Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Quick Lesson In Aspect

Winter is a great time to see the effects of aspect, especially if you are out walking timber in the snow and ice.  Aspect and slope position are just as important as soil type in determining where and how well trees will grow. Here are a couple pictures of an icy road that show how quickly site conditions change with minor changes in slope and aspect.

We had an ice and snow mix, and this is at the end of the first day on an untreated county road. One lane is sloped slightly to the south, and one is sloped slightly to the north. Even though the temperature stayed below freezing, the tracks melted and dried out on the south-facing lane.

When the road reaches a west-facing slope, it is almost completely clear after one afternoon of sun. We may not notice these minor differences in slope and aspect, but trees do, and other plants and animals  do, too.

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