Great Canadian Parks / Ontario

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The Parks / Ontario / St. Lawrence Islands National Park



 


Broad-leafed forests are the predominant landscape with cultivated open fields cast aside long ago to slowly return to their original wilderness state. The islands are a region of continuous transition with many northern species finding their southernmost limit where southern plants grow no farther north. Even from island to island there is a diversity of plant growth. Along the northern border species common to the boreal forest, white spruce, black spruce, white birch, jack pine and balsam fir make up much of the forest while to the south the deciduous sugar maple, American beech, basswood, white elm and red maple overshadow the coniferous species. Many species considered rare, threatened or endangered, such as the Rue Anemone, the small population of Deerberry and the pitch pine are protected by the park. On Hill Island, the pitch pine that has grown here for 4500 years is dependent on fire to burn away the undergrowth and competing species; unhappily, fires are traditionally suppressed in parks.

 

A threat also exists from the overpopulation of white-tailed deer that will eat the cones and tender pine shoots when food is scarce. 90% of all life in the lake is born, raised and/or fed in the shallow water and first 10 - 15 metres of shoreland. This highly valuable ecosystem is also the area found most charming by the human population who are apt to damage what most attracts them. Wildflowers such as May apples, Dutchman's breeches, hepatica, spring beauty, trout lily, white trillium, Indian cucumber and starflower are all representative of the Canadian Shield island habitats.

 

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