The Old Forest plot is located off a private driveway near the easterly border of Battle Park and lies at a significant angle to the road, sloping downwards. According to Battle Park curator Stephen Keith, “There has never, to our knowledge, been any development in this area.” After the Civil War, UNC professors were permitted to harvest wood and let their animals range in the forest, but the area has never been wholesale clear cut, nor have oaks, poplars, or hickories been allowed to be removed. These measures have helped ensure the biodiversity of areas such as the Old Forest plot, which is home to a number of common native species as well as a few rarer ones.
In our plot we observed 61 trees with a breast height diameter of more than 4 centimeters. Of these, almost 40% were Eastern redbuds. Some of the other common trees in our plot include red maples, tulip poplars, white ash, white oak, and mockernut hickory trees. We noticed a lot of smaller understory trees, which provide important coverage for wildlife, as well significant leaf litter and ground coverage (i.e. ferns and native plants like wild ginger) on the forest floor. Important to note is that we observed no pine trees in our plot. This suggests that this area of Battle Park has undergone less disturbance (burnage, logging, etc.) than other sites, though the elevation and slope of our plot has likely also contributed to these conditions. The proximity of residential buildings (see fig. 2) has also impacted our site, especially given that a private driveway runs just above our plots. This road has likely killed root systems of several trees, which have been cut down in the past. Despite being an old forest, there was only one tree that we approximated to be over 100 years old.
The elevation in our plot ranged from 427 feet to 451 feet.