The Trail Entrance is at the edge of a mowed grass field. The 'grass' under your feet consists of dozens of different plant species in a complex ecosystem only an inch or two tall. Periodic mowing is a powerful selection force for plants that are able to rebound from the cutting of their above ground biomass. New plants are constantly "invading" this ecosystem but if these invaders are not able to conform to the controls acting on this system, they will not survive. In this way mowing keeps many 'weeds' from becoming established in the lawn ecosystem and it also keeps shrubs and trees from taking over via the ecological process of succession. The energy that is used to mow the grass is used to "fight" this process of succession.

Trail Entrance

Read more about Ecological Succession

The plots near the entrance sign are a Butterfly Garden and a Succession Plot. The latter represents a small portion of the grass ecosystem that has not been mowed since April, 2000. The plants that are growing in the Succession Plot are quite different in appearance and in species composition from the plants out in the mowed sections of the lawn. Removal of the controlling force of mowing allows the process of succession to proceed.

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