EEB 337H - Families of Vascular Plants 

The forest of many names...


Acer saccharum (sugar maple) and Pinus strobus (white pine);
not to same scale - original images © Royal Ontario Museum 1997.

The mixed forest region of Ontario is also known as the northern conifer-hardwood forest, and the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence forest region. The first two of these names can be explained by looking at the tabular comparison with the deciduous forest. The third name describes the geographic extent of this forest region. It is worth noting that although it is described as a forest region, in fact where local conditions (e.g. vernal flooding, summer drought) are unfavorable for the growth of trees there are scattered pockets of grassland, tallgrass prairie.

Like the deciduous forest, much of the mixed forest has been destroyed by agriculture and urbanization. Moreover, virtually all of the region has been cut for lumber or pulpwood at some time. As a result, 23 species of vascular plants are at risk in this region. That said, forests in this region are sought after for a variety of recreational uses, and this tends to contribute to their preservation as more or less natural habitat for plants, animals, and fungi.

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| What are plant families? | How do we distinguish them? | How and why do we study them? | Selected vascular plant families of Ontario | Reading List | Course outline |

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© 2008 Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and 2000-2006 Botany Department, University of Toronto.

Please send your comments to tim.dickinson@utoronto.ca; last updated 29-Sep-2008