Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wolf Lake Ancient Forest Is Endangered Ecosystem

27.06.2013
New research from the University of Guelph, published Tuesday in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, says that allowing industrial extraction in a northern Ontario old-growth red pine forest – the largest remaining in the world – would significantly threaten biodiversity in Canada.

The study says Wolf Lake Forest Reserve is a “scientifically irreplaceable system.”

“Wolf Lake Forest deserves intensive study, monitoring and full protection from future development,” said Guelph environmental sciences professor Madhur Anand, the study’s lead author.

Old-growth forests have dwindled in North America because of timber harvesting, land conversion and other human uses. Today they cover less than one per cent of their original range – down to about one million acres from 700 million acres.

Wolf Lake is the largest intact old-growth red pine forest left. The parcel of Crown land is located about 50 kilometres northeast of Sudbury and is bordered by Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park. To date, trees as old as 300 years have been found.

The old-growth forest is protected from logging but open to mining and mineral exploration. It has attracted considerable media and public attention, with many groups pointing to the forest’s esthetic, social and sustainable economic value.

The conflict prompted Anand and her research team to study the scientific value of the old-growth forest. They reviewed data on everything from climate change to the forest floor, as well as legislation and policy complexities.

Their conclusions? Old-growth forests, and this stand in particular, have ecological value not available from younger forests or smaller stands, including:

Biodiversity: Greater age and area means diversity in everything from habitat to woody debris to forest floors, which enables ecosystems to better respond to environmental changes;

Natural disturbance regimes: The large size of the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve allows for the maintenance of a natural pattern of fire, essential for the reproduction and persistence of red pine forests; and

Lessons about climate change: The location of this forest, in a climatically sensitive area between the boreal and deciduous forests, and the presence of very old trees, allows for climate change studies.

As well, Wolf Lake Forest is important for informing future restoration practices, the study says. “Ecological restoration relies on an excellent understanding of what ‘natural’ forests are and how they behave,” Anand said.

“Even forestry is playing copycat in recent years, focusing on harvest techniques that emulate natural disturbances to minimize ecological disruption. As the largest natural old-growth red pine forest, Wolf Lake can serve as a standard of ecological integrity.”

The knowledge gained will be useful not just for ecological studies but also for industry and government, said Anand, who holds a University Research Chair in Sustainability Science and was the Canada Research Chair in Biocomplexity of the Environment and Global Ecological Change for 10 years.

The research also involved former and current students in Anand’s research lab: M. Waseem Ashiq, Jacob Cecile, Arundhati Das, Mark Leithead, Lucas Silva, Christopher Wagner and Cara Bulger, as well as leading forest ecologists from Quebec.

David Sone, a U of G graduate and forest campaigner for Earthroots, an environmental organization protecting Ontario's wilderness, wildlife and watersheds, said the research makes an “invaluable contribution” to public discussion of the issue.

"This paper provides the most rigorous scientific argument to date on the ecological importance of the Wolf Lake ancient red pine forest,” he said.

“By establishing that the Wolf Lake old-growth forest meets the technical definition of an endangered ecosystem, these leading researchers have set a firm foundation for their call to protect this unique and threatened natural treasure.”

Contact:
Prof. Madhur Anand
Global Ecological Change and Sustainability Laboratory
School of Environmental Sciences
University of Guelph
519-824-4120, Ext. 56254
manand@uoguelph.ca
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

Madhur Anand | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uoguelph.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>