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Green Forest

Our Mission

AFER's mission is to carry out research and education programs that lead to the identification, description, application and protection of ancient or, intact forested landscapes. An ancient forested landscape is a forest-dominant area absent of logging, mining and hydroelectric activities. In addition to forests, these landscapes are home to a combination of ecosystem types such as lakes, streams, wetlands and non-forested terrestrial ecosystems.

Our Goals

To conduct research on the ecology and protection of ancient forested landscapes

To provide grassroots conservation organizations with credible information for use in advocating for improved forest landscape protection policies

To educate the public about ancient forested landscapes

To provide support for students to carry out studies of ancient forested landscapes

To provide opportunities for members of the public to directly experience ancient forested landscapes through field courses, camps, student internships and other programs


Ancient Forest Exploration & Research (AFER) was created by Dr. Peter Quinby and a small board of directors in 1992 as a non-profit, charitable organization to address the loss of Ontario’s ancient forest landscapes.

The concept of AFER can be traced back to the Temagami Wilderness Society’s “Tall Pines Project”, which began in 1988 and was directed by Dr. Quinby until early 1991. The objective of the Tall Pines Project was to locate and study old-growth white and red pine forests, particularly in the Temagami region of Ontario.

In order to continue studies of ancient pine forests in Temagami following the closing of the Temagami Wilderness Society (now Earthroots), the Ancient Forest Project was created as a program of the Algonquin Wildlands League in the spring of 1991. This project operated until January of 1992 when AFER was created, eventually becoming incorporated in March of 1992.

Since 1992, AFER has been conducting research and educating the public about ancient forests. The goal is to increase our understanding of some of the last, truly natural forest landscapes remaining in eastern North America. From 1990-2003, AFER’s field work was assisted by Earthwatch volunteer citizen scientists on 13-day research expeditions in the ancient forest. Currently, AFER is working closely with the Ontario Wilderness Committee to obtain protected status for Canada's largest documented old-growth eastern hemlock forest, which remains unprotected.

AFER is not an advocacy group; it is a research and education organization.

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