Terrestrial System. Cultural Subsystem-- Unpaved road/path community

Ice Pond Road is unpaved in for most of the length of the Ice Pond Conservation Area.

Physical Setting: This community occurs in narrow bands formed by the unpaved portion of Ice Pond Road (1 km or 0.6 mi long and 20 m or 65 feet wide) and the several paths (8 km or 4.9 mi long and 10 m or 32.8 feet wide) which traverse the site. The main path running west to east from Ice Pond Road down to the Ice Pond was paved, but with the cessation of vehicular traffic, the pavement is now broken up and has largely disappeared. It is now more of a path than a paved or unpaved road. There is another former road on the west slope of the northeastern hill through Hemlock-northern hardwood forest, but there is no evidence this road was ever paved. It too is closed to vehicular traffic, except A.T.V.'s. The Unpaved road/path community as a whole is actually quite large, covering approximately 280,000 square meters (69 acres) and ranges in altitude from 135 to 250 meters (442 to 820 feet) above sea level.

Substrate and Hydrology: The substrate of the mostly unpaved Ice Pond Road (pictured above left) is artificially formed by the regular deposition of fresh road base, apparently composed of crushed marble. The outwash from the road base undoubtedly influences the chemistry of adjacent soils (probably raising the pH). The substrate of the paths (excluding the formerly paved road down to the Ice Pond) is like that of the substrate of the communities through which they pass. For the most part the hydrology of this community is artificially influenced by grading, ditching and compaction.

Colt's foot (Tussilago farfara)

Biota: The vegetation of this community is in a dynamic state of succession. Along the unpaved road, succession is constantly reset by human intervention such as mowing, bushwacking and perhaps herbicide application. The most-disturbed and open areas are along the unpaved road and support typical species of disturbed roadsides such as colt's foot (Tussilago farfara), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa) and many others. Along the unmaintained paths the vegetation is changing from herbaceous species typical of highly disturbed areas to predominantly trees and shrubs like those in the community through which they pass. Several Invasive species that prefer this habitat are present here: barberry (Berberis thunbergii), wineberry (Rubus phoenicolacious), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and others.

Cultural:.This community is totally artificial and dependent on human intervention. Left undisturbed, it would most likely revert to that of the community through which it passes, except where the topography has been drastically altered, such as grading and ditching. The paths west of the Ice Pond are used by hikers, rock-climbers, fishermen and bicyclists. Those east of the Ice Pond are used by the same groups of people with the addition of A.T.V.'s.

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