Take a moment to get an overall impression of the forest here. There is much that you can read from a forest stand that will tell you about its condition and history. You will see that among the many smaller trees are large individuals with low spreading branches. The form of these larger trees is known as “open grown”. It indicates that as young trees they grew up in the open, unimpeded by the shade of surrounding neighbours. The thick, stocky trunks and low branches show that the trees had plenty of space to spread their crowns. In contrast, forest trees that are crowded together grow tall and straight with few spreading limbs.
We can tell from the shape and size of these inhabitants that until perhaps the late 1960s this site was open with a few scattered trees. Most likely it was a pasture with shade trees for livestock. The younger trees grew later, probably seeding in from the adjacent forest on the valley slope, perhaps after cattle were no longer pastured here. The younger trees here will develop a “forest grown” form as they mature because they are close together and have to grow upwards fast to compete for sunlight.