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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

Research Natural Area

The Bowl

[photo:] The Bowl RNA - A person in the woods with a broken tree trunk in the foreground.  Photo by Lucy Tyrrell. State: New Hampshire

County: Grafton

Forest: White Mountain

District: Saco

Established: 1931

Acres: 510

Description: The southern portion of the RNA is pure spruce, and the lower elevations support pure hardwood stands. This RNA is one of the few accessible areas which still contains virgin forests with all of the principle timber types of the region. The Bowl is unique in that there is no recorded history of logging or fire in the area. Many trees are 400 years old or older. A relatively young class of red spruce (Picea rubens) on lower slopes dates from the great landslide of 1820. The state threatened squirrel-corn (Dicentra canadensis) is present (6-8 plants) along a perennial tributary to Wonalancet Brook. Lady slipper (Cypripedium sp.), a special concern species, was represented by a single specimen. Globally rare mosses (Philonotis yezoana, Cyrtomnium hymenophylloides) are found on ledges south of the Wiggin Trail.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions:

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA : The closest station is in Tamworth, 9 miles (14.5 km) to the southeast of the RNA at an elevation of 790 feet (241 m). Since Tamworth’s elevation is notably lower than The Bowl, data might also be used from Pinkham Notch, elevation 2010 feet (613 m), 23 miles (37 km) north-northeast.

Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) : At Tamworth, average annual precipitation is 55.2 inches (140 cm). Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year with a low median in January of 4.05 inches (10.3 cm) and high in November of 5.49 inches (13.9 cm).

At Pinkham Notch, average annual precipitation is 56.9 inches (145 cm), including 13.9 feet (4.2 m) of snowfall. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with the lowest median monthly value of 3.23 inches (8.20 cm) in February and highest in November of 5.33 inches (13.6 cm).

Maximum and minimum temperatures : Tamworth - The mean maximum temperature of 79.6 ºF occurs in July. The mean minimum temperature of 3.0 ºF occurs in January.

Pinkham Notch - The mean maximum temperature of 73.1 ºF, occurs in July. The mean minimum temperature of 3.7 ºF occurs in January.

Elevation: The elevation of Swift Brook at its junction with Wiggins Trail at the southwestern corner of the RNA is about 1900 feet (579 m). From this point, the ground rises steeply to a maximum elevation of 3985 feet (1215 m) at the summit of Mount Whiteface.

Geology and Soils: The dominant soil type under northern hardwood stands at the The Bowl is a Typic Haplorthod in the Frigid temperature regime. Textures range from sandy loam to loamy sand while parent material ranges from firm to friable glacial till. These soils are variants of the Monadnock, Becket and Berkshire series. At higher elevations, above about 2700 feet (823m), shallow-to-bedrock soils in the Cryic temperature regime are present. Typical series include Ricker (Lithic Borofolist, and Glebe (Typic Humicryod). In addition to these predominantly glacial till soils, there are small areas of glaciofluvial gravel soils and peaty organic soils near streams.

Aquatic Features: The RNA comprises the western drainage area of the West Branch of Wonalancet Brook. Wonalancet Brook and its branches are perennial streams. Several perennial and intermittent brooks flow within the area, but there are no lakes or ponds. Numerous seeps provide distinctive habitat.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Section: White Mountain (M212A)

Subsection(s): White Mountain (M212Ad)

Landtype Association(s): Most of the area is in LTA's 0, Mountaintop; and 1, Upper Mountain Slope; LTA's 2, Mountainside; and 3, Valley are also included.

Landtype(s):
ELT 8, Softwood headwalls with shallow bouldery and ledgy soils--321 acres (130 ha);
ELT 6, below ELT 8 on slopes averaging 30-35 percent--92 acres (37 ha);
ELT 6E, parallel to ELT 8, but similar to ELT 6 with variable slopes averaging 30 percent along the cirque wall--31 acres (13 ha);
ELT 105, at the base of The Bowl, characterized by deep ablational tills and gentle slopes of 3 to 8 percent--66 acres (27 ha).

Plant Communities: ELT 8 is dominated by balsam fir and red spruce, with stands of paper birch and heart-leaved paper birch on steep slopes. Sugar maple and beech predominate in ELT 6, with small stands of red spruce at higher elevations; large yellow birch are also common. Balsam fir, mountain-ash, paper birch and heart-leaved paper birch are the common tree species in ELT 6E. Beech and yellow birch are the common tree species in ELT 105.

SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
18 Paper birch - 10
25 Sugar Maple-beech-yellow birch - 97  
33 Red spruce-balsam fir - 403  
   

Common Shrub Species: Hobble-bush (Viburnum alnifolium Marsh.), striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum).

Common Herbaceous Species: Northern wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), toothed wood-fern (Dryopteris spinulosa), shining clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum, bead lily (Clintonia borealis), trout lily (Erythonium americanum).

Common Mammal Species: Moose (Alces alces), snowshoe rabbit (Lepus americanus), black bear (Ursus americanus), eastern American chipmunk (Tamias striatus), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).

Common Bird Species: Red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceous), black-throated blue warbler (Dendroica caerulescens), American warbler.

Related Publications:

1931. Establishment Record of the The Bowl Research Natural Area in the White Mountain National Forest, Grafton Counties, New Hampshire. 36 pp.

Aber, J. D. 1979. Foliage-height profiles and succession in northern hardwood forests. Ecology 60: 18-23

Absalom, S. 1988. Comparison of avian community structure and habitat structure in mature versus old-growth northern hardwood forests. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts. 80 p. M.S. Thesis.

Ball, W.; J. Smith 1998. Hydration-facilitated sorption of specifically interacting organic compounds by model soil organic matter. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

Battles, John J.; T.J. Fahey. 2000. Gap dynamics following forest decline: a case study of red spruce forests. Ecological Applications 10: 760-774.

Bormann, F. H. and G. E. Likens. 1979. Catastrophic disturbance and the steady state in northern hardwood forests. American Scientist 67: 660-669.

Burton, W.A. n.d. [1977?]. The benthic and planktonic relationships of the streams of the Bowl Research Natural Area, Wonalancet, New Hampshire. Student report, Dept. of Biology, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA. 23 pp. + 11 tables, 10 figures.

Carbonneau, L.E. 1986a. Old-growth forests. Forest Notes 163: 2-5, 7.

Carbonneau, L.E. 1986b. Old-growth forest stands in New Hampshire: a preliminary investigation. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire. 94 p. M. S. Thesis.

Carbonneau, L.E. and S.D. Allen. 1995. Botanical reconnaissance of The Bowl Research Natural Area. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-189. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 26 p.

Chandler, D.S. 1986. New Pselaphidae from New Hampshire (Coleoptera). Psyche 93 (1-2): 121-125.

Chandler, D.S. 1987. Species richness and abundance of Pselaphidaae (Coleoptera) in old-growth and 40-year-old forests in New Hampshire. Can. J. Zool.65: 608-615.

Chandler, D.S. 1991. Comparison of some slime-mold and fungus feeding beetles (Coleoptera: Euconetoidea, Cucujoidea) in an old-growth and 40-year-old forest in New Hampshire. Coleopterists Bull. 45(3): 239-256.

Chandler, D.S. and S.B. Peck. 1992. Diversity and seasonality of Leiodid beetles (Coleoptera: Leiodidae) in and old-growth and a 40-year-old forest in New Hampshire. Environ. Entomol. 21(6): 1283-1293.

Chang, M.L. 1998. Infrared spectroscopic study of Toluene Adsorption on soil clays. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

Chen, B.; A.L. Roberts. 1998. Sorption of alkyl amines onto Na-Montmorillonite clay. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

Cleavitt, N.L. 1996. Bryophyte survey of six Research Natural Areas within the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-225. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 22 p.

Cogbill, C. V. 1975. Acid precipitation and forest growth in the northeastern United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. M.S. Thesis.

Covington, W.W. 1981. Changes in forest floor organic matter and nutrient content following clear cutting in northern hardwoods. Ecology 62(1): 41-48.

Cunningham, J. A.; W.P. Ball; P.V. Roberts. 1998 A series diffusion model for the sorption kinetics of halogenated organic compounds on Borden aquifer sand. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

Gemborys, S.R. 1996. Structure and dynamics in a virgin northern hardwood-spruce-fir forest--The Bowl, New Hampshire. Res. Pap. NE-704. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 15 p.

