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HemlockA Forest Giant on the Edge$
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David R. Foster, Anthony D'Amato, and Benjamin Baiser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300179385

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300179385.001.0001

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An Iconic Species

An Iconic Species

(p.11) Two An Iconic Species
David R. Foster
Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the hemlock's distinctive characteristics, including its wide-ranging effects on the environment and other organisms. The hemlock's dense foliage allows almost no light to reach the ground, creating a distinctive, cathedral-like atmosphere in the forest. What makes the hemlock special is its ability to survive deep shade. Scientists recognized that the hemlock's great shade tolerance comes from its unsurpassed efficiency in light absorption, especially at low levels. In its extreme shade tolerance, the hemlock is rivaled only by two other eastern trees: American beech and sugar maple.

Keywords:   hemlock, foliage, deep shade, shade tolerance, light absorption, American beech, sugar maple

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