baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2017 copyright christoph hase

Rainbow Falls Provincial Park , Ontario, Canada

This park protects a small (6 km 2 ) piece of hilly forest along the northern shore of Lake Superior.

There are few tree species and most are easy to identify. The most important species are Opens internal link in current window Picea mariana (black spruce), Opens internal link in current window Picea glauca (white spruce) and Opens internal link in current window Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch). The canopy is open and low, probably due to the winds from Lake Superior. Picea spp. are the tallest trees but are mostly below 20 m; in protected sites P. glauca reaches almost 30 m. The oldest trees have germinated about 1770 1 . Due to the open canopy, the shrub and sapling layer is dense and off-trail hiking is rather difficult; slopes are quite steep, too. Similar but unprotected forest is relatively common along the northern shore of Lake Superior.

Elevation ranges from 183 m at the shoreline to over 400 metres. Average annual precipitation is approx. 800 mm and average annual temperature approx. 1°C.


1 Henry, M. & Quinby, P. (2010): Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests. Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Official site:

Lower slope forest with Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch, foreground and foliage in the upper half of the photo), Thuja occidentalis (white-cedar, left), Acer spicatum (mountain maple, foliage in the lower half of the photo) and Abies balsamea (balsam fir, seedlings and saplings, background).
Slope canopy from below, with Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch, left, centre and foliage in the foreground), Sorbus americana (American mountain-ash, right), Picea mariana (black spruce, background) and Picea glauca (white spruce, background).
Picea mariana (black spruce, left), Picea glauca (white spruce, right) and Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch) foliage.
Sorbus decora (showy mountain-ash, centre), Picea mariana (black spruce, background), Betula cordifolia (mountain paper birch, foliage on the right) and Abies balsamea (balsam fir) seedlings.