ASH RIVER RECREATIONAL TRAIL KABETOGAMA STATE FOREST
Interspersed within the jack pine-oak community are often found small lichen communities. Much like the jack pine-oak communities, they are restricted to rock outcroppings on ridge tops where the ground surface is up to 30 percent bare rock. Conditions here are xeric, being extremely dry. While it receives rain and snowfall, water runs quickly off the bare rock and cannot be soaked up by the impermeable stone.
Lichen communities are early succeeders of major fire disturbances. Repeated forest fires consume organic materials leaving bare rock where woody plants have difficulty getting established. Instead, lichens have the task of beginning the soil building process. With the suppression of fires, lichen communities will do just that and a woody plant community will eventually succeed them.
As you make the 4.1 mile trek through the different forest communities along this hike, see how many differences you can identify between them. There aren’t but one or two vistas to distract you, so you should be able to come up with quite a list as you focus your attention on the close-at-hand rather than the distant.