When you're on the ski lift or hiking up Vermont's mountains, take a look around to see the life zones of the trees on the mountainside. Biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, rode the gondola at Stowe Mountain Resort for the view from Vermont's highest peak, Mount Mansfield.
Depending on the elevation, and even what direction the slope is facing, there are a great variety of trees, changing from hardwoods to evergreens as you climb. The evergreens have made adaptations to accommodate the winter cold and snow. The branches are rubbery, so they are less likely to break in heavy snows, and the needles have a thick waxy coating to reduce water loss when the weather is dry. Kent and Sara also explain how 'waves' of dying trees occur every sixty years.
To learn more, listen to the audio or visit these sources:
- See a map of where Balsam Fir and Red Spruce have been reported by citizen scientists across Vermont on iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life. You can even add your sightings to the map!
- All about Balsam Fir Trees
- VCE blog about Balsam Fir
- All about Red Spruce Trees
- Blog: "Red Spruce Reviving in New England, But Why?
- Further Reading
Outdoor Radio is a monthly feature produced in collaboration with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies in Norwich Vermont. The program is made possible by the VPR Journalism Fund and by a grant to VCE from the Vermont Community Foundation.
The program is produced and edited by VPR's Chief Production Engineer, Chris Albertine.
Broadcast Thursday, Jan. 22, 2014 at 7:50 a.m.