The surface waters create numerous lacustrine palustrine and riverine communities that support a wide variety of plant and animal species including several statelisted rare species For example the endangered shortnose sturgeon inhabits certain sections of the Connecticut River and American shad spawns near the mouths of Gunn Brook and Cranberry Pond Brook These aquatic and wetland communities also support a recreational sport shery For example Gunn Brook and Long Plain Brook support native brook trout which attract fisherman Long Plain Brook is stocked with brook brown and rainbow trout by the state and Cranberry Pond has been managed for largemouth bass and trout shing through annual stocking In addition the seeps and springs arising from the base of the long Plain delta providing the pure cold water needed by the state and private sh hatcheries on the west side of East Plum Tree Road These surface waters are also used to irrigate agricultural elds in the Connecticut River valley Ground water represents an important abiotic resource in the project area The long plain delta at the southern end of the Mount Toby highlands is the primary ground water aquifer in this area this geologic formation is a 4 km2 highly permeable glacial sand and gravel delta deposit in both Sunderland and Leverett The delta has a drainage area of about 8 km2 extending from Route 116 northeast into Mount Toby State Forest The major source of recharge to this important aquifer is from direct precipitation and from stream ow in the Long Plain Brook The entire drainage basin for Long Plain Brook functions as a recharge area for the aquifer This watershed includes the east slopes of Mount Toby Roaring Mountain and the east and south slopes of the highlands to the south Many springs and artesian wells occur along its southwest frontal slopes of the Long Plain Delta near Route 116 Wells include residential wells on East Plum Tree Road the Sunderland town well just north of the Long Plain Brook Warner Brother39s gravel pit well the Sunderland State Fish Hatchery well the National Salmon Station wells and the Mohawk well eld The other town well in Sunderland the Ralicki well is also within the Mount Toby study region The two Sunderland town well constitute the whole public water supply for the town of Sunderland Mouth Toby serves as a critical drainage region with aquifers beginning in the study region which in turn provide for public water to the communities of Montague Turners Falls and Lake Pleasant Terraiann a mountainous landscape like the Mt Toby project area the physical terrain has a tremendous impact of the structure and function of the ecosystem The highest point in the project area is Mt Toby at an elevation of 386 In To the southeast of Mt Toby is Roaring Mountain at 364 m followed by Ox hill at 265 m and nally Bull Hill at about 280 m Degrees of slope in the Mt Toby area have a wide range of variation The steepest are 80100 and some areas are greater than 100 these are located directly on mount Toby on the northeast side The majority of the degrees of slope in the area are slopes between 2040 and 4060 on the mountains themselves Extending away from the mountains in lower lying area slopes are 120 and less than 1 On the western side of the project area the majority of the slopes have a west to northwest aspect The central and eastern side of the area is composed of a variety of different aspects mainly facing the east and southeast as well as south and south and southwest The unique terrain of the mount Toby project area has a direct affect on the types and variety of ora and fauna species which inhabit the region The varied terrain also affects the surrounding area composition of soil and vegetation types due to the in uences it has on weather patterns as well as the amounts allowed sunlight ClimaterRegional and local climate interacts with the physical terrain and soils to broadly in uence ecosystem structure and function disturbance regimes and ultimately land use For example agricultural practices are strongly in uenced by climate especially growing season length Historically the success of the agricultural industry in the project area has hinged on a favorable growing season In addition periods of drought and exceptionally wet periods can make practicing agriculture a difficult and risky busy In the Mount Toby area for example there were notable droughts in 1910 and 1964 and exceptional wet periods in the 188039s 1890 s and 1970 s Extreme climatic events have also played a significant role in the history of this landscape For example the hurricane of 1938 produced 1387 inches of rain in a tenday period resulting in heavy ooding erosion and wind damage in the area Evidence of this storm and its effects are still visible on Mt Toby today Perhaps less obvious is how climate in uences recreational use of the landscape Mt Toby attracts recreational activity during all four seasons Hiking mountain biking horseback riding and fishing are popular summer activities whereas snowshoeing skiing snowmobiling and ice fishing are popular in the winter Natural communitiesecosystems The Mt Toby project area contains different landscape elements and landscape ows Landscape elements can be classified according to the patchcorridormatrix model The matrix is the dominant aspect of the landscape patches are discrete areas of a different aspect within the matrix and corridors are discrete linear elements within the matrix For example a landscape might consist of an agricultural matrix with patches of different forest types and stream and road corridors Landscape ows are processes or movements of organisms that connect a landscape For example the movement of water across a landscape and bird migration are landscape ows Landscape elements and ows interact with and in uence one another often in a complicated fashion The complexity of interactions within an ecosystem makes it difficult if not impossible to J J the J t fully Q quot quot assessments and observations lead to an intuitive J 139 ofan J t m but j quot quot analysis is a more powerful tool from which one can draw more rigorous conclusions than simple observation To grapple with ecosystem complexity more effectively scientists have used the keystone concept originally proposed by Paine 1966 as quotkeystone speciesquot Keystone species are species whose significant and diverse impacts on ecosystem function greatly exceed their relative abundance Keystone species are not necessarily dominant ie abundant in an ecosystem yet their removal from the ecosystem would change the overall composition and function of the ecosystem More recently scientists have expanded the keystone concept to include keystone structures processes and ecosystems Their de nitions are analogous to that of a keystone species To help identify keystone ows and elements in the Mt Toby project area we analyzed landscape structure for the area Landscape structure includes the quot spatial relations among component partsquot McGarigal and Marks 1995 namely landscape composition and landscape con guration Landscape composition refers to the different types of patches in the landscape in other words areas of different physical makeup defined at a particular resolution within the landscape Landscape configuration refers to the spatial relations between patches for example the distance between similar patches McGarigal and Marks 1995 In this section we identify landscape elements and ows in the Mt Toby project area and the interactions among them We also describe in greater detail keystone structures and ows for the project area Each of these analyses is undertaken qualitatively and quantitatively using Fragstats software McGarigal and Marks 1995 at an appropriate spatial scale We use a coarsefilter approach to identifying keystone landscape elements in the interest of identifying communities of importance One of our chosen patch types though specifically identifies rare and unique habitats which provides a ne lter component to our analysis Finally we expand the extent of our analysis to examine the project area in the larger context of a regional ecosystem the scale of the Connecticut River watershed Changing the scale is important because as will be demonstrated the keystone status of an element ow or ecosystem can vary as a function of the scale of investigation MatrixThe matrix for the Mt Toby project area is forest Forest covers 80 of the total project area for a total of 3059 ha However corridors fragment the forest as will be described below requiring a careful interpretation of simple metrics like percent area or total area The next most prevalent land cover is agriculture but it only accounts for 9 of the project area The forest matrix interacts with several landscape ows including wildlife water human commodity uses and human noncommodity uses Forested landscapes support several species guilds notably forest interior birds like thrushes tanagers and grosbeaks herptiles like mole salamanders and mammals such as black bears and porcupines Water ows differently in a forest than in other matrices there is less overland ow and more infiltration which results in reduced erosion and sedimentation of streams The organic layer of forest soils filters precipitation resulting in lower particulate transport into streams Forested landscapes support various human commodity and noncommodity uses Timber harvest is the primary human commodity use of the forest noncommodity human uses are recreational including hiking birding and crosscountry skiing From this assessment one can see that the forest matrix a landscape element interacts with landscape ows like water differently from another matrix like a grassland matrix or sand dune matrix CorridorsrCorridors are linear landscape elements defined by their physical form and context as well as their function Corridors are frequently keystone landscape elements For the relatively small total area corridors encompass less than 7 of the project area they significantly in uence several important landscape ows Noteworthy corridors in the Mt Toby project area include the Connecticut River the western boundary two utility rightsofway ROW39s and various roads trails and streams Corridors affect disturbance patterns transportation of people and exotic species plant and animal movement of animals and recreation In the project area windthrow is the primary disturbance factor and windthrow is more common along forest edges than in the forest interior since edge trees are exposed to more direct winds Bakken 1995 Foster and Boose 1995 Corridors create edges increasing windthrow susceptibility along the edge Obviously the corridor must be wide enough to create a canopy break or the affect will not be significant The ROW39s wider roads and the Connecticut River all create sufficient edges likely to increase windthrow during storms Corridors also facilitate transportation Before automobiles the Connecticut River was an important path to move people and goods from the Mt Toby project area especially timber and agricultural products to urban areas Roads serve the same purpose presently especially regarding timber harvesting and access to the forest Within the project area there are about 150 km of roads and trails Roads and trails also allow people to access recreation areas and may facilitate certain forms of recreational activity e g mountain bikes offroad vehicles and snowmobiles In addition to humanrelated transportation corridors facilitate transportation of exotic and invasive species and wildlife It is widely recognized that many insects plants and microorganisms travel via roads and rivers through human assistance Finally many animals use corridors during movements migratory birds frequently follow rivers during migration Gill 1990 brownheaded cowbirds utilize roads and ROW39s to penetrate forest in search of nests to parasitize Chase et a1 2000 and bears prefer trails or ROW39s for movement Hirsch et al 1999 In contrast corridors can sometimes impede 39 J r ows 1 39 quotJ animal The Connecticut River clearly is a major impediment to small nonaquatic animals which cannot cross it to reach new habitat Roads similarly impede animal movement usually through direct mortality roadkill A highprofile example is whitetailed deer mortality in New England carcasses of which are often seen along highways and increasingly suburban roads Annual deer mortality from reported car accidents in Massachusetts averages between 200400 although the actual number is much higher 20004000 J MacDonald pers comm For some organisms a wide ROW might be formidable enough to function as a barrier to movement In the role of an impermeable barrier corridors fragment habitat in this case forest fragmentation described below Two final ways in which corridors affect landscape ows are habitat diversity for flora and fauna and fragmentation Each type of corridor except roads creates habitat oral diversity encouraging faunal diversity Many birds herptiles and mammals prefer edge areas varying as a function of the type of edge river stream or ROW Streams do not necessarily provide significant edge but they do provide habitat variety within the landscape For example Louisiana waterthrush prefers streamside habitats for breeding DeGraaf and Yamasaki 2001 Even though corridors create edge habitat which is useful to some species a more insidious role corridors play is to fragment the landscape Fragmentation partitions the forest matrix into discrete patches Fragstats analysis of the Mt Toby land use coverage shows forest covering 80 of the landscape When transportation coverage is added the analysis reveals a drop in forest cover to 75 A five percent loss in forest cover is relatively insignificant to the matrix status of the forest However the number of forest patches increases 800 and the total edge of forest patches increases 250 when the transportation coverage is added Similarly the largest patch of forest measured as a percentage of the landscape area decreases 84 when fragmentation caused by roads is considered in landscape analysis Corridors also fragment patches notably the priority habitats rare and unique communities Again while the total area of priority habitat decreases less than 1 the number of patches and total edge increase 425 and 210 respectively Contagion of priority habitat also decreases from 99 to 97 a significant drop for the landscape when corridorrelated fragmentation is considered see below for a discussion of the contagion index These figures clearly show how corridors fragment priority habitat patches Less significant changes occur when corridors interact with wetlands we believe this is more a function of the original properties of the wetlands patches relatively small and dispersed around the landscape and laws restricting development near wetlands This basic analysis of landscape composition and landscape configuration alludes to the significant effects of corridors germane to habitat fragmentation Fragmentation of both the matrix and patches occurs as a result of corridors Often the patches created by fragmentation are too small for some organisms to use or the corridors present impassable barriers for organisms Furthermore adverse edge effects like predation and brood parasitism reduce the usefulness of remaining patches McGarigal and Marks 1995 PatchesrPatches form relatively discrete areas within the matrix In the forest matrix of Mt Toby several notable patch types occur We have chosen four distinct patch types for their critical interactions with landscape ows rare and unique communities priority habitat 378 ha 10 of the project area agriculture 350 ha 9 of the project area residential and commercial 238 ha 6 ofthe project area and wetlands 130 ha 3 ofthe project area Patches are obviously a function of the scale of investigation because one can easily delineate dozens of patch types within the Mt Toby project area depending on how fine a grain one chooses For example while the matrix is forest we might differentiate between forest types such as hardwood and softwood At a finer resolution we might differentiate further into northern hardwoods and transition hardwoods There will be subtle in uences at such scales on landscape ows for example some forest interior birds prefer coniferous habitat while others prefer deciduous Since a coverage for priority habitat already exists and since we are interested in more general landscape ows forest wildlife versus grassland wildlife we have decided to complete our analysis at a relatively coarse scale Coarse scale filters for conservation are useful in the sense that they protect important communities that are important for overall biodiversity It is imperative that we recognize though that finer and coarser scales of investigation do exist and in uence landscape ows at other resolutions and extents Like corridors patches also create edges some harsher than others that in uence disturbance windthrow patterns in the project area An historical example of this occurred during the 1938 hurricane when white pine plantations abutting abandoned fields sustained significantly more damage than trees within intact forest although other factors also contributed to the difference Foster and Boose 1995 Agriculture and residential patches create a harsher edge than wetlands since wetlands often sustain hydrophilic trees along their edges The shifting mosaic steadystate theory Bormann and Likens 1979 offers insight into disturbance dynamics in the Mt Toby project area In northern hardwood forests in New England windthrow is the predominant disturbance factor creating small gaps in a patchwork fashion through windthrow of individual trees and small groups of trees Disturbance occurs on a small scale temporally and spatially Occasionally large scale disturbance severe hurricane damage affects a greater spatial extent but this is less frequent Foster and O39Keefe 2000 Windthrow gaps do not signi cantly fragment the landscape since they occur on a small spatial scale Conversely human disturbance through development fragments the landscape significantly Patchcreated edges also fragment the landscape and have the same adverse consequences as described previously for corridors In particular residential and agricultural patches fragment the forest matrix While the largest single patch of forest contains almost 50 of the project area the combined areas of agriculture residential and commercial patches only contain 15 of the project area Furthermore there are almost six times as many of these patches as there are forest patches when not accounting for corridorinduced fragmentation an indication of the patchy nature of the landscape Many agriculture patches however are clustered in the landscape The contagion index for agriculture patches is nearly identical to the contagion index for forest patches 971 and 970 respectively Contagion measures both the interspersion of different patches and dispersion of a given patch on the landscape McGarigal and Marks 1995 It is notable that for the project area small numerical differences in the contagion index on the order of one percentage point re ect more significant actual differences The contagion index for residential patches in fact is almost 2 percentage points smaller meaning that the patches are more widely distributed within the project area than forest patches 951 and 970 respectively It is important to note however that much of the core forest area remains unfragmented by patches instead the corridors are more responsible for fragmenting the forest interior In addition our other chosen patches wetlands and priority habitat tend not to fragment the landscape at our chosen scale of investigation Wetlands have softer edges than agriculture and residential patches priority habitats are overlaid patches that do not necessarily have physical edges different from the existing patch edge Patches also interact with the movement of water on a landscape Each of the chosen patch types except priority habitat in uences water movement and purity Residential areas with greater impervious surface area increase overland ow Septic and sewer systems associated with residential development could affect aquifer quality Both residential and agricultural patches consume more water than the forest matrix through irrigation Agriculture patches tend to increase nutrient quantity in water as overland and stream ow through fields and pasture picks up applied fertilizers and pesticides Tillman 1999 Tilled fields also can increase sedimentation of the Connecticut River through overland ow and stream ow Although agriculture patches do not occupy much of the project area 9 their location and interaction with streams enhances their contribution to nutrient and sediment transport into the Connecticut River Conversely wetlands can serve as water retention and purification centers Silvius et al 2000 Patch types provide habitat diversity which may increase biodiversity within the landscape Agricultural patches may support grassland bird guilds wetlands such as vernal pools provide critical habitat for forest amphibians like mole salamanders rare communities are designated as such because they support rare and unique plant and animal communities residential patches also support a distinct guild of species adapted to that habitat e g American robins and gray squirrels thrive in residential areas Patches within the matrix however do not necessarily provide significant habitat diversity In other words while patches create edges that support edge species the habitat contained within the patches themselves might not be large enough to support species normally associated with the habitat For example while bobolinks and meadowlarks nest in several agriculture patches in the project area the patches are not large enough to sustain breeding higherorder predators commonly associated with grassland habitat like northern harrier and shorteared owl Brian Kane pers obs DeGraaf and Yamasaki 2001 The average size for agriculture patches is only 35 ha 19 ha if accounting for road fragmentation Smaller agriculture patches do not support breeding grassland birds but can provide migration stopover and wintering habitat Brian Kane pers obs Gill 1990 Keystone Landscape ElementsKeystone landscape elements in the Mt Toby project area include roads and ROW s the Connecticut River priority habitat wetlands and residential patches Keystone landscape ows in the Mt Toby project area include water humans and ora and fauna including exotic and invasive species We consider elements and ows as keystones based on their impact positive or negative on the Mt Toby project area The keystone landscape elements signi cantly interact with the keystone landscape ows to the degree that altering any one of them has the potential to alter J quot quotJ the 39 39 39 and quot 39 aspects of the Mt Toby ecosystem r Roads and ROW s are keystone corridors because of their impact fragmenting the landscape matrix and patches and increasing edges in the landscape They also facilitate transportation and movement of people animals plants and invasives Finally they in uence disturbance patterns The Connecticut River is a keystone corridor for reasons described in the section on corridors Additionally it in uences disturbance in another way ooding Flooding is an important disturbance process in the project area even though it does not affect a large portion of the area Floods in uence the soil conditions and plant and animal communities adjacent to the river during catastrophic oods human artifacts on the landscape are also heavily impacted crop and property loss Residential patches increase fragmentation and edge effects as noted above This is arguably their most deleterious role In addition they also adversely affect water quality and quantity alter disturbance patterns and expedite the introduction of invasive and exotic species This occurs because ornamental trees and shrubs are regularly nonnative species and can import exotic pests Priority habitats and wetlands are keystone patches because they provide critical habitat to a wide variety of species many of conservation concern and yet occupy a relatively small percentage of area Fragmentation of the project area through development and humanconstructed corridors can adversely affect these patches because it can successfully isolate populations of plants and animals leading to possible local extirpation Both the priority habitats and wetlands patches are relatively dispersed across the project area Fragstats analysis con rms this with a low mean proximity index MPI seven and eight times less than MP1 for agriculture and residential patches respectively MPI measures the degree of isolation and fragmentation of a given patch type it is a relative index with no units higher numbers indicate less isolation and fragmentation McGarigal and Marks 1995 Some of the priority habitats and all of the wetlands are legally protected to some degree However 378 ha of priority habitats are not within state protected open space limits Regional ContextIf we expand the extent of our investigation the Mt Toby project area takes on a new dimension that of a keystone ecosystem We have created two additional maps illustrating the relative importance of Mt Toby as a function of the scale of investigation Figs l920 The maps were produced from a model used by Lanza 1997 for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service She evaluated the status of 89 neotropical migratory forest bird species to determine which were most in need of conservation Twentyfive of those species were classified as high priority and habitat requirements for these species were identified Overlaying the habitat models for the 25 highestranking species on the Connecticut River Watershed identified priority areas for neotropical forest migratory birds throughout the watershed Lanza 1997 We can use this information as an indication of habitat suitability and degree of fragmentation We created two map extents from Lanza s work one showing the entire Connecticut River Watershed and the other showing a smaller section of which Mt Toby is the focus When the Mt Toby project area is considered in the context of the Connecticut River watershed it blends into the forest matrix rendering it relatively insignificant However when evaluating Mt Toby within the context of the immediate surrounding landscape the project area becomes a patch of relatively unfragmented and therefore highpriority habitat for neotropical migratory bird conservation At this scale the project area is surrounded by developed land unsuitable for neotropical migratory bird breeding The Mt Toby project area can be considered a keystone ecosystem because it provides important wildlife habitat as well as commodity and noncommodity human use within the surrounding regional landscape context It also in uences water quality and quantity and in some ways could be considered a priority habitat keeping with our keystone patches noted above Species Hundreds of plant and animal species inhabit the Mt Toby project area It is not practical to consider the habitat needs of all these species especially since most ofthe species that undoubtedly occupy this landscape e g invertebrates fungi lichens etc are undocumented Instead we identified quotfocal speciesquot for plants and vertebrates Tables 36 Special consideration should be given to all of these species before and after implementation of the plan The concern and special interest for these species is important because as focal species these include important game species pest species threatened and endangered species as well indicator keystone and agship species To illustrate amphibians are an important and dynamic part of biodiversity in wetland ecology Amphibians are also among the best indicators of environmental quality since they are very sensitive to pollution and habitat changes Declines are due to many factors which include loss of habitat pollution and predation Many of these species have low reproductive rates are attracted to roadsides and are captured for pets by humans which make them a difficult conservation challenge Populations of listed plant species are threatened for two main reasons habitat destruction and overcollection Many of these species are also found in rare natural communities on or near Mt Toby such as dry calcareous ledges and talus slope Populations occur infrequently with sparse distribution and may contain few individuals compounding their situation Mass Natural Heritage In addition some species are threatened by excessive shading by maturing forests As Mt Toby is readily accessible for recreation large numbers of people impact the area While not all forest visitors actually remove plants visitation to the area causes other species to be trampled and their habitat to be altered Indeed as for the other species of birds and mammals habitat loss and degradation constitutes the major concern since it has a direct affect on the species status that can range from game and endangered to pest species Table 3 Mammal focal species in the Mt Toby Project Area Status refers to the reason for focal species status G Game P Pest K Keystone Scienti c Name Common Name Status C Castor canadensis Beaver PK Keystone species because it changes and creates habitat for different species At the same time the dams causes ooding and creates con ict with people C am39s latrans Coyote PG Game species and a pest because it increasing numbers creates con icts with people eg pet predation Ursus americanus Black bear G Game species due to it s increasing numbers and potential hazard for people s safety Odocoz39leus virginianus Whitetailed deer GPK Game species because it is increasing in numbers thus it is pest due to con ict with people eg road accidents host lyme disease transmitter It is a keystone herbivore since it strongly in uences the distribution and abundance of other wildlife and plant species Table 4 Bird focal species in the Mt Toby Project Area Status refers to the reason for focal species status SC Special Concern T Threatened E Endangered G Game P Pest Z Exotic introduced F Flagship Scienti c Name n 11 1 1 podiceps Common Name Piedbilled grebe Status Comments State endangered due to loss and alteration of wetland habitats fresh marshes and ponds through draining lling pollution and siltation Branta canadensis Canada goose GP Game bird and nuisance due to it s great abundance The migratory trend is changing from common migrants to residents Anas platyrhynchos Mallard Game bird since it is the most common and widely distributed duck in North America It is both an abundant resident and migrant Aix sponsa Wood duck Game bird since it is a quite abundant species which the current population has been increasing due to maturing trees with caVities and availability of nest boxes Accz39pz39ter cooperz39z39 Cooper s hawk SC Special concern rare and local breeder winter resident that is declining since 1800s due to persecution by farmers because ley prey on chickens Bald eagle F T E Flagship Federally threatened State endangered caused by pesticide poisoning extirpated since the 1950s Introduced through hacking program at Quabbin Reservoir from 1982 1986 since then they are winter resident Bonasa umbellus Ruffed grouse Game Bird that is a fairly common Phasianus colchicus Ringnecked pheasant ZG Game Bird that successfully 39 J J from China in 1881 It is quite common and populations are regularly restocked for hunting in the fall M eleagrz39s gallopavo Wild Turkey Game Bird that is a common resident which population has gone through up and down but since the introduction of wild trapped birds the population has remained robust and is currently Asio ammeus Shorteared owl State endangered due to dramatic declines since 1030s caused by loss of habitat marshes and grasslands 2 Parula americana Northern parula State threatened due to decline of Usnea a lichen sensitive to air pollution and used as nesting material Table 5 Amphibian and Reptile Focal Species in the Local Mount Toby Project Area Status refers to the reason for focal species status SC Special Concern T Threatened E Endangered I Indicator Scienti c Name nmmnn Name Status F Ambystoma Jefferson salamander SC I Declining due to acid je ersonianum precipitation and disturbed habitat Ambystoma laterale Blue Spotted salamander SCI Declining due to same reasons noted above A limiting factor is that since they are female hybrids they need males from other species to reproduce Ambystoma maculatum Spotted salamander SCI Population declining due to acid nrecinitntinn Ambystoma opacum Marbled salamander T I State threatened due to habitat loss disturbance vernal pools which are often under the threat of development Furthermore the buffer zone around the pools is inadequate and does not protect the uplands where they over winter In addition they are under predation pressure by other animals H emz39 dactylz39 um scutatum Fourtoed salamander SCI Declining due to habitat disturbance Gyrinophilus gorghxriticus Northern spring SCI Declining due to habitat disturbance Scaphiopus halbrookz39z39 Eastern spadefoot toad T I State threatened due to habitat disturbance In addition low are reported due to their secretive and nocturnal habits C lemmys guttata Spotted turtle SCI Declining due to habitat degradation since they only inhabit unpolluted waters C lemmys insculpta Wood turtle SCI Declining due to habitat loss Like the above species they are not tolerant of pollution A gkz39 strodon contorm39x Northern copperhead State endangered due to human disturbance 7 eradication A major limiting factor is their behaVior of reusing den sites each year C rotalus horridus Timber rattlesnake State endangered due to human disturbance Table 6 Plants Focal Species in the Local Mount Toby Project Area Status refers to the reason for focal species status SC Special Concern T Threatened E Endangered R Rare Scienti c Name Common Name Status Comments Acer nigrum Black maple SC Rich moist sites with shade or filtered li t Adlumiafungosa Climbing fumitory T Wet or recently burned woods rocky wooded slopes Agectrum hxemale Playroot E Rich deciduous woods Arabis verticillata Green rockcress T Ledges in rocky woods and hills mesicdry soil Asclelpias verticillata Linearleaved milkweed T Dry open situation with exposure Asplem39um ruta Wallrue spleenwort R Dry ledges of dolomitic muraria limestone and con lomerate C allitriche terrestris Terrestrial starwort SC Paths moist ground Clematis verticillarz39s Purple clematis SC Rocky woods ledges 39 soils C orallorhiza Autumn coralroot SC Light soil or rich humus odontorhz39za C rmtogramma stellerz39 Fragile rockbrake T Shaded limestone ledges C Knoglossum boreale Northern wild comfrey SC Rich open woods C yprz39pedz39um arietinum Ram39s head lady39s E Shady hillsides rich swampy slipper woods Cyprz39pedium reginae Showy lady sslipper SC Swamps bogs usually calcareous Diplazz39um Narrow leaved R Rich shady mesic woods talus pycnocarpon sL eenwort slopes Drypteris goldz39ana Goldie s fern E Rich often calcareous woods rocky hillsides Lxcogodium selago Fir clubmoss SC Mountain ledges Panax quinquefolius Ginseng SC Rich shady mesic woods and talus slopes Pellaea atropurpurea Purple cliffbrake E Exposed to shaded calcareous rocks cliffs