Visitors to the Hubbardton River Clayplain Forest will find no giant trees. Rather they will discover nearly 200 acres of wet meadowland that is being planted over a ten year period with a crop of foot-tall bur oak, green ash, red maple and other native Vermont tree seedlings.
It is the Conservancy's hope that this Lilliputian forest will, in a few hundred years, grow up into a mature clayplain forest – recreating in a small way a natural community that once sprawled from the southernmost end of the Lake Champlain Valley north to the lowlands of Quebec – one that is now considered a rare natural community in the state.
This new forest will offer valuable ecosystem services to the human community. It will help conserve the Hubbardton River, which cuts through the preserve, and the mature clayplain forest with its abundant mast trees provide food and cover to many species of wildlife, such as deer and turkey. This growing educational resource will also serve as a classroom for high school and college classes experience firsthand the many varied restoration techniques and projects that have been implemented on the preserve.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
“One of the reasons why the Conservancy was interested in this land is because there was already a large patch of existing clayplain forest at the edge of this property, actually one of the best remaining examples in the Champlain Valley, says Mary Droege the Conservancy’s director of ecological management and restoration. “Since 2004 we’ve been planting seedling trees in the adjacent fields with the intent of making this particular clayplain forest patch bigger. Bigger means stronger - and more viable in the long term. We are giving the forest a jump start, while also conducting a formal experiment to see how best to re-grow a clayplain forest.”