Kiosk Panel 13: Deciduous Forest

The deciduous forest trees and shrubs that cover much of Sorin’s Bluff slopes provide a habitat for plants and wildlife that is very different from the prairie grass areas. Deciduous forest trees and shrubs seasonally lose their leaves. Memorial Park has two kinds of deciduous forests. Its Dry-Mesic Oak Hickory Woodland community is found on steep, south-facing to west-facing bluffs adjacent to bluff prairie and Dry-Mesic Red/White Oak forest.

Map of Memorial Park Deciduous Forest

Dry-Mesic Oak Hickory Woodlands

Both natural events and human actions create and change forests. Fires helped create this forest. As lighting-caused prairie fires burned the bluff’s prairie grasses, these dense grasses no longer prevented sunlight from reaching the soil. Because oaks need large amounts of sunlight, scattered oaks grew across the bluff until European settlers moved into the region and stopped the naturally occurring prairie fires. Without bluff fires, shade tolerant trees grew up beneath the oaks, establishing the park’s current forest community of trees, shrubs, and plants.

The Dry-Mesic Red / White Oak Forest

This forest community is found on the park’s rocky north-facing areas where the soils are moist.