The Niagara Forest Region, The Acadian Forest Region

Much of what is written above concerning the composition and appearance of the vegetation of the larger Great Lakes region applies also to the much smaller strip along the northern shore of Lake Erie which Halliday calls the Niagara section of the deciduous forest region of North America. There are differences, however. Except for the pines of the sand plains there are few evergreens while, on the other hand, there are additional species of deciduous trees. Among the latter are chestnut (Castanea dentata), tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica), mockernut hickory (Carya alba), black walnut (Juglans nigra), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and sassafras (Sassafras variifolium) as well as others. The chestnuts, here as in the eastern states, were practically wiped out by the chestnut blight. In actuality the southern hardwoods form but a small portion of the standing forest which resembles its northern neighbour very closely. The area is also, of course, the habitat of many small plants not found farther north.

The Acadian Forest Region

The Acadian Forest is the result of an adjustment of the forest to the slightly cooler and considerably more moist climate of the Maritime Provinces. In general appearance and composition, however, there is strong resemblance to the forests of the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence region. Hemlock, white pine and red pine that characterize that region are well represented here, as are also the characteristic hardwoods, beech, sugar maple and yellow birch. Here also are found white spruce, balsam fir and aspen, reminiscent of the boreal forest. The dominant and characteristic tree, however, is red spruce (Picea rubra) which is found throughout this region and, apparently, to no great extent anywhere else. This forest was early and most completely exploited. White pine especially was in demand for masts and spars. The old original stands are said to have contained trees six feet in diameter and more than 200 feet high. Lumbering followed, for much of the forest was within easy reach of the long indented coastline. Very large areas were burned over. Nevertheless, except for Prince Edward Island, most of the Acadian Forest remains, and will remain to produce lumber and pulpwood for the future.

The shrubs and herbaceous plants of this region show nearly as many affinities with the boreal region as with the St. Lawrence region. Areas of acid, sandy soils, especially, have rhodora (Rhodora canadensis), blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), lambkill (Kalmia angustifolia), wintergreen (Pyrola sp.) and mayflower (Epigaea repens). The mayflower is the floral emblem of Nova Scotia. Bracken, sweetfern and raspberry are also common.An important segment of this vegetation region is its sea coast margin, particularly along the Bay of Fundy and its headwaters where the tidal range is great, many salt tolerant plants are found which do not have extensive distribution elsewhere. Characteristic of this "salt marsh" are fox grass (Spartina juncea), black grass (Juncus gerardii), and marsh greens (Plantago juncoides). The latter, as its name implies, is commonly eaten in the same manner as spinach.

No comments: