The Ice Pond Conservation Area is located in the northeastern portion of the Hudson Highlands Ecozone, near the southern boundary of the Taconic Highlands.
The habitat classification used here follows the New York Natural Heritage Program's (NYNHP) Ecological Communities of New York State (Reschke, 1990; Ediger, 2002). Of the seven Systems described for New York State (marine, estuarine, riverine, lacustrine, palustrine, terrestrial and subterranean), three are represented at Ice Pond (see below). Subsystems are classified by the structure of the vegetation, the substrate and the hydrologic regime. The communities (in italics) within systems and subsystems are distinguished by the animal and plant species present, substrate, hydrology, disturbance and geological structure. Representative woody and/or herbaceous species that were collected in each community are listed in order of their abundance or dominance, from common to rare.
Lacustrine System: Lacustrine systems are contained waters in depressions or dammed river systems. Emergent vegetation is usually sparse (or absent) and submerged or floating-leaved vegetation may be abundant. Subsystems are either natural or cultural. Lacustrine communities are distinguished primarily by trophic state, water chemistry, stratification and morphometry. There is one lacustrine community present at Ice Pond.
1. Natural Lakes and Ponds-- Oligotrophic dimictic lake community
Palustrine System: Habitats classified as palustrine are non-tidal, perennial wetlands dominated by emergent vegetation (woody or herbaceous). Subsystems are classified by the open or closed canopy, mineral or peat soil and whether they are watered by rainfall with little drainage (ombrotrophic) or watered by ground water and drained (mineotrophic). Communities within subsystems are distinguished by the component animal and plant species, water depth and the geology and chemistry of the substrate.
2. Open Mineral Soil Wetlands-- Deep emergent marsh community
3. Open Peatlands-- Sedge meadow community
4. Open Peatlands-- Rich shrub fen community
5. Forested Mineral Soil Wetlands-- Floodplain forest community
6. Forested Mineral Soil Wetlands-- Red maple-hardwood swamp community
7. Cultural-- Impounded swamp community
8. Cultural-- Reedgrass/purple loosestrife marsh community
9. Cultural-- Water recharge basin community
Terrestrial System: The terrestrial system includes all above ground habitats that are not wet throughout the year, although they may be seasonally flooded or saturated. Subsystems are classified on the basis of canopy cover (open or closed) and degree of disturbance. The communities are distinguished principally by the composition of the dominant plant species, usually woody or herbaceous and evergreen or deciduous.
10. Open Uplands-- Cliff community
11. Barrens and Woodlands-- Ice cave talus community
12. Forested Uplands-- Appalachian oak-hickory community
13. Forested Uplands-- Chestnut oak forest community
14. Forested Uplands-- Maple-basswood rich mesic forest community
15. Forested Uplands-- Hemlock-northern hardwood forest community
16. Cultural-- Flower/herb garden community
17. Cultural-- Unpaved road/path community
18. Cultural-- Railroad community
19. Cultural-- Paved road/path community
20. Cultural-- Brushy cleared land community
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