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Property Map The natural and cultural features, plant collections, and demonstration experiments of Highstead.
Forest Vegetation Map of Highstead and Abutting Properties: Forest communities are strongly related to both physical environment and human land use history. Each Square represents a 20x20 meter vegetation plot in which all tree, shrub, and herb species were sampled.
Soil Types: The soil types depicted by red, pink, and yellow on the west side of the property are generally dry, coarse-grained, and thin, while the soils depicted by green and blue on the east side of the property are generally moist, fine-grained and deep. The soils in the middle depicted by orange and brown are poorly drained wetland soils.
Highstead Topology: Highstead's bowl-shaped topography is evident, as the elevated western ridge and eastern drumlin bracket the low-lying pond and stream. The landscape also drops sharply in the southwest and northwest corners of the property. Forest vegetation differs with respect to topography.
Endangered Species and Significant Natural Communities: In the greater Redding landscape, conservation priorities match up well with natural areas in the lower Saugatuck and Aspetuck River Valleys. To the north, much potential remains for land protection.
Protected Open Space: Spatial Patterns and Use Types: The most effective conservation projects transcend political boundaries and unite private, municipal, and state organizations. The Kelda Transaction and the Highlands Project are two examples of this type of partnership.
Redding Elevation: As its name suggests, Highstead is perched on elevated terrain in the town of Redding. The highest elevations in town are generally the tops of the glacially carved drumlins, while the lowest elevations are found in the major river valleys.
Redding Roads: The history of road development in town closely tracks population growth. The first major phase of road construction coincided with the early settlement period of town, while the 2nd phase occurred in the mid-late twentieth century when the population quadrupled.
Redding, CT Geology and Soils Bedrock is the underlying consolidated sediments that appear as outcrops and ledges when exposed. Variation in bedrock relates to the depositional environment in which the rock was formed and the subsequent heat and pressures to which it was exposed hundreds of millions of years ago. Loose surficial materials overlay the bedrock and were laid down by ice, wind, and water over the past 20,000 years. Soils are a mixture of organic and mineral matter, derived from the breakdown of bedrock and surficial materials and the remains of plants, animals, and bacteria. An understanding of all 3 substrates is essential to understanding both plant and human geography.
Scales of Study: Land Protection Highstead's land conservation and ecological research programs operate at four different scales: property, town, county, and region.
Population Change and Recent Development Although Redding's population increased dramatically beginning in 1950, the town has remained one of the least developed and populated in Fairfield County, due in large part to the efforts of its municipal conservation groups and to the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company (now Aquarion Water Company), which purchased and set aside large swaths of land for watershed management at the turn of the twentieth century.
Southern New England Topology: Elevations increase from the coastal plain of the southeast to the highlands of the northwest except in the Connecticut River Valley, the broad lowlands dissecting western Massachusetts and central Connecticut. Patterns of topography reflect ancient mountain building events, the hardness of underlying bedrock, and the work of glaciers and running water. Precipitation, temperature, plant and animal geography, and human settlement track elevation closely.
1934 Aerial Photo map Highstead's vegetation cover was much different 75 years ago. The oak forest of the western half of the property was more open than today as a result of heavy logging. East of the swamp, the current red maple-ash forest and woodland demonstration were largely open pasture.