This steep hill slope offers you a view of both a well drained upland slope and a bottomland swamp. Because of the steep slope, the division between the two contrasting ecosystems is quite sharp, with almost no intermediate transition.
The swamp below you holds water late into the year because the drainage is impeded by fine soils that contrast with the sandy soils of this slope. Water from snow-melt and spring run-off cannot soak downwards because of the fine soils, and the lie of the land means that it cannot easily drain away above the surface. This ability of swamps and other wetlands to hold water on the land is important to the viability of ecosystems. Wetlands provide a buffer that helps prevent flooding caused by rapid run-off during spring melt and storm events, and the standing water and wet soils help to alleviate the effects of summer drought.
Many of the residents of Joany’s Woods rely on these wetlands. Listen for frogs in the spring and try and spot the Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) that breed in hollow trees here.