I liked the way the afternoon sun was shining on this hillside, illuminating the multi-textured landscape that once was completely cleared of trees, briefly farmed, and abandoned to regrow into the quilted forest we see today.
The trees still holding their rusty leaves are red and black oaks. The barren trees in the lower right are chestnut oaks, having already lost their leaves to the season. The scattered evergreens are eastern white pines, just beginning to peek above the main canopy. As they approach their early middle age, they will continue to grow high above all others, adding volume to their giant cylindrical trunks.
White pines are often the colonizers of old fields, but not always. Near the center of the photo is a fluffy patch of leafless red maples, a pure stand that has grown from a relatively recently abandoned field. Sometimes the future forest just depends on what trees are producing good seeds in a particular year.
Way in the back is a red pine plantation. Here humans decided to plant a species of choice and add one more square to the great forest quilt.
The photograph above was taken one year ago today at Mohonk, Shawangunk Mountains, New York.