and ledges Platanthera dilatata Leafy white orchid T Springy woods bogs Poa languida Drooping speargrass E Dry or rocky woods Ophioglossum Adder s tongue fern T Boggy meadows acidic fens vulgatum marsh boarders Sclerz39a m lomerata Tall nutsedge E Banks meadows Sphenoptiolis nitida Shining wedgegrass T Dry or moist rocky woods or hillsides T 39 species 1 Filmy fern SC Not available The Social and Economic Setting Demographics The Mt Toby project area by virtue of its location within three towns and one county is subject to various dynamics of development and urban sprawl which is fueled by population growth a trend consistent across the state The population increase in the project area however is not as great as in Massachusetts In 2000 the population of Sunderland was 3516 with a density of 244 people per every square mile the population of Montague was 8334 with 274 people per square mile while that of Leverett was 1851 with 81 people per square mile Based on the 2000 census the population of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is 6349097 which is a 55 increase from the 1990 population of 6016425 Franklin County which contains the Mt Toby project area and includes the towns of Leverett Montague and Sunderland experienced a population increase of 206 between 1990 70092 and 1999 71535 In 1990 20 ofthe individuals were lt13 years old 10 were 1421 years and 70 were gt22 years old The largest age group in the county was between the ages of 35 and 39 In 1990 Franklin County supported 18351 families and 27640 households Of the 2754 vacant housing units 1247 are used occasionally seasonally or for recreational purposes In 2000 Franklin County supported a predominantly white population 95 African Americans comprised 09 American Indians comprised 03 ethnic Asians comprised 07 and people of mixed race comprised the remaining 16 Since the Mt Toby project area is associated with and affected by the towns within which it is located a local scale examination of population trends is equally important Sunderland which includes the majority of the project area experienced a 35 increase in population between 19901999 Leverett contains only a small portion of the project area but experienced a similar population growth 32 during the same period Conversely Montague the third town within the project area experienced a minor decline 03 Both Franklin County and the Mt Toby project area are classified as rural areas within Massachusetts However the project area contains a pronounced dichotomy between agriculturalforested land uses and residentialbusiness land uses Sunderland which contains the majority of the project area contains four different zones for development These include commercial industrial ruralresidence and village residence Agricultural and forested lands are included in the zone for rural residence MDHCD Urban sprawl has been increasing across the state due to the large number of people moving out of metropolitan cities and setting up residence in rural communities Platt 1996 This migration could potentially have negative effects in the Mt Toby project area due to the rural appeal of the landscape The current economic situations of Green eld north of the project area and Springfield south of the project area have kept urban sprawl somewhat confined An economic boom in those cities would likely increase sprawl in the project area Increase in development within Sunderland has already lead to significant fragmentation of the landscape most specifically along the corridor between the Mt Toby forest matrix and the Connecticut River W Sillin pers comm Sunderland Leverett and Montague have adopted growth management mechanisms to accommodate the steady population growth and increase in residential development Each town however has developed different regulations specific for the needs of the particular town Table 7 As a result the Mt Toby project area could experience an increase in development within one town while under go conservation and protection from development in an adjoining town Since it encompasses the majority of the project area Sunderland is therefore a more significant town to consider when discussing growth management plans Table 7 Growth management plans of the towns surrounding the Mt Toby project area MDHCD 2001 Condominium Control Groundwater Protection Subdivision Control Site Plan Approval Ceiling of new house Development Rate Limit In addition it is important to note that urban sprawl could create con icts between town residents The neighboring town of Hadley recently experienced this con ict regarding proposed development on a mountainside within the Mt Holyoke range A large con ict ensued between Hadley town residents and the development company raising many questions regarding private property rights limitations and possibilities for town control and the value residents derive from the mountain range Although the nal decision was ruled in favor of town residents the proposal for development represents a growing trend of rural areas to be targeted for development even if the only sites left open for development are on a steep mountain side Although it has been noted that population demographics do not play a direct role in in uencing urban sprawl the growth in population and documentation of migration from cities indicates that the Mt Toby project area may in a relatively short time period be dramatically in uenced by residential andor industrial development If population numbers continue to increase and affect urban sprawl the rural areas of the project area will eventually be acquired for development unless provisions are in place to prevent such growth It would be reasonable to conclude that the Mt Toby project area and Sunderland in particular will experience the opportunity for a dramatic shift in land use practices over the next several years Economics The Mount Toby project area has experienced an increasing trend of business and development over the past ten years The town of Sunderland s annual operating budget has been steadily growing over the years Fiscal year 1998 growth was approximately 155 000 FY 1999 was 236 000 FY 2000 was over 3 80 000 A large portion of this growth was attributed to the increasing cost of education provided by the regional schools and this will be examined further below Due to the presence of a significant village business center major farmlands and main transportation routes Rt 116 and Rt 47 Sunderland comprises the majority of the businessdriven economy in the project area Although Sunderland is quite small in terms of its human population it has a diverse representation of businesses and industries including construction consulting services manufacturing farming logging and mining Sunderland is the home to All States Asphalt Inc In Focus business consulting MassSave Inc energy consultants Pres Speakers Phoenix Instruments Inc Hillside Plastics Warner Brothers sand and gravel Mohawk Trout Hatchery and Patterson Farm These business interests tap into many resources within the Mount Toby area Farming forestry