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The Pine Bush Project:
The Origin of the Pine Bush (Abiotic Factors)

by Jean, student at FMS

The origin of the Pine Bush is mainly how it has become what it is now. It was formed about 20,000 years ago when the Wisconsin Glacier receded, and the melting ice filled the present-day Albany Inner lowland Basin with water, which formed the glacial Lake Albany. Then, about 12,000 years ago, Lake Albany drained, exposing the sand at the bottom. Winds blew the sands to Albany, forming sand dunes. The Pine Bush was also once part of the Great Plains.

The climate of the Pine Bush is warmer and drier than surrounding areas. The driest time is usually before the spring growth and after the season growth’s end. Winters are cold but not severe, and the average annual temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual precipitation is 33 inches, including about 67 inches of snow.

The surface sands in the Pine Bush lack silt and clay, both having been blown away by the wind while the dunes were being built. The soil in the upland pine barrens is not very rich because the organic matter is usually burned off before it can decay. The dry pine needles, oak leaves and other organic material provide excellent fuel for fires. The Pine Bush aquifer, an underground water supply, has very high-quality water because the sand cleanses the water as it drains through.

The Pine Bush is located between Albany and Schenectady. It once covered an area of 25,600 acres, but it dwindled to 3,500 acres by 1993. In 2004, there were 3,010 acres, and officials wanted to increase it to 4,600. Also, 1,371 fire manageable acres were preserved in 1993. The Pine Bush is currently separated into 5 different areas, and people say that the sections should all be connected, for reasons such as it would allow animals to escape to another section if their home area was burned.

 

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