Woods Wise: How Eastern White Pine Forests Help Amphibian Habitats

vernal pool

Sustainably managed Eastern White Pine forests host all kinds of creatures: the squirrels and birds that nest among branches, the bears and deer that eat its pinecones and foliage, and small animals like porcupines and pocket gophers that find refuge in the soil around the roots. Planting pines in mixed hardwood forests and harvesting trees in a progression of cuttings not only gives the pines themselves ample space to grow, but also protects biodiversity.

But there are even more benefits to these forests that aren’t immediately apparent. Take, for example, the vernal pool. This term describes a temporary pool of water that develops on the ground, providing a distinctive type of wetland supporting amphibians and insect species.

In ‘The Eastern White Pine Forests,’ our series of quick 2-page reads created in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service, we explore the crucial role these habitats play to many common and specialized forest-dwelling organisms in the state. A few species that are specifically supported by vernal pools in this area include the spotted salamander, the wood frog, and the fairy shrimp.

Vernal pools are fishless, seasonal and naturally occurring, typically disappearing in dryer seasons. They serve as an important breeding ground for larvae that would otherwise be consumed by predatory fish in other bodies of water, and also disperse nutrients into the surrounding forest system, improving the health of everything that lives within it.

Read more here: Vernal Pools – Important Wildlife Habitat

Image via Wikimedia Commons