A Characterization of Bousson Forest
Figure 1 - Base map of Bousson Forest that includes topography, stream and roads.
Figure 2 - Map of Bousson Forest showing glacial drift



Completed by the ES 440 class on 11 December 1996


In order to provide valuable information on the Bousson Experimental Forest, the land-use history, nature of its soils and their chemical properties, vegetation distribution, glacial history, and wetland areas associated with the Bousson Forest were characterized. Several trips into the field were required to gather all the necessary data needed to produce maps that provide a clear understanding of the Bousson Forest and its history. Laboratory work was also necessary to analyze critical aspects of soil chemistry such as pH, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, and exchangeable acidity. Land use history was first considered in order to determine past disturbances and present uses of the property relevant to the continuing study and use of Bousson Forest.

Land-Use History

Allegheny's experimental forest, Bousson, lies one and a half miles east of Meadville (Dorn, 1995). The property, composed of two sections, had seen many owners before it was purchased by the Bousson family. Bousson Corner, a large square of land at the top of the property, and Warner Corner, which consisted of the rest of the Bousson Estate above Oil Creek Road were the two original tracts that compose what is today known as Bousson. These two properties were owned by the Holland Land Company that then sold the Bousson Corner to J. Steinbrook and the Warner Corner to J. Reynolds. As seen in Table LU1, the properties continued exchanging hands until 1894 when the Bousson family acquired both corners (Morton, 1979).

Table LU1 - Holland Land Company through Bousson

Bousson CornerDate AcquiredWarner CornerDate Acquired
Holland Land Company1787Holland Land Company1835
J. Steinbrook1829J. Reynolds1840
G. Kightlinger1846E. Ellis1840
G. Hamilton1863B. Warner1841
I. Gleason1864W. Warner1881
Convergence of Property
M. Bousson1894M. Bousson1894

(Dorn, 1995)

By 1894 the Claude Bousson family owned a total of 321 acres of land that they had bought for $8,900. They used this land for farming, however it is unknown exactly what they grew. The Boussons built a two-story mansion in 1881 for $8500. In addition, the family created five lily ponds and a lake on their property (Morton, 1979). Two barns were built on the property to house horses and hay. A sawmill was also constructed in 1883 to help with the family's income (figure LU 1). During all this construction, trees on the land may have been cut down to create fields and lumber. The Dickson's Mill Cheese Factory, which was located on the property, had a high demand for dairy cows. Therefore, the Boussons' land may have been grazed heavily by cattle at one time (Dorn, 1995).

One of the daughters of Claude Bousson, Lydie, married Martin Friedrich who ran experiments in horticulture on the property and used Lake Siple as a fishery to raise carp. A sugar maple plantation existed around the Bousson mansion that was used to make money by selling the sugar made from the sap. Chances are that this plan did not work out since there are many of these trees that are over one hundred years old on the property (Morton, 1979).

The family had a string of bad luck that resulted in their selling the land. First, in 1883, the sawmill on the property burned down, and then there was a series of bad investments by the family resulting in a net loss of $60,000. Friedrich then moved the family in 1890 to Cleveland where he entered medical school (Morton, 1979).

Friedrich's children, Alfred and Dollie, inherited the land after the move. Alfred sold his share in 1928 and Dollie lost her share in a sheriff sale for back taxes that same year. After the property went through many people's hands it made its way to the Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club sponsored a Boy Scout troop and the land was used as a summer camp. The majority of the activities they participated in took place behind the Bousson house or in the hay barn. Chester Darling, Chairman of Allegheny's Biology department, was the leader of the Boy Scout troop. Allegheny acquired the land through Darling's recommendation in 1935 for $1,500. An additional two hundred and twenty acres were purchased for $1,000. The owners from Bousson to Allegheny are shown in Table LU2 (Morton, 1979).

Table LU2 - Bousson through Allegheny College

M. Bousson1894
A. Friedrich1917
C. Jones1928
G. Quigley1928
D. Binns1929
L. Graham1929

(Dorn, 1995)

In 1935, The Campus described Bousson as an area for the physical education and science departments as a place for recreation as well as study. Bousson was primarily used by the Outing Club and Phi Beta Phi, the Biology honorary society. When the property was bought from Kiwanis, only two structures remained on the property, the vandalized Bousson mansion and the hay barn. The hay barn was in good shape and both the Outing Club and Phi Beta Phi used wood from it to build their own lodges. The Phi Beta Phi built their cabin a mile northwest of Lake Siple, and finished it in December of 1936. The Outing Club decided to build their cabin on the shore of the lake, which came to be known as the Student Cabin when it was completed in May 1937. Around this same time, the lake was deepened for swimming, a new dam was put in place, and a small rifle range was added to the property. Both the Phi Beta Phi and the Outing Club laid out trails across the property (Figure LU2 (Morton, 1979)).

Between 1937 and 1945, Phi Beta Phi planted more than 10,000 pine seedlings, many of which were placed along Oil Creek Road and the trail intersection above Lake Siple. The last structure to be added was the Faculty Lodge (or Caretaker's Cabin) that was built by a donation from Lewis Walker, Class of 1877, who founded Talon in 1939 (Morton, 1979). There was an outward expansion of the forest between 1923 and 1973 presumably due to Allegheny allowing the forest to grow without disturbance (Dorn, 1995).

Today there is very little left of the structures which once stood on Bousson. There is nothing left of the Biology Cabin, while there are only pipes and corner stones left of the Student Cabin, Caretaker's Cabin, and Bousson Mansion. Many of the trails have grown over due to fewer people hiking through the forest. Outhouses that were probably used by the students visiting the lake are now overturned. Two bridges stand on the property, one lying west on Sandy Creek, and another lying east on the creek. These bridges join the two roads leading to the main gates of the property.

Present Land Use

Currently there are two major areas of study in the Bousson Experimental Forest. The first are the aquatic habitats that are being studied by Professor of Environmental Science and Biology, Scott Wissinger. The second area of focus is the DIRT Plot area that is monitored and experimentally manipulated by Professor of Environmental Science, Rich Bowden. In addition, nearly all of the Biology and Environmental Science classes use the reserve for labs and experiments.

The aquatic habitats at Bousson are being used for two projects. The first is a project funded by PENELEC to monitor the impact of acid rain on amphibians. Streamside salamanders (Desmognathus ochropheous, D. fuscus, Eurycea bislineata, Psuedotriton rubber, Gyrinophilus prophyriticus) populations are monitored in Bousson Run, Dusky Run, and Sandy Creek at least once a year using mark-recapture techniques. Pond-breeding salamanders are monitored in the six experimental ponds in the old lake basin opposite the footbridge. In spring, all spotted salamanders are collected as they migrate to the ponds to breed using drift fences and pitfall traps. A mark-recapture study is also carried out on the newts (Notopthalmus viredescens) each spring in Biology 103. The spotted salamander and newt populations used to be monitored in the south marsh and in the upper beaver pond, but this has become unwieldy. Occasionally, the population of mudpuppies (Necturus orotherus) is monitored in Sugar Creek. From 1990 to 1995 the terrestrial salamander (Plethodon cinereus, Plethodon glutinosus, and the red eft stage of Notopthalmus viredescens) populations were monitored by Wissinger in spring and fall using mark-recapture techniques. The sampling plots are just to the north of Rich Bowden's main study site as well as at the extreme western side of the reserve on Kaiser Hill. In accordance with the 1990-1995 mark-recapture studies, a measure of pH was taken in all habitats on a quarterly basis, and in some cases in association with snowmelt or other runoff events.

A second project has been designed to discover how aquatic invertebrates colonize wetlands after they dry during late summer. This is an ongoing project, mainly through comps, and involves the south marsh, Wayland pond, and the two beaver meadows behind the church. Basically, what Wissinger is attempting to do is to partition the fraction of species that colonized from desiccation-resistant stages that survive in the mud and those that aerially colonize from nearby permanent habitats.

In 1991, a series of DIRT (Detritus input, removal, and trenching) plots were constructed at the Bousson Experimental Forest. The purpose of these sites is to examine the long-term controls on soil organic matter in temperate forests. At Bowden's DIRT site, five treatments, including three replicates of each treatment, have been established. Treatments include: (i) control plots which receive no annual above-ground litter inputs, (ii) plots with no below-ground litter inputs, (iii) plots with twice the annual above-ground litter inputs, and (iv) plots with neither above-ground nor below-ground litter inputs. Above-ground litter inputs are withheld by capturing annual autumn leaf fall, and below-ground inputs are removed with root barriers that extend from 0 to 60 cm below the soil surface. Over the course of at least a decade, the data collected from the Bousson plots will aid in determining rates of soil organic matter depletion in the absence of new litter inputs, and will indicate the relative importance on the quality and quantity of organic matter from above- and below-ground sources. These sites have also been used to examine sources of soil respiration. Presently, the DIRT plots are part of a network of similar sites located in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

Glacial History

In Crawford County, soils were formed from the glaciation of bedrock. This took place approximately 15,000 years ago after the Illinoian and Wisconsin glaciers melted. The surface of Crawford County greatly changed during the two great glaciers' advances from the north. The ice of the Illinoian glacier and the later Wisconsin glacier covered the entire county. Glaciers planed off hilltops and ridges, gouged out valleys parallel to movement of ice, and left thick deposits of glacial drift in valleys and thin mantel on uplands. The soils formed from glacial till, glacial outwash, recent stream alluvium, and organic materials. The alluvial and organic were of recent origin and are being deposited continually. Those soils formed in glacial outwash deposits are commonly underlain by stratified sand and gravel. Soils found on flood plans, such as the Holly series, formed in water lain materials called recent alluvium and have little or no profile development.

Glacier till ranges in size from boulder to clay fragments or particles. Many of these fragments are sandstone, siltstone, and shale. Till is made up of materials deposited under advancing ice sheets, moraines rushed ahead of or alongside the moving ice, and ablation material dropped in place as stagnant ice melted. Valois, Hanover, Alvira, Shelmadine, and Alden soils formed in the Wisconsin till, similar to Illinoian till. Valois, Cambridge, Venango, Frenchtown, and Alden are from the Wisconsin till.

Outwash contains strata of sorted silt, sand, and gravel deposited by water flowing from melting glaciers. The deposits contain glaciofluvial materials that were deposited in scoured valleys, on terrace remnants of valley walls, and on hummocky kames and in kettles. These features were formed when blocks of stagnant ice beside and under the outwash melted and kames formed around them. Outwash soils includes the Wyoming, Chenango, Braceville, Red Hook, and Halsey soils which are the most productive source of groundwater in the county.

On the western and eastern boundaries of the Bousson Forest, there is till that was laid down directly from the Wisconsin and Illinoian glacial advances. The glacial outwash of sand and gravel runs north to south, which is the direction that the glacial meltwater flowed (Figure G1). The floodplain (Figure G2) located in Bousson Forest is in the central and far southeast portions of the forest where the outwash is located. Using the soil characteristics of this area, it was concluded that these areas are most prone to flooding (Crawford County Soil Survey, 1979).

The general topographic characteristics of Bousson were observed through the use of an east to west analysis in the central part of the region. Figure G3 compares the depth of the compact basal till and outwash in reference to the bedrock of the underlying surface with the bedrock at Little Sugar Creek (elevation 1230 feet). As Figure G3 illustrates, the elevation differences are clear. The till on the western side has a steeper slope and a higher relief than that on the east. The distinct differences can be seen in the topographic map on Figure G3. 
Using the histories of land use and soil formation as a basis for study, Bousson Forest's present day features were characterized.


The vegetation for the entire Bousson property can be considered to be mixed hardwoods (Figure V1). All species are common to the northeastern United States. The map depicting the dominant overstory composition is just that, not all trees present but the most prevalent in that particular portion of the forest. This written description will elaborate on the vegetation cover as well as the identity of dominant understory composition. Within the Bousson property are several pine plantations. The plantations are pure stands of planted red pine, which is not native to this area (Burns and Honkala, 1990).

In the eastern half of the plot, east of the wetlands and north of the Oil Creek Road, the vegetation is dominated by sugar maple and black cherry with an occasional American beech or hemlock. The understory here is almost solely sugar maple, replacing the less-tolerant black cherry. However, to the west, closer to the wetlands, the understory is predominantly beech. Along the northern border to the east of Little Sugar Creek and to the edge of the wetlands, are a significant number of hemlock trees, in concordance with the wetter soils. The understory for this portion of land is both black cherry and beech, which seems to follow an east-west gradient, with beech saplings concentrated in the west and black cherry in the east. There are two apparent red pine plantations worth mentioning. One runs north-south and is located to the northeast of the mark/recapture ponds. There is also a small stand of beech to the north. The other plantation is parallel to the road from Little Sugar Creek to the eastern border of the property.