Goodale, Christine L.; J.D. Aber. 2001. The long-term effects of land-use history on nitrogen cycling in northern hardwood forests. Ecological Applications 11: 253-267.

Gore, J. A. 1986. Small mammals and habitat structure in an old-growth northern hardwoods forest. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts. 135 pp. Ph.D. Dissertation.

Gore, J.A. and W.A. Patterson III. 1986. Mass of downed wood in northern hardwood forests in New Hampshire: potential effects of forest management. Can. J. For. Res. 16:335-339.

Graber, E.R.; A. Wefer-Roehl; M.D. Borisover; R. Nativ; E. Adar. 1998. Adsorption of organic compounds in a fractured chalk formation. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

Graber, R.E. and W.B. Leak. 1992. Seed fall in an old-growth northern hardwood forest. USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. NE-663. Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Radnor, PA. 11 pp.

Graber, R.E. and D.F. Thompson. 1978. Seeds in the organic layers and soil of four beech-birch-maple stands. USDA Forest Service, Research Paper NE-401. Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Broomall, PA. 8 p.

Hallet, R., and M. Smith. 1998. An evaluation of nutrient cycling processes and remote sensing applications. Natural Areas Report. 10(1):1-2.

Hamburg, S.P. and C.V. Cogbill. 1988. Historical decline of red spruce populations and climatic warming. Nature 331 (6155): 428-431.

Harkness, M.G. 1958. The Tamworth Narrative (New Hampshire). Bond Wheelwright Company, Freeport, Maine.

Ko, S.H.; S.K. Dentel. 1998. Sorption of trichloroethylene on a surfactant modified smectite clay. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79)

Krusic, R.A.; Yamasaki, M., Neefus, C.D., and P.J. Pekins. 1996. Bat habitat use in White Mountain National Forest. Journal of Wildlife Management 60(3):625-631.

Leak, W.B. 1970. Successional change in northern hardwoods predicted by birth and death simulation. Ecology 51(5): 794-801.

Leak, W.B. 1971. Simulation of forest succession. Computer Simulation Conf.Proc. 820-825. Boston.

Leak, W.B. 1972. Competitive exclusion in forest trees. Nature 236 (5348): 461-463.

Leak, W.B. 1973. Species and structure of a virgin northern hardwood stand in New Hampshire. Res. Note NE-181. Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 4 p.

Leak, W.B. 1974. Some effects of forest preservation. Res. Note NE-186. Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 4 p.

Leak, W.B. 1975. Age distribution in virgin red spruce and northern hardwoods. Ecology 56(6): 1451-1454.

Leak, W.B. 1985. Relationships of tree age to diameter in old-growth northern hardwoods and spruce-fir. Res. Note NE-329. Broomall, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 4 p.

Leak, W.B. 1987. Characteristics of five climax stands in New Hampshire. Res. Note NE-336. Broomall, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 5 p.

Leak, W.B. 1991. Secondary forest succession in New Hampshire, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 43: 69-86.

Leak, W.B. and R.E. Graber. 1974. Forest vegetation related to elevation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Res. Paper NE-299. Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 7 p.

Leak, W.B. and C.W. Martin. 1975. Relationship of stand age to streamwater nitrate in New Hampshire. Res. Note NE-211. Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Exp. Sta., 5 p.

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Li, H.; L.S. Lee. 1998. Long term sorption and reaction of selected aromatic amines by surface soils. [Poster] In: Proceedings of the 1998 spring meeting American Geophysical Union. Published as a supplement to Eos:(79).

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Martin, C.W. 1975. Relationships between precipitation, stream water chemistry, and vegetation for The Bowl, a forested watershed in New Hampshire. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire. 67 p. M.S. Thesis.

Martin, C.W. 1977. Distribution of tree species in an undisturbed northern hardwood-spruce-fir forest, The Bowl, N. H. Res. Note NE-244. Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Dept. Agric., For. Serv., Northeast. For. Expt. Sta., 6 p.

Martin, C.W. 1979. Precipitation and streamwater chemistry in an undisturbed forested watershed in New Hampshire. Ecology 60(1): 36-42.

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Stephenson, R.W. 1983. Breeding birds and resource utilization in a virgin northern hardwoods community: a comparative approach. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire. 104 p. M.S. Thesis.

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Last Modified: 06/11/2007