By: Michael Henry and Peter Quinby
Who would have thought that dwarf cedar trees growing on the Niagara Escarpment could live to be nearly 2000 years old? Or that the small bonsai cedars lining the shorelines of the Canadian shield measure their ages in centuries? Old growth pine trees in Temagami are often over 10 storeys tall, but these are young sprouts compared to trees of yesteryear, which were as much as 20 storeys high.
Ontario's old growth forests are fantastical and mysterious, but who knows where to find one. Most people in this province live within an hour's drive of an old growth forest, but do not know it. The ecology of these stands is engrossing. Fire scars on these trees, for example, provide an indisputable record of forest fire activity in Ontario. Small hemlock saplings, over 100 years old, have been growing at infinitesimal rates, waiting for a gap to open in the forest canopy.
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