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Image by Grant Durr

Stewart's Woods Old Growth Forest

“Stewart's Woods is a beautiful mixed forest on sandy loam soils.  It is dominated by enormous White Pine that form a classic super-canopy over a mixed canopy of Hemlock, Red Maple and Sugar Maple.  It was allegedly never clearcut (P. Burke, pers. comm. with neighbouring farmer), and has not been selectively logged at least since it was donated to the Conservation Authority.  [It]…is relatively small and located within a predominantly agricultural landscape.”

“Stewart's Woods has very large trees, and a marked concentration of stems more than 49 centimetres in diameter.  It was remarkable in having the highest basal area of any woodland sampled.  Its age is unknown, but a White Pine 50 centimetres in diameter was a minimum of 114 years old.  The large Oak and White Pine suggest that the stand was disturbed or opened more than 120 years ago but the prevalence of Hemlock suggests that any initiating disturbance was relatively slight, or it would likely be absent.  White Pine seedlings, but not saplings, were observed.  Although downed logs were not large they were very frequent, and snags were occasional.”

“Stewart’s Woods is an exceptional place to experience all that a woodland has to offer.  It was one of the best conifer woodlands examined during this study.  Its White Pine super-canopy and dense Hemlock regeneration suggest that it is original old growth.  The Conservation Authority plans to conserve the site as old growth (J. Williams, pers. comm.) and they and the original donor should be commended for doing so.”

From Larson, B. M., J. L. Riley, E. A. Snell and H. G. Godschalk.  1999.  The Woodland Heritage of Southern Ontario: A Study of Ecological Change, Distribution and Significance.  Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Don Mills, Ontario.

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