Unlike the comparatively cold boreal habitat, northern hardwood forests are frequently found on lower and warmer mountainsides. Deciduous trees dominate this landscape, helping to bring a splash of color to the deep greens of the surrounding boreal forests. Northern hardwoods create less acidic soils than boreal forests do. The warmth and nutrient availability help make this habitat diverse and thriving.
Maples (mostly sugar, Acer saccharum), birches (Betula spp.), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), and Eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) indicate northern hardwood forests.
Witch hobble (Viburnum lantanoides) is the most common shrub in northern hardwoods. Spring ephemeral flowers explode in these forests and are followed closely by trilliums (Trillium spp.), ferns, and other shade tolerant wildflowers.
Mammals like American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), American beavers (Castor canadensis), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), fishers (Martes pennanti), a variety of squirrels, and gray (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) or red (Vulpes vulpes) foxes are just a few of the mammals you are likely to see here. A multitude of woodpeckers, vireos, warblers, and the occasional Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) can all be found in northern hardwoods. Yellow spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), Eastern red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens), red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus), and garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) can be found hiding in these forests.
To explore northern hardwood forests at the VIC, visit our Woods and Waters trail.