Snake Creek old-growth forest

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#1)  Snake Creek old-growth forest

Postby mhenry » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:07 pm

On a tip from a friend I skied in about 5 km on snowmobile trails in central Ontario (east of Bancroft on Hwy 28) - coordinates and map link on http://www.ancientforest.org/forest-info/?Num=133. I was mostly skiing through pretty young forest with a lot of aspen, but my friend had cored a white cedar in there at >250 years old. The whole area is unprotected crown land.
               
                       
IMG_0169_2.jpg
                       
estimated ~200 yr-old cedar
               
               

When I got in there I realized that most of the old forest was swamp forest adjacent to Snake Creek - the trees are smallish for their age, but appeared to be mostly around 150-200-year-old cedars, with the occasional tamarack. I couldn't resist coring one of the tamaracks - I missed the center by maybe 5 years, but still counted 161 rings, putting it at about 180 years (using a probably conservative 15 years for breast height). It was 37 cm diameter and 20.1 m tall.
               
                       
IMG_0154.jpg
                       
180-yr-old tamarack
               
               


Found a nice but small upland grove just off the trail, with some larger cedars and a few yellow birches, and a basswood showing phenomenal characteristics of age - beauty sinuous trunk.
               
                       
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Basswood!
               
               

               
                       
IMG_0192.jpg
                                       
               


All in all a nice day. There might be more to see in there, the bush is pretty thick and hard to get around it in winter, but I suspect the upland forest is pretty limited.
Last edited by mhenry on Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bbeduhn, Erik Danielsen, Larry Tucei
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#2)  Re: Snake Creek old-growth forest

Postby wisconsitom » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:25 pm

Good stuff.  Always interesting to me to read of an account from Canada, and then to read the latitude data and see it is identical to that of my property in Wisconsin, USA.  And where I am, there are very, very large old white cedars in the swamp.  I'm not on your guy's league as far as tree measurement, but I do know of some good candidates for study.  In fact, the twenty-acre parcel next to ours-we tried to buy it buy it were a dollar short and a day late-is where the real big ones are.  For reference, just a few miles east of the tiny town of Suring, WI in Oconto County.  Big-time cedar country.

The one tamarack, if that old, is noteworthy.  Among the larch, singularly not a long-lived species......that's far older than anything I've ever heard about.
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#3)  Re: Snake Creek old-growth forest

Postby mhenry » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:06 pm

Yes, the tamarack was a highlight for me - in any case it's certainly older than 161 - age to reach breast height is just an average, could be more or less than 15 years. It's the first time I've cored one, and I've never heard of anyone else coring one, so maybe that's why there aren't a lot of old ones recorded. Larch sawfly has mostly restricted it to wetlands since late 1800's, so they aren't usually a large tree anymore, and easily overlooked. Oldest is 371 according to this http://www.conifers.org/pi/Larix_laricina.php

I kind of wish I'd cored the basswood, though I wonder if it would have been rotten in the middle.

I'd love to see the big old cedars in your area, one of my favourite forest types - usually no one knows exactly how old they are because the big ones are always hollow! How is that, when the wood is so rot resistant, anyway?
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#4)  Re: Snake Creek old-growth forest

Postby Larry Tucei » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:53 pm

Wow really interesting!  I always knew northern trees grew slower and the larger tamarack I've seen in Douglas County Wis. were old just wasn't sure how old. I've been going up north for the last 15 years and have seen some really cool trees up that way. It makes me wonder how old a 36" Dia Sugar Maple would be? Same question on a 36" Basswood and Red Oak. I would guess 150-200 years. Just one post I've done of many from Wisconsin. viewtopic.php?f=132&t=5896   Thanks for sharing.  Larry
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#5)  Re: Snake Creek old-growth forest

Postby wisconsitom » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:15 pm

Thanks mhenry.  You make a good point-who has actually cored a bunch of tamaracks?  My statement without attribution was next to meaningless.  I don't know the ages of large tamaracks I see.

The white cedar in the swamp of which we own a small part, are very often growing in direct association-companionship really-with very large and still living paper birch.  It is as if the two trees started together in exactly the same spot, their trunks now leaning and intertwining with each other.  There must be six or eight examples of just exactly that in this swamp.  Those birch are likely of notable size for their species as well.  Exceedingly cool, moist area, full of springs which run all winter, even in this dastardly cold climate......that's what white cedar likes-cool, moist conditions, with flowing groundwater rich in cations like calcium and magnesium.  I believe these conditions are being met in the area I reference.
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