Journeys in ancient and old growth forests
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Jackson Creek Old-Growth Forest

IMG_8153_3Our study of the Jackson Creek Old-Growth Forest is complete, you can download the full report here.

Executive summary

The Jackson Creek Old-Growth Forest (OGF) is a 4.5 hectare (11.3 acre) urban old-growth forest with trees reaching 250 years old, predating the original settlement of the Town of Scott’s Plains, now Peterborough, Ontario. This old-growth forest is part of the 92-hectare Jackson Creek Riparian Forest, which meets the recommended provincial criteria for both a Significant Woodland and a Significant Valleyland. The forests and wetlands surrounding Jackson Creek, which include a provincially significant wetland (Jackson Creek Wetland East), add substantially to Peterborough’s urban biodiversity. This large natural area also provides an important natural corridor along Jackson Creek into the heart of Peterborough. It was identified as a natural linkage leading from the Cavan Swamp core area in the Big Picture 2002 and Kawarthas Naturally Connected studies.

The Jackson Creek OGF is dominated by large White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), White Pine (Pinus strobus), and Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Trees are commonly over 150 years, with a maximum age of 256 years. The largest trees reach 97 cm in diameter at breast height, and extend above the surrounding forest canopy to heights of almost 35 metres.  Old-growth characteristics include pit and mound topography, coarse woody debris, large old trees, and super-canopy trees. Peterborough is one of only eight cities in Ontario with an identified remnant old-growth forest within its urban core, and the Jackson Creek OGF is the fourth oldest of Ontario’s identified urban old-growth forests.

The Jackson Creek OGF is the best example of a mature White Cedar – White Pine – Eastern Hemlock stand on a glacial spillway slope known to the authors in Ecodistrict 6E-8. The characteristics of the Jackson Creek OGF compare favourably with other noteworthy examples of old-growth forests found in or near urban areas in Ontario. A recommendation is made that this outstanding natural feature be recognized and protected from any further disturbance.

A preliminary report was issued in March (available here), in response to which Trent biology professor Erica Nol wrote:

I am stunned at the ages that were determined through coring. Very impressive.  The old white cedar started its life before the US became an independent country! Detailed study of the stand of trees will likely show many insect associates of old growth forests as well.

This 28 page report was completed without funding. If you appreciate it please donate and receive a charitable tax receipt, it will allow us to continue with our many forest conservation endeavours!