South of Oil Creek Road along the southern edge of the property there is a mix of conifers and hardwoods. Beginning in the west, there is a stand of Norway spruce surrounded by sugar maple and beech. The understory here is mainly sugar maple and beech mixed with a smaller number of red oaks and white oaks. Moving east, the forest changes to predominantly white ash and black cherry with a few stems of Scotch pine. The understory in this portion of the forest is nearly exclusively black cherry. The eastern edge of this section of the property is a Scotch pine plantation with virtually no other species present in the overstory. The understory was composed of red maple and sugar maple.

The section of the property between Wayland Road and the wetlands is composed of a number of species. Closest to the wetlands is hawthorn. To the northwest of that area, bigtooth aspen is dominant in the wetter areas. The rest between the wetlands and the road are white pine, hemlock, and sugar maple with nearly all sugar maple nearest to the road.

On Kiser Hill, between Wayland Road and the power lines and also up the hill parallel to Oil Creek Road, is another plantation of red pine. The vegetation to the west of the plantation is primarily sugar maple accompanied by smaller numbers of oak and black cherry with black cherry and beech in the understory.

The vegetation nearest the wetlands on the eastern side and even into the wetlands a little is hawthorn in addition to several crabapple trees. These trees follow Sandy Creek east and are accompanied by a thick brush understory. Near the point where the two streams join are primarily beech with ironwood, and to the east of this point are black cherries. The appearance of the shrubbery and brush was used to characterize the hydrology.


Hydrology incorporates the ideas of precipitation, evaporation, overland flow, subsurface flow and groundwater flow (Brown, 1980). Since every component of a forest ecosystem effects the hydrology of the area, it is necessary, when proposing a land-use plan, to account for the hydrologic consequences of any project. Bousson forest has two main creeks, Little Sugar and Sandy Run, along with an extensive wetland area, both of which must be characterized before proposing any land use plan.

Little Sugar and Sandy Run empty into French Creek with drainage areas of 53 sq. miles and 161 sq. miles, respectively (Shaw and Busch, 1970). Each of the creeks has wetland obligate vegetation within 3-7 feet of their banks. The presence of this vegetation led to the characterization of their banks as wetlands areas (Figure H1).

The presence of a wetland in the middle of Bousson is well documented. In order to test its boundaries, only vegetation was considered due to the lack of time. Such plants as briars, skunk cabbages, and dense shrubbery indicated the boundary of the wetland. The characterized wetland can be seen on Figure H1 by the dark green color. This boundary corresponds to the pre-existing boundary on earlier maps except for the addition of an intermittent wetland.

The light green color on Figure H2 represents an area that, for the lack of a better term, is called an intermittent wetland. The vegetation throughout this area is a mix of facultative wetland and upland plants. Also, the existence of many ridges in this area cause parts of the area to be saturated continuously, while other areas are not. This area is difficult to characterize due to the unusual landforms as well as the lack of a dominant species of vegetation.

In order to fully characterize both the area surrounding the creeks and rest of the wetlands, it is necessary that the soils be studied. Due to the lack of time and resources, the soils in this region were not fully characterized. However, using the soil types, the soils can be described generally as in Table H-I below. The table briefly describes the soil types of all of Bousson in order to provide corroborating evidence on the locale of the wetlands.

Table H-I: Soil characteristics of Bousson (permeability, drainage, and surface run-off)

 Surface RunoffDrainagePermeability
CaBmediummoderately wellvery slow
CaCmediummoderately wellvery slow
CaDmediummoderately wellvery slow
CbDmediummoderately wellvery slow
VLFvery rapidwellmoderate
Rhslowsomewhat poormoderate
Hzslowpoor/very poormoderate/
moderately slow
BrAslowmoderately wellmoderately slow
WyCmediumsomewhat excessiverapid
BrBmediummoderately wellmoderately slow
moderately slow
Haslowvery poormoderately slow
CoCrapidwell/somewhat excessivemoderately rapid
CoBmediumwell/somewhat excessivemoderately rapid

Crawford County, PA Soil Survey (1979)

The characterized wetland is located on Holly (Hz) and Red Hook (Rh) soil types, both of which, due to their capacity to hold water (slow surface runoff, poor drainage, and moderate permeability) are suitable for wetlands. However, the boundary of the wetland does not follow the boundary of any soil type. Therefore, additional research along the border is necessary in order to fully characterize the hydrology of Bousson.

Soil Characterization

A soil is a work in progress of the five soil forming factors. These five factors are: vegetation, climate, topography, time, and parent material. Knowing the soil type is beneficial for studying farming, erodibility, and permeability. The characterization of Bousson's soil can be seen on the map (Figure S1) as well as Figure S2.

The first factor of soil formation is parent material. As was discussed earlier, the parent material of the Bousson property is glacial drift. As the glacier retreated north, glacial till was left on the uplands, and outwash was left in valleys.

Vegetation has also played an important role in the development of Bousson's soil. Although most of the indigenous vegetation has been removed, evidence of it still exists in soil profiles. Vegetation is still playing a role in the development of the soil. Under the various pine plantations, decaying pine debris is contributing to the low pH of the soil at the surface.

Climate is consistent throughout Bousson. The property receives relatively large amounts of annual precipitation in the forms of both rain and snow. There are drastic temperature changes throughout the year, which leads to the freezing and thawing of the ground during the fall and spring of each year. Organic matter has accumulated on the soil surface due to the cool temperatures through much of the year.

Another soil forming factor is topography. Erosion and sedimentation rates of any slope are directly affected by its topography. As a slope becomes steeper, the probability of soil erosion increases. However, many of the slopes at Bousson are gradual slopes that experience minimal erosion due to the topography. The topographically lower sections of the property are floodplains that have been carved out of the soil by the creeks on the property. The soils present in these sections are Holly and Red Hook, which are typical floodplain soils.

Time is the final soil forming factor. The soils at Bousson have been developing since the last glacier left 10,000 years ago. This is a relatively short period of time for the development of soils. Since minerals leach out of soil over time, the age of a soil can be determined using the mineral content of the soil. The concentrations of these minerals were partially studied in the following soil chemistry section.

Knowing the types of soil on a particular piece of land is essential when determining a land-use. Soil type can help knowledgeable farmers determine what type of crop may be most productive in their fields. Different soils have distinct properties that determine their suitability for various land uses. These properties, which include water holding capacity, permeability, the presence or absence of a fragipan, different soil structure, and different chemical composition, are interdependent.

Soil properties can also determine where certain structures, trails, and others can be safely built so that the impact to the environment is minimal. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to examine a piece of property's soil if it has been removed or displaced by humans. However, past land-use can be determined by studying the soils and examining how the property has been used in the past to more appropriately decide its future.

Soil Chemistry

The soil chemistry of Professor Rich Bowden's DIRT plots was extensively studied at his request in order to collect additional information relevant to his research. The fifteen plots were divided into three groups based on elevation (upland, midland, lowland) and the average soil conditions, as well as deviations, were determined for each of the three elevations.

Soil pits were dug just outside the southern boundary of the plots (Figure SC1). Six soil cores, three from the northern portion of the plot and three from the southern portion (Figure SC1), were extracted for chemical analysis. Exchangeable acidity was measured using soil samples taken from the southern portion of the site, while all other chemical analyses were performed using northern soil samples. This was due to the large amount of soil required for the analysis of acidity. All sampling was done in October.

Based on information from the soil pits, the soil type located within the plots was classified as a Cambridge silt loam

The Cambridge series consists of deep, moderately well drained, nearly level to moderately steep soils. These soils formed in material, weathered from glacial till, that contains sandstone, siltstone, and shale. They are on upland knobs, benches, side slopes of valleys, and crests of slopes.

In a representative profile the surface layer is very dark brown silt loam 2 inches thick. It has a 3-inch cover of leaves and other organic material. The upper part of the subsoil, to a depth of 24 inches, is dark yellowish-brown and yellowish-brown, friable and firm silt loam that has light-gray mottles below a depth of 19 inches. The lower part of the subsoil extends to a depth of 50 inches. It is yellowish-brown and dark yellowish-brown, firm and brittle gravelly silt loam that has light brownish-gray, yellowish-brown, and pale-brown mottles.

Crawford County Soil Survey (1979)

The bulk density, water content, pH, extractable bases, exchangeable acidity, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and percent base saturation were the chemical analysis parameters. The results from the three sets of plots, as seen in Figure SC2 and SC3, were combined to determine average soil chemical conditions for the site.

Bulk density of the soils ranged from 0.68-1.14 g/cm3 (Figure SC4). Percent water content of the upper soil horizon (0-12 cm) was approximately fifty percent, decreasing with depth. A fragipan was found beginning at a depth of approximately 40 cm in the southern portion of the plots.

Three different methods were used to test the pH of the soils. Each assay used a 4 mL/2 g soil of a different solvent (deionized water, 0.01M CaCl2 and 1N KCl) to ensure the solvent's effect on the pH was negligible. All three methods yielded the similar pH of 4, increasing slightly with depth. This high level of acidity is expected to accompany a low CEC and low percent base saturation.

Extractable base concentration (Ca, Mg, Na, K) and exchangeable acidity (H, Al) were measured in order to determine CEC and percent base saturation. Using 1.0 M NH4Cl (25 mL/10 g soil) and an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, the base concentration was determined to decrease with depth. This measurement was lower than anticipated. In order to determine exchangeable acidity, 50 g of soil were leached with 1.0 N KCl and then titrated with 0.100 N NaOH using phenolphthalein indicator to mark the endpoint. Exchangeable acidity within the site is high relative to the sum of extractable bases. Aluminum dominates the upper soil profile and buffers the pH to approximately 4.

Both buffered and unbuffered CEC were measured, however the buffered assay did not work. Therefore, CEC was also determined by summing the extractable bases and exchangeable acidity, and then comparing these theoretical results to the experimental results. The direct measure of CEC used the unbuffered (conductimetric titration) method that is appropriate for forest soils. A 10 g soil sample was washed three times with 1.0 M BaCl2, rinsed with deionized water and 95% ethanol to remove excess salt, and then titrated with 0.05 N MgSO4. The conductivity was measured and the endpoint was marked by a sudden increase in conductivity. The results of the unbuffered method should be regarded as an estimate of CEC due to possible experimental error. However, both methods did reveal that the site had a low CEC. Using these two separate estimates of CEC, the percent base saturation was calculated and determined to be low at 35%. Again, this is not unusual for such an acidic soil.

The site was found to be composed of infertile, acidic soil having an Al buffer. The high Al concentrations are potentially toxic to plants, aquatic life and soil invertebrates. Nearby stream water pH levels of approximately 7.0 had previously led researchers to believe that the soils on the DIRT plots were buffered by calcium. Due to the presence of the aluminum buffer, it is not understood what is buffering the pH of the soil before it reaches the stream. Is it possible that there are higher concentrations of calcium and other exchangeable bases lower in the soil profile or downslope from the location that was tested? This is an excellent opportunity for further research.

Land-Use Recommendation

Junior Aaron Bissell, as required of his Junior Seminar, has written a proposal for his senior thesis. His seminar, under the direction of Environmental Science Professor Eric Pallant, concerned the initiation, construction, and operation of an aquaponics experiment. Bissell has taken this idea and decided to do his comp on hydroponics; however, the construction and set up of such a project would require a fair amount of funding. This presents a problem to Bissell. Without the Class of '39, he has no help in funding and pursuing his endeavors. What a shame to let a good idea be flushed away due to monetary concerns.

In light of the current financial strain imposed on comping senior (the dry up of the Class of 1939 fund), we submit that the Bousson property be used in such a manner to bring income into the college with the intention of funding field and laboratory research comps. We propose that the segment of property occupying Kiser's Hill, on the west side of Wayland Road (very roughly 60-75 acres), be selectively logged and managed as a sustainable forest. As far as we are aware, this land is not being used in any manner by the college, particularly laboratory exercises or faculty research. This project could even be initiated as a senior's comp project.

Additionally, a silvicultural operation would present numerous research opportunities including forest management, forest productivity and the effects of logging on productivity, silvicultural experiments, succession, and so on. The current forest composition consists of red pine in some areas and predominantly sugar maple mixed with oak and black cherry in others. Red pine has been grown extensively in Canada and the northern United States for wood production for various uses from railroad ties to cabin logs to fuel wood. Sugar maple is used commercially for maple sugar but is also harvested for wood. Black cherry is a valuable lumber species with a tall straight bole selling for over $500 (Burns and Honkala 1990). Another option could be to sell this tract of land, with the stipulation that profits from the sale go towards funding research endeavors at the college.


Burns, R. M. and B. H. Honkala. 1990. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. USDA, Washington, DC.

Burns, R. M. and B. H. Honkala. 1990. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. USDA, Washington, DC.


Adler, R. 1994. The Clean Water Act: Has it worked? EPA Journal 20(1-2):10-15.

Brande, J. 1980. Worthless: valuable or what? An appraisal of wetlands. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 35:12-16.

Brown, G. W. Forestry and Forest Quality. O.S.U. Book Stores, Inc.: Corvallis, OR. 1980.

Burns, R. M. and B. H. Honkala. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. USDA: Washington, DC., 1990.

Burns, R. M. and B. H. Honkala. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. USDA: Washington, DC., 1990.

Dorn, G. "Changes to the Bousson Forest." ES 490, 11/5/95.

Morton, S. 1979. "Bousson - A Look Back." Bousson. Pp. 2, 8.

Robinson, A. 1995. Small and seasonal does not mean insignificant: why is it worth standing up for tiny and temporary wetlands. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 50:586-590.

Soil Survey of Crawford County, Pennsylvania. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, May 1979.

Shaw, L. C., Busch, W. F. Water Resources Bulletin. U.S. Dept. of Interior Geological Survey: Harrisburg, PA, 1970.

Steihart, P. 1989. Portrait of a deepening crisis (duck decline and the destruction of wetlands). National Wildlife 27(Oct-Nov):4-12.

Tiner, R. W., Jr. 1987. Mid-Atlantic wetlands: a disappearing natural treasure. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and US EPA.

Walbridge, M. R. 1993. Function and values of forested wetlands in the southern United States. Journal of Forestry 91(15):15-19.


 Base Map of Bousson Forest that includes topography, stream and roads

 Figure LU1 - Bousson Estate in 1885

 Figure LU2 - Bousson property around 1937

 Figure PU1- Current environmental research being conducted at Bousson Forest

 Figure G1 - Glacial drift of Bousson Forest

 Figure G2 - Floodplains and uplands of Bousson Forest

 Figure G3 - Cross-section of Bousson Forest to represent till and outwash elevation

 Figure V1 - Dominant overstory vegetation of Bousson Forest

 Figure H1 - Wetland boundary in Bousson Forest

 Figure H2 - Hydrological cycle of a forest

  Figure S1 - Dominant soil types of Bousson Forest

 Figure SC1 - Site of DIRT plots from which samples were taken

 Figure SC2 - Bulk density, water content, pH, extractable base concentration, acidity, CEC and base saturation of Bousson Forest upland, midland and lowland samples

Download these data (Excel file)

 Figure SC3 - Soil chemistry by depth

Download these data (Excel file) 

 Figure SC4 - Summary of soil chemistry

Change with Depth 
(0-50 cm)
Bulk DensityIncreases (.68-1.14 g/cm3)
Water ContentDecreases (48%-16%)
pH~4.0; slight increase with depth
Extractable BasesDecreases (1.57-0.19 (m.e./100g)
Exchangeable Acidity[Al] Decreases (1.58-0.8)
CECDecreases (low CEC capacity)
Percent Base SaturationDecreases (~35%; low base saturation)

Note: all computer generated figures were produced by Amy Renshaw on Allegheny's Geology Department's GIS.

This pamphlet was put together as a handy field guide to those persons interested in the Bousson Forest. The enclosed maps should make the use of the guide and its descriptions easy to understand and should prove helpful to the amateur soil scientist.

The soils of Bousson are good examples of woodland soils. They are not considered prime farmland, but instead serve as a backdrop for research and teaching.

Braceville Series (BrB)
The braceville series is a deep, moderately well drained, nearly level and gently sloping soil. It is material weathered from water sorted sand, silt, and gravel. They are typically gravelly loam. Braceville soil has moderately slow permeability and moderately available water holding capacity. Because of a fragipan close to the surface and the slow permeability, this soil has a seasonally high water table.

Representative profile
Ap - 6 inches, very dark graying brown (10YR 3/2) gravelly loam, friable, strongly acidic, abrupt boundary.
B1 - 10 inches, yellowish brown (10YR 5/6), silt loam, medium acid, clear boundary.
B2 - 16 inches, yellowish brown (10YR 5/4), gravelly silt loam, medium acid.

Cambridge Series (CaB, CaC, CaD, and CbD)
The Cambridge series is a deep, moderately well drained, nearly level to moderately steep soil. The soil is primarily a silt loam, although CbD is a very stony silt loam. Cambridge's parent material is glacial till containing sandstone, and shale. This soil can be found on uplands, steep slopes of valleys, and on crests of slopes. They also have very slow permeability and a moderate available water capacity.

Representative profile
Oi - 2 inches, slightly decomposed organic material
Oe - 1 inch, intermediately decomposed organic material
Oa - ½ inch, highly decomposed organic material, very fine, black, greasy
Ap - 6 inches, very dark brown (10YR 2/3) silt loam, very friable, very acidic
B - dark yellowish-brown (10YR 4/5) gravelly silt loam, very acidic

Chenango Series (CoC and CoB)
The Chenango series is a deep, well drained to somewhat excessively drained, nearly level to sloping soil. These soils have been weathered from glacial outwash consisting primarily of sandstone, shale, quartzite, granite, granitic gneiss, and limestone and limestone and can be found on outwash plains and terraces in major stream valleys. They are primarily gravelly silt loam. Chenango soils have moderate to moderately rapid permeability.

Representative profile
O - 6 inches, decomposed and partially decomposed organic matter
Ap - 6 inches, very dark brown (10YR 2/2) gravelly silt loam, very acidic, abrupt boundary
B - dark yellowish-brown (10YR 4/4) gravelly sandy loam, very acidic.

Halsey Series (Ha)
The halsey series is a deep, very poorly drained, nearly level soil that has been formed in material weathered from glacial outwash and local alluvium that can be found in depressions on outwash plains and terraces in major stream valleys. They are primarily silt loam. Halsey soils have moderately slow permeability and a high available water holding capacity that gives the soil a surface water table.

Representative profile
O - 1 inch, decomposed and partially decomposed organic matter
Ap - 6 inches, gray (10YR 6/1) silt loam
A - gray (10YR 6/1 sandy loam, yellowish brown mottles

Haven Series (HvB)
The haven series is a deep, nearly level and gently sloping soil that has been weathered from glacial stream deposits. These soils can be found on outwash plains and terraces in major valleys. They are typically silt loams. Haven soil has moderate permeability and moderate water capacity. This soil is well suited to most crops grown in the county and woodlands.

Representative profile
O - 6 inches, decomposed and partially decomposed organic matter
A1 - 3 inches, very dark brown (10YR 2/2), silt loam, many roots
A2 - 4 inches, dark brown (10YR 4/3), silty loam
B1 - yellowish brown (10YR 5/4), sandy silt loam, small coarse fragments

Holly Series (Hy and Hz)
The holly series is a deep, poorly drained to very poorly drained nearly level soil that formed in material weathered from recent stream deposits. It can be found in floodplains. The soil has moderate to moderately slow permeability and the water table is at or near the surface much of the year. Hy is a silt loam that is suited to most crops in the county. Hz has a surface layer of silty clay loam that makes it unsuitable for crops.

Representative profile
O - 1 inch, yellowish (5Y 3/2), silty loam, very friable
A - 4 inches, gray (5Y 4/1), silty loam, oxidized root zone

Red Hook (Rh)
Red hook is a deep, somewhat poorly drained, nearly level to gently sloping soil weathered from glacial outwash. It can be found on terraces in stream valleys. These soils have moderately permeability and moderately to high water availability. This gives the soil a seasonably high water table.

Representative profile
A - 2 inches, grayish brown (10YR 52) gravelly sandy loam
B - dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) very gravelly sandy loam, many coarse fragments

Valois Series (VaC and VLF)
The valois series consists of deep, well-drained gently sloping to very steep soils. They have been formed from glacial till, that consisted of sandstone, siltstone, shale, some limestone, and granite. It is a gravelly silt loam. At Bousson, Valois series can be found on steep valley sides. These soils have moderate permeability and high water holding capacity.

Representative profile
O - 3 inches, decomposed and partially decomposed
Ap - 6 inches, dark brown (7.5YR 3/2) gravelly silt loam
B - yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) gravelly silt loam

Wyoming Series (WyC)
Wyoming soils are deep, somewhat excessively drained, nearly level to moderately steep soils that formed in material weathered from water sorted sand, silt, and gravel. It can be found primarily on glacial outwash terraces, valley trains, and kames. It has rapid permeability and low available water capacity.

Representative profile
O - 2 inches, decomposed and partially decomposed organic matter
A - 4 inches, brown (10YR 5/3) gravelly sandy loam, acidic
B - brown (10YR 5/3) gravelly sandy loam, coarse fragments, acidic

Field information supplemented by The Soil Survey of Crawford County, Pennsylvania. The Department of Agriculture. Soil Conservation Service. Issued May 1979.