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Southern Ontario's Carolinian Forest

1% of Canada's land mass, 40% of it's threatened and endangered species, the Carolinian Forest of Southwestern Ontario is truly a rare and spectacular region. Boasting outstanding biodiversity, including the most tree species of any native forest type in Canada. Rare trees typical of ecosystems south of the border such as Tulip Poplar (the tallest growing hardwoods in eastern N America), Sassafrass (the tree that gave root beer its unique taste), PawPaw (a fruit tree that grows in the understory, whose fruit apparently tastes of Banana and Mango), Cucumber Magnolia, Kentucky Coffeetree, Shumard Oak and many more can be found here, owing to the mild climate of the southernmost geographic region of Canada.


The Carolinian life zone is a tree lover/ ecology fanatics dream. Spanning from the Toronto/Lake Ontario shoreline, west to the southeastern shores of lake huron, and south into the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie region, all the way to Windsor. This is Canada's most heavily populated, and heavily farmed region. The few old growth forests that remain are of extraordinary ecological and cultural value, preserving biodiversity found no where else in Canada. Luckily some of the Carolinian regions most spectacular old growth forests are fully protected, Such as Backus Woods, Niagara Glen, Jackson Gunn old growth Maple-Beech forest, rondeau provincial park.. but these forests are still subject to human impact, especially from introduced pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and Beech Bark Disease, and other invasive species such as Garlic Mustard and Norway Maple. Protecting and restoring the wellbeing of these forests is a challenging but worthwhile endeavour for all Canadians, local landowners, and conservation enthusiasts to pursue.


Over the coming months, join us as we continue to explore Southern Ontario's old growth forests, seeking out the last ancient Oaks, Sycamores, Tulip trees and other fantastic plants and animals of this unique region! See more of our Photography projects from the Carolinian Forest below, and check out our blog for regular updates from Old growth Forests, wetlands and other intact ecosystems across Canada.


Old Growth Black Gum Swamp in Ontario's deep south

Winter White Cedar Deer Yard, Rouge National Park

Rouge Park Deer Yard

In the floodplain forests of the lower Rouge River, nestled within forests of cottonwood, ash snags, and willows, quiet stands of white cedar are winter sanctuaries for White Tailed Deer. Cedar is a staple food for the deer during the winter months when grass is covered by snow and there are no leaves on the deciduous saplings, a white tail doe standing on two legs to reach the higher cedar leaves is a magical sight to behold, though deer are very shy creatures, if you are quiet and still you may get to observe them for a time. Encountering and photographing deer is always a treat, they are one of the most majestic and mystical animals of all, and certainly one of my favourites.

Below are some of our favourite trees and forests, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area where we live. We are in a transitional area between the Carolinian and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest types, so we are blessed to live amongst an abundance of tree species. Some that are pictured here include; White Oak, Tulip Poplar, White Pine, Eastern Cottonwood, Northern Red Oak, Sugar Maple, American Beech... These are the trees we grew up with, and the forests that are nearest and dearest to us. If you would like to learn more about these forests and their trees, plants, fungi, insects and animals, stay tuned to our blog where we will share our learning journey as we explore the ecology, history, and present-day threats to our last old growth forests in Ontario, and beyond!

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