Forest Cover in Montgomery County

mapkeyOur area is characterized as Piedmont Lowlands, part of the larger Oak-Chestnut Forest Region. The region is seeing more forests cut down in a manner that leaves relatively small, isolated forest fragments.

In 1995, a study by Natural Heritage PA projected that there would be a loss of 55,000 acres of open space in Montgomery County in the next 20 years. It found that most of the southeastern corner of the county had already been developed, with the exception of steeper slopes. The report made several targeted recommendations.

Frazier's Bog in Upper Moreland was identified as a prioritized habitat for conservation. A small remnant of this wetland community was present at that time, containing three plants of special concern. Historically the site supported over a dozen rare species. Much of the habitat has been lost to development; weed encroachment, deer browse & continued development are current threats to the site.

In addition, Bethayres' Swamp in Abington and Lower Moreland were listed as high-priority in a heavily developed area. It was categorized as graminoid marsh and shrub swamp community of county-wide significance & small area of forested lowlands with a good bird habitat.

The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust protects 771 acres in this area. It has acquired 291 acres since 1993, which includes the 160-acre Raytharn Farm, a former sheep farm, whose conversion to native grasslands provides a haven for species of meadow-nesting birds that are threatened on the East Coast. Through a recent revision of its original 1975 Master Plan, the Trust has identified over 200 additional acres of unusual shrub swamp wetlands, old fields, and maturing forests that are worthy of protection, and the organization has committed itself to conserving these lands in the future as they become available.

Sources & Links:
Forest Cover Types by USGS
Causes of Forest Fragmentation Montgomery County
1995 Study by Natural Heritage PA
The Nature Conservancy
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust
Montgomery County Natural Areas Inventory 2007

0 comments by Members are their personal opinions (see RMCA policies)