Environment / Ecology
The key factor in the ecology of the “Big River Country” is its history of widespread wildfires. These natural disturbances have influenced the make-up of the boreal forest from the leading tree species to the groundcover. Large patches of almost even aged lodgepole pine are sporadically interspersed with other conifers like black and white spruce, while in more recent burns and on the side hills of lakes and river valleys trembling aspen are dominant. This mosaic has been somewhat altered in recent years by the mountain pine beetle infestation.
But there is more to a forest than just trees, and depending on different growing conditions there is great diversity in the plant communities that comprise the forest understory. From shrubs, berries, and wildflowers to mushrooms, mosses and lichens, there is an infinite variety of plant life to explore in the boreal forest.
Slowly meandering creeks and rivers created an abundance of meadows and wetlands in this area. Maybe not as visually attractive as other features of the forest landscape, they provide critical habitat for all type of wildlife. They also act as filters for sediments and pollutants and regulators of runoff and floodwater.
Big River Country’s lakes, creeks and streams are home to flourishing aquatic communities. The shores are rimmed with dense marsh vegetation such as sedges, cattails, and bulrushes providing ideal habitats for waterfowl, small mammals, amphibians, insects, freshwater shrimp and small fish. Away from the shore a diverse community of fish preys on the invertebrates of the deeper water.
Please ask for our educational brochure: “The Living Forest of Big River Country”