and mining directly alter resources from the ecosystem disrupting the natural mosaic of ecological communities and the connectivity among them Agricultural runoff compacted soils water diversion and habitat fragmentation are common effects of these land uses that do not necessarily have immediate consequences but that will alter the ecosystem over time The presence of business and industry also attracts people to the Mount Toby area increasing the road traffic which in turn increases the need for improved roads and parking lots Although these businesses and industries generate profit money must be spent on infrastructure to keep these establishments viable According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue 2000 Sunderland spent 191827 on public highway maintenance in fiscal year 1999 Although this figure is lower than that of both Leverett and Montague the majority of roads in the Mount Toby project area lie in Sunderland The structure of Sunderland s economy can be drawn from the town s land use patterns Agriculture uses comprise 285 of the land while industrial commercial and recreational uses comprise only 06 of the land MDHCD 2001 The residential opportunities within the three towns are increasing due to sprawl from crowded urban centers such as Spring eld Green eld and Amherst This increases the need for convenient stores gas stations restaurants parking lots and driveways thereby benefitting the local economy but potentially adversely affected the health and integrity of the ecosystem The total annual payroll and average annual wages in Leverett Montague and Sunderland have all experienced a net increase over the past ten years DET 2000 The unemployment rates in all three towns have severely decreased as well Sunderland 746 Montague 753 Leverett 732 DET 2000 These statistics indicate that there is in fact a demand for the goods and services these towns provide resulting in the continuing use of the Mount Toby project area and its resources With respect to developing an ecosystem management plan the towns therefore may be hesitant to stop the expansion of the services and industries that are making them prosperous One common assumption made by towns comprising the Mt Toby project area is that residential development increases the local tax base and that resource conservation efforts are too costly at the local level Therefore a common argument is that it is best to convert natural lands farmland and conservation areas to its highest and best use39 which is generally assumed to be development However a recent economic analysis demonstrated that residential development is in fact much more costly to the municipality in financial terms than maintaining land in agriculture or protected forestland In addition agriculture contributes significantly to the regional economy In 1986 Massachusetts39s farmers employed 15000 people and earned more than 425 million In addition to their cost effectiveness open space and farmland add to the unique rural character of the Mt Toby landscape These aesthetic features alone provide a major source of revenue to the region by attracting tourism In this context farmland and open space protection should be viewed as an investment in rural infrastructure that helps to sustain local economies While economic information pertaining to the Mount Toby ecosystem is scarce a great deal of the financial records relate to annual expenditure by various town authorities A direct costbenefit analysis between development and conservation as a land use should be encouraged Towns need to evaluate how much the Mount Toby area contributes to their total economies Beyond the property tax contributions what other economic benefits and amenities does Mount Toby provide By recognizing Mount Toby as both a conservation area and local industry communities in the surrounding towns have begun to realize the many potential economic benefits of protecting it Cultural amp Historic Resources The towns of Sunderland Leverett and Montague abound with historic and cultural sites indicative of the economic civic and private trends of the communities These sites persist because they have come to define the character of the region so desired by the townspeople For this reason the Mt Toby project area retains a rural quality remindful of historic New England landscapes For example the area has within its bounds historic farms homesteads mills churches cemeteries homes and Native American sites Sunderland Outdoors 1998 Typically areas within 1000 feet of perennial water and without steep slopes were Native American settlements Mullholland 2001 Native American sites which can be found at the base of Mt Toby are key features of the archeological landscape SunderlandNative Americans traveled extensively along a northsouth trail which followed the contours of the western base of Mt Toby continuing along the river terrace at Silver Lane Containers and artifacts have been found in areas where Native Americans quarried gravel sand and clay Immediately south of Whitmore Pond one undated Native American site was found Tappings of old maple trees are evidenced around Mt Toby39s base Gibavic 2001 Farming has been and continues to be an important component of Sunderland39s economy even in the face of residential development Early in the town39s settlement farming became the principal industry Nevertheless other industries prospered throughout Sunderland s history such as tobacco shops farm machinery suppliers sawmills retail stores gravel operations blacksmiths and maple syrup and sugar production Sunderland Outdoors 1998 Some of the oldest mills in the project area were found in North Sunderland A grist mill a sawmill and a fulling mill were established between 1726 and 1774 ACEC 1991 Three inns were located at the perimeter of the project area and on the Leverett border One bank one meeting house and three schoolhouses are noted on the 1830 maps Examples of historical legacies in the project area are the Gunn Sugarhouse off of Route 47 the Robert Frost trail which follows portions of historic paths and the North Sunderland cemetery est 1839 located a few miles north of the center of town on Route 47 Table 8 contains the locations years of completion and architectural styles when relevant of sites included in the Sunderland Cultural Resource Inventory many are recommendations to the National Register LeverettR L Goss from Montague City built a 2mile carriage road from Leverett to the top of Mt Toby in 1873 He later built a house and a 70ft tower at the summit in 1875 he built picnic grounds and a depot The location quickly became a public resort Within a decade J L Graves built a hotel at the top In 1882 these structures were destroyed by re Historical Records 2001 There are numerous historical houses in Leverett 1830 Maps Additional sites of historic interest within the Leverett section include a cemetery that resides at the base of Mt Toby across from the intersection of Route 63 and Montague Road the Guru Ram Das Ashram a Buddhist center located adjacent to the cemetery and the