The forest community structure of park lands responds to two major factors: Past land use and soil conditions. The forest patterns reflect past land use in successional stages from pioneer community types (pine) to disturbance climax communities (oak-hickory). The vegetation of the battlefields is classified as oak-hickory forest in the temperate deciduous biome. Typical tree species include oaks, hickories, red maple, sweetgum, and yellow poplar. Subcanopy trees consist of dogwood, red cedar, tupelo, mountain laurel and sassafras. Shrub species include blackberries, poison ivy, and American hazelnut. Virginia pine and shortleaf pine are found in areas recently cultivated or pastured. The vegetation of Chatham ranged from mixed hardwood forests to landscaped formal gardens to farm fields. Above Chatham Lane, there are predominantly grassy meadows with a cedar hedgerow. The steeply sloping portion of the site contains primarily deciduous hardwoods, including yellow poplar, hickory elm, and dogwood. A dense ground cover consists mainly of honeysuckle, greenbrier, arrowwoods, and blueberries. Since woodlands have been repeatedly disturbed, opportunistic exotic plants have invaded the native woodlands, and in some cases, reached possible problem stages.
Did You Know?
The park maintains a summer internship program. The program allows college students to work behind the information desk, as well as give tours of the battlefields and historic structures.