baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2017copyright christoph hase

Michipicoten Post Provincial Park and South Michipicoten River–Superior Shoreline Conservation Reserve, Ontario, Canada

 

These small parks (altogether 25 km2) can be described as a north-western extension of the much larger Opens internal link in current windowLake Superior Provincial Park. There are also unprotected areas – partly untouched – surrounded by these parks1.

 

This is the wettest section of the Lake Superior shoreline, annual precipitation being about 1000 mm and average annual temperature 1–2°C. The forests have been called boreal rainforests for their abundant mosses, hanging lichens and moisture; due to natural fire suppression by the climate, the forest may have been undisturbed by fire for hundreds or even thousands of years2. In absence of fires, shade-tolerant late successional species Opens internal link in current windowPicea glauca (white spruce), Opens internal link in current windowPicea mariana (black spruce), Opens internal link in current windowAbies balsamea (balsam fir), Opens internal link in current windowThuja occidentalis (white-cedar) and Opens internal link in current windowBetula cordifolia (mountain paper birch) dominate. Tree species diversity is quite low and most species are easy to identify but e.g. Salix spp. (willows), and Opens internal link in current windowSorbus americana (American mountain-ash) and Opens internal link in current windowSorbus decora (showy mountain-ash) may be difficult to tell apart. The canopy is quite open and low. Consequently, the shrub and sapling layer is dense making off-trail hiking difficult.

 

The major hiking route is Voyageur Trail, which runs through forests, by beaver ponds and along dramatic cliffs facing Lake Superior, dropping sometimes to the shoreline. The area can also be entered by canoe.

 

References:

 

1       Henry, M. & Quinby, P. (2010): Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests. Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

2       Newmaster, S. (2010): Boreal Rainforests in Ontario? In Henry, M. & Quinby, P.: Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests. Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

 

Official site:

 

http://www.ontarioparks.com/nonoperating/michipicotenpost/


Thuja occidentalis (white-cedar) - Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch, with white bark) forest. Also seedlings of Acer spicatum (mountain maple, left) and Abies balsamea (balsam fir, right).
Thuja occidentalis (white-cedar) stand along a creek. Also Abies balsamea (balsam fir) seedlings.
Beaver pond. Thuja occidentalis (white-cedar) seedlings, bottom right. Background mainly Picea glauca (white spruce), Picea mariana (black spruce), Abies balsamea (balsam fir), T. occidentalis and Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch).
Lake Superior shore. Mainly Picea glauca (white spruce), Picea mariana (black spruce), Abies balsamea (balsam fir), Thuja occidentalis (white-cedar, particularly just above the shoreline) and Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch).
Lake Superior from a cliff. In the foreground Abies balsamea (balsam fir, with upward cones), Picea mariana (black spruce, with hanging cones) and Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch).
14.1-metre Sorbus decora (showy mountain-ash). Also Abies balsamea (balsam fir), and Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch) foliage, right.