The forest, especially at higher elevations, boasts many large, mature trees, as well as big downed logs and standing snags that support rich biodiversity. Portions of the forest floor have undulating hummock-and-mound topography created by trees and branches falling and decomposing over time. These uncommon finds are old-forest features that promote resilience and offer niche micro-habitats to tiny denizens of the forest such as invertebrates, amphibians, and fungi. These characteristics will only increase in prevalence over time as rewilding unfolds.
With an array of trees that provide ample forage for mammals and birds—from the seeds and nuts of hophornbeam, beech, and yellow birch to the fruits of elderberry, serviceberry, black cherry, pin cherry, and mountain ash—these woods support a diversity of charismatic fauna. Bear, deer, grouse, and small mammals dine on this cornucopia, and predators such as fox and owls hunt well-fed rodents, snowshoe hare, and more. Cliffy areas and strewn boulders at higher elevations provide safe denning habitat for porcupines and bobcats.