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A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

Red trillium —

Red trillium — Photo: Robert McCaw Carolinian Zone / Deciduous Forest Region Ontario’s Carolinian forests are at the northern edge of the deciduous forest region of eastern North America. The zone is known for its relatively mild winters and moist, deep soils. Comprising only one percent of Canada’s landmass, the Carolinian zone contains Canada’s greatest diversity of flora and fauna. This includes over 70 tree species, many of which are at the northern limit of their range, with species like: tulip tree, sassafras, hackberry, black walnut, and American chestnut. Numerous species of plants, birds, mammals and insects that are considered nationally rare are also found here, including wood poppy, Acadian Flycatcher, and the pine vole. Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest is the transition forest between the southern deciduous forest of the Carolinian zone and the predominately coniferous boreal forest region of northern Ontario. Only the southern portion of this forest region, off the Canadian Shield, lies within what is normally called “southern Ontario.” Soils are deep and fertile and comprise some of the most agriculturally productive areas in Canada. Forests are dominated by a mix of coniferous and broadleaf deciduous species, including: eastern white pine, red pine, eastern hemlock, white cedar, sugar maple, red maple, American beech, black cherry, white ash, yellow birch, basswood, and red oak. These forests provide habitat for a variety Wood poppy — Photo: Thomas Whelan Yellow birch — Photo: Robert McCaw 12 Forests of Southern Ontario

of other wildlife including American butternut, American ginseng, and the Cerulean Warbler, which are all considered to be provincially rare. Historically, the structure and composition of forests in southern Ontario was shaped to a large extent by a series of individual tree or multiple tree openings created by small scale disturbances such as windstorms, ice storms, tornadoes, disease, fire, or lightning. In any given year one to three percent of mature trees would be killed or die and create openings. Larger scale wildfires, insect and/or disease infestations changed the structure of the forest when they occurred, but were too infrequent to be the primary driving force. The majority of the historical forest was mature with numerous trees over 200 years old. Most present day forests are replacement forests created through a combination of succession and reforestation. A very high proportion of the forest stands are currently in relatively young age classes, and considered working forests that are logged on a regular basis. Today, humans are the dominant force on the landscape, altering and shifting natural disturbance regimes. Though much of our management is focused on mimicking patterns in nature, our success at conserving healthy forest environments is challenged in the fragmented, human dominated landscapes such as Southern Ontario. Canopy gap created by dead tree — Photo: Doug Tozer Forests of Southern Ontario 13

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