Mount Toby Sugarhouse on Route 63 Beginning in 1866 a railroad ran from Brattleboro Vermont to New London Connecticut passing through Long Plain valley in Leverett ACEC 1991 This increased the ease of travel and transport of goods and services MontaguerThe Montague portion of the project area was historically agriculture and forest lands While much of this historic landscape is maintained contemporary residential development is the predominant land use Within the project bounds there are still productive farmlands native planting fields were established on the oodplains at the mouth of Cranberry Brook A cemetery is located at the base of East Taylor Hill Road where the original settlers are buried Table 8 Sunderland Historic and Cultural Sites within the Mt Toby Project Area ADDRESS 18 Amherst Road 55 Falls Road 300 Falls Road 336 Falls Road 140 North Main Street Street HISTORIC NAME WarnerMillerSkibiski Bowman Smith House N Sunderland Baptist Whipple InnWhitmore Alvin Johnson House utilitarian Federal Greek astylistic Federal French Second 305307 Montague John H Morse House Greek Revival 24 Street Eugene Rowe 66 Russell Street Teckla and Godfrey Snicker Colonial Revival 379 Russell Street 416 Russell Street Alexander Demianczik astylistic Street 176 Whitmore Cross Wheelwright Shop Greek Revival KEY ISSUES AND CONCERNS The interdisciplinary analysis of the Mt Toby project area completed as part of this ecosystem management planning effort in combination with stakeholder concerns documented during the Sunderland open space planning effort and the UMassled landowner and onsite recreational user surveys revealed several key issues and concerns These key issues and concerns represent unresolved con icts of particular signi cance to the stakeholders or that threaten the likelihood of achieving the overarching goal of ecosystem sustainability Although there are many ways to incorporate key issues and concerns into the planning process we adopted these as a way of checking our goals and objectives for completeness That is we adopted goals and objectives to insure that all of the key issues and concerns were dealt with Note the following key issues and concerns are not listed in any particular order Habitat fragmentation 7 Along with habitat loss habitat fragmentation is a leading cause of decline in populations of certain animal species that require large tracts of unbroken habitat The Mt Toby project area contains a relatively unfragmented landscape which provides suitable habitat for species that require it Adverse ecological impacts of recreation 7 Certain recreational activities especially motorized forms undermine fragile communities and disrupt wildlife activities People enjoy the outdoors but we must strike a balance between human use and ecological integrity Recreational use con icts 7 Motorized and nonmotorized recreational activities are sometimes at odds in the sense that motorized activities can disrupt nonmotorized ones Recreational users must interact amicably to enhance each group s enjoyment of the landscape Residential sprawl Residential development frequently occurs in an unplanned and unwise manner Specifically houses are built over a large area relatively spread out from one another Such practices usurp and fragment habitat In some areas development is occurring at a faster pace than population increase Rare communities Identi ed as such rare communities support locally or regionally scarce plants and animals To preserve biodiversity rare communities must also be preserved E ects of development In addition to destroying habitat development increases other strains on the environment like waste removal water pollution and air pollution Patchiness of land ownership With a diversity of landowners each owning a relatively small parcel of land cooperative management becomes more difficult as each landowner attempts to satisfy their wants before community goals M ulti town coordination The Mt Toby project area encompasses parts of three towns each town has different rules for zoning conservation water rights development and the like Working with the towns to achieve a common vision for the project area will help ensure community cooperation in implementing a management plan Farmland protection Surveys have indicated the desire to protect farmland in the project area Residents appreciate the aesthetic appeal of farmland and consume local produce Faimland is also valuable open space which does not burden towns financially as much as residential development Farmland also provides habitat diversity Rural character Surveys have indicated the desire to preserve the rural character of the towns found in the project area Residents like the quotsmalltownquot feeling and appear willing to work to preserve this aura Invasive species Both plant and animal invasives have wreaked havoc with native communities Invasives reduce biodiversity and can extirpate native species from an area Extirpateal species Bringing back species once present but currently absent from the project area enhances biodiversity and may return continuity to unregulated ecosystem processes and populations e g wolves predating deer Water quality Clean water is essential for any community water purification is costly and prevention is a more economically viable solution The management plan needs to address ways to prevent water pollution where possible Education In many cases landowners and users of the project area are unaware of the ecological structures and processes occurring on their land and in the project area Informing users and 39 39 about 39 39 39 may facilitate cooperation in implementing the management plan 1 Economic growth Without economic growth many people would argue that towns are not likely to pursue ecological issues simply because they do not have funds sufficient to achieve anything Commercial resource extraction Primarily timber harvest but to a lesser extent mining resource extraction improves the local economy If conducted properly resource extraction does not irreparably alter the ecosystem Non point source NPS pollution Given the proximity of the project area to the Connecticut River NPS pollution from above and belowground streams can adversely impact the project area and downstream communities In addition NPS airborne pollution can adversely impact the forest matrix of the project area Road systems Roads are a fragmenting element of any ecosystem They provide paths for invasive species they create edge habitat which can adversely impact forest interior species and they exacerbate erosion and stream sedimentation Biodiversity conservation It is generally acknowledged that more diverse ecosystems are more stable more resistant to disturbance and more resilient after disturbance Overabundance of wildlife and associated human con ict As humans encroach on more habitat and as animals adapt to the human presence more con icts have arisen eg deer car accidents raccoons and possums eating refuse LITERATURE CITED 1794 Maps Microfilm Series 6561 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