9 Oct 2018 7:00 pm

OFNC Monthly Meeting

7:00 p.m. Social

7:30 p.m. Presentation

Speaker: Owen Clarkin, Chair, Conservation Committee

Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Red Spruce (Picea rubens) is a long-lived climax-forest conifer tree and one of three spruces native to eastern Canada.  Often considered primarily a Maritime provinces species associated with the Acadian Forest Type, its presence in Ontario was confirmed relatively late, only in the mid-20th century.  Despite subsequent recognized importance to the province’s forestry industry and ecology, the population numbers and geographic distribution of Red Spruce in Ontario has been and largely still is a bit mysterious and under-studied.

One could reasonably claim that Red Spruce has been underappreciated to date: heavily cut for forestry from the 1950s onward and uncommonly replanted for reforestation or ornament, the remaining trees to be found today in the province are a small fraction of the historical population.  However, factors of change ranging from climate to introduced pests of other kinds of trees indicate that the relative importance of Red Spruce to the natural ecosystem may be increasing as we look toward the future.  It is time to get better acquainted with Red Spruce, and see what sets it apart from its better-known cousins White Spruce and Black Spruce (and for that matter, the exotic Norway and Blue Spruces).

We will explore the natural history of Red Spruce and its associated ecology in Ontario, with a focus on the Ottawa district, beginning with the history of the species in the province right up to the still evolving current picture.