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Forests


The Deep Creek Lake Watershed, like all ecosystems, is dynamic and constantly changing. The current forest cover of the watershed is dominated by the oak-hickory type and to a lesser extent by the northern hardwood type. It represents a second-growth and maturing forest as a result of widespread logging that occurred in the watershed near in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The chestnut blight has eliminated mature American chestnuts from the forest and Dutch elm disease has reduced the number of elms. Recently, gypsy moths have caused significant mortality among the oak species and are currently poised to make a rebound.

There is evidence that the American Indian impacted the resource with fire - creating open under-stories for hunting and protection from enemies. Early settlers removed significant quantities of trees for farming, fencing, and housing. White pine was almost eliminated for shipbuilding purposes. With the advent of narrow gauge railroads at the turn of the century, previously inaccessible areas were cut over. Wildfires that resulted from the trains and other sources frequently burned in the area favoring species that were resistant to fire damage. These wildfires and heavy cutting have resulted in an even aged forest that is approaching maturity.

In general, the area north and west of the Glendale bridge is much more heavily forested than the area to the south and east. The southeastern area has had more agricultural development. Since World War II both areas have experienced increasing residential development. The fragmentation of the forest is expected to increase in the future as residential development continues to increase. As development and forest fragmentation increases, additional runoff from the land in the watershed occurs.


Resources:

  1. Most of the reports can be found on the document archives of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan work.

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