The fossil pollen record of Mishow Marsh, Hunter Island, Bronx County, New York City provides evidence of corn (Zea mays) planting between 1075 and 1285 A.D. Arboreal pollen changes, about the time of corn planting cessation, indicate Siwanoy native Americans planted the field with hickory (Carya spp.). Dutch and English colonial settlers protected forests in the locale to maintain a source of wood and for feeding livestock, however, the Island's forest was cut for the British Navy during the American Revolution. Soon after 1812, John Hunter created a gentleman's farm on the Island including forested tracts along the shores and on field edges. Following the purchase of Hunter Island in 1888, the New York City Parks Department supported social agencies clearing trees in field edges to build campgrounds as well as along the south shore to form a beach. In 1908, the chestnut blight eliminated American chestnut (Castanea dentata) from the forest and soon afterward, a hickory bark beetle infestation decimated the hickory population. An arboreal survey in 1934 showed that the Mishow Marsh watershed contained a field and a forest dominated by oak (Quercus spp.) and yellow poplar (Liriodendron Tulipifera). The Island was converted to a day use picnic area in 1943, which removed all the woody plants with stems less than ten centimeters in diameter. Reduced funding after 1964 led to picnic facilities removal which increased forest redevelopment on the Island. A resurvey of the Mishow Marsh watershed in 1988 revealed oak and yellow poplar remained dominant in the old forest and a hickory and sassafras (Sassafras albidum) stand grew in the field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science