Monday, November 30, 2009

Chicken House

A past land use can produce effects that last for decades. Up until the middle 1960’s a chicken house was maintained in the middle of this field. Here is an old foundation stone that supported one corner of the structure.

Despite the fact that the house and chickens have been gone for over 40 years, you can still see the area once enclosed by the chicken yard fence. Outside the former yard the Indian Grass abounds. Inside, a slow transition to native grassland is underway.

During the years of occupation by chickens, the soil was cleaned of vegetation and subjected to erosion and compaction. Compacted soil results in the complete breakdown of the soil ecosystem. When the chickens were removed, the soil was not conducive to growing plants and typical farmland annual weeds began to colonize the area.

Tall Fescue is now the most common grass here, but even that hearty grass doesn’t thrive here. There are a few stalks of Little Bluestem scattered around, gradually working a transition from exotic plants to natives. The change still has many years to go.

Battling invasive plants, such as this Teasel, will be the major management activity here. The native plants will eventually claim this area if the non-natives are kept out of the way. This particular area will probably be out of sync with the rest of the field, but given another 50 years, you probably won’t even suspect there had been any damage here.

1 comment: