Plant Selection

Podooc Rare Forest Project uses the official list of Maine’s Endangered and Threatened plants produced biennially by Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, to create integrated forest gardens within Lake George Regional Park. Specific plants are selected and placed to accommodate available and restored habitats throughout the park in hopes that they will enhance the biological diversity of the park while providing a variety of ecological services for the surrounding forest and lake. Additionally, plants are selected and researched for their cultural value, including their local historical and ethnographic significance.

State Rarity Ranks

State Rarity Ranks are determined by the Maine Natural Areas Program.

  • S1 Critically imperiled in Maine because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the State of Maine.
  • S2 Imperiled in Maine because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • S3 Rare in Maine (20-100 occurrences).
  • S4 Apparently secure in Maine.
  • S5 Demonstrably secure in Maine.
  • SH Known historically from the state, not verified in the past 20 years.
  • SX Apparently extirpated from the state, loss of last known occurrence has been documented.
  • SU Under consideration for assigning rarity status; more information needed on threats or distribution.
  • S#? Current occurrence data suggests assigned rank, but lack of survey effort along with amount of potential habitat create uncertainty (e.g. S3?).

Global Rarity Ranks

Global Ranks are determined by NatureServe.

  • G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because some aspect of its biology makes it especially vulnerable to extinction.
  • G2 Globally imperiled because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.
  • G3 Globally rare (20-100 occurrences).
  • G4 Apparently secure globally.
  • G5 Demonstrably secure globally.
  • GNR Not yet ranked.

State Legal Status

State legal status is defined according to Title 12 Section 544, and Title 12 Section 544 B which mandate the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to produce and biennially update the official list of Maine’s Endangered and Threatened plants. Periodic changes to the list are recommended to the Department by a technical advisory committee of botanists who use the most recent population data as per the Maine Natural Area Program’s database, along with other relevant research and taxonomic information to recommend status changes.

  • E ENDANGERED; Rare and in danger of being lost from the state in the foreseeable future; or federally listed as Endangered.
  • T THREATENED; Rare and, with further decline, could become endangered; or federally listed as Threatened.

Non-Legal status

  • SC SPECIAL CONCERN; Rare in Maine, based on available information, but not sufficiently rare to be considered Threatened or Endangered.
  • PE Potentially Extirpated; Species has not been documented in Maine in past 20 years or loss of last known occurrence has been documented.

Source: Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Natural Areas Program. http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mnap/features/rank.htm

Plant Groupings

The forest design is based on a collection of modular cells consisting of orbital structures of plants providing a variety of ecosystem services and occupying/creating a variety of niches. Each design “Cell” will feature distinct layers of growth from groundcover and perennial understory plants to midstory and overstory trees serving as the cell’s nucleus. Each of these modular cells can be put together to form larger forest gardens to accommodate available space.

Plant Types (seven layer forest model)

  • Trees (midstory and overstory)
  • Shrubs
  • Herbaceous perennials and annuals
  • Ground covers
  • Vines
  • Mosses
  • Lichens

Ecological Functions of Plants

Overall, plants are selected for their rarity in Maine and the likelihood of survival in the various habitats present in the park. However, within those parameters, plants are selected for the ecological services they provide. Selected plants fulfill a variety of  ecological functions including:

  • Nitrogen-fixing and scavenging plants (NF)
  • Dynamic nutrient-accumulating plants (DA)
  • Soil-building plants (SB)
  • Nectary plants (NP)
  • Habitat plants (animal food, shelter, overwintering) (HP)

Cultural Functions of Plants

Plants are researched for their cultural value including:

  • Local historic significance
  • Folkloric significance
  • Ethnographic significance

Project Stages

  1. Earthworks
  2. Irrigation lines
  3. Access – Accomplished
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Hardscapes
  6. Structures
  7. Stockpile and staging areas
  8. Site preparation
  9. Soil conditioning
  10. Flagging of plant positions
  11. Procuring of plants
  12. Overstory installation
  13. Lower tree and shrub installation
  14. Perennial installation
  15. Irrigation system emitters
  16. Mulch
  17. Ground cover installation
  18. Tree tubes, staking, and plant protection