The wildflower meadow habitat provides food and shelter for insect, bird and mammal species. It also stabilizes the steep slope with deep-rooted bunch grasses and wildflowers. To maintain a meadow, trees and shrubs must be prevented from growing, which requires management like mowing or grazing. Without this intervention, the forest will return through the natural process of ecological succession. Extensive farming in New England for three centuries has created optimal conditions for meadows.