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An Assessment of Historical and Contemporary Land Use at Hedgehog Mountain, Freeport, Maine, via Field Observation

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  1. Introduction
  2. Methods
  3. Results
    1. Plant communities
    2. Hydrology
    3. Disturbance history
  4. Discussion
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

The purpose of this investigation was to collect information that allowed the formulation of a hypothesis as to the land-use history of the Hedgehog Mountain preserve, and to correlate empirical observations with a limited literature review in an attempt to validate the hypothesis presented.

The author hypothesizes that this land was used primarily for grazing livestock and timber extraction until the homestead was abandoned, after which timber harvesting may have continued for a number of decades. Except for motorized recreational vehicle use the land is presumed to have been free of major human disturbance for the past fifty years or more.

[...] Additional background on the site was provided by the town of Freeport's Hedgehog Mountain Management Plan, by Google Earth and Google Maps, and by a review of USGS maps at RESULTS: Plant Communities: The forest on the edge of the ravine was mature red oak (Quercus rubra), with emergent eastern white pines and an understory of red maple (Acer rubrum), moose maple and birches. Groundcover included honey mushrooms, partridge berry, checkerberry, goldenrod and sarsaparilla. Once we reached the floor of the ravine we were in a forest of mature hemlocks majestic trees with little but mosses, ferns and a few young beeches in the shady, moist, acid soils under the dense canopy. [...]

[...] Some time since then logging operations on the site appear to have ceased, as there are many mature beech trees at the homestead site, as well as mature oak and hemlock trees at other parts of the property. The presence of apparent blowdowns is a confounding factor, especially since the direction of fall that I recorded, NE, is not consistent with any of the wind-damage patterns described in Wessels[1]. If the trucks have fallen towards the NE, then the best match in Wessels is that they were felled by a summer thunderstorm. [...]

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