The Edge Community
Edges are transition areas between two or more plant communities. At High School Park, you can find edge communities throughout the park-between the meadow and the woods and between the woods and the riparian zone. Edges are often the communities with the largest number or richness of species, and the highest diversity of species (a well- balanced ratio among the species). This is because while many plant and animal species depend on edges as their primary habitat, edges also provide suitable habitat for the plant and animal species that occur within the communities on either side of the edge. Birds such as goldfinches, cardinals, and indigo buntings, and animals such as woodchucks use the edge community for habitat.
Invasive exotic plants frequently invade edge communities because they receive greater amounts of light than deeper woods. They are also often disturbed by people's activities. Even just frequent walking along this edge compacts the soil and adds weed seeds from other places. One of the most significant edge ecosystems in High School Park is the bermed areas on the upper level of the park adjacent to the meadow. These bermed areas were created to reduce the velocity and volume of storm water runoff from the meadow and form a transition between the meadow and the woods. Although the bermed areas have been badly overrun with invasive species, the Friends of High School Park plans to restore these potentially ecologically rich areas with eastern red cedars, various native sumac species, warm season grasses, and native viburnums.