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:
Madhur Anand | EurekAlert!
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences