As well, Wolf Lake Forest is important for informing future restoration practices, the study says. "Ecological restoration relies on an excellent understanding of what 'natural' forests are and how they behave", Anand said.
"Even forestry is playing copycat in recent years, focusing on harvest techniques that emulate natural disturbances to minimize ecological disruption," she said. "As the largest natural old-growth red pine forest, Wolf Lake can serve as a standard of ecological integrity."
The knowledge gained will be useful not just for ecological studies but also for industry and government, said Anand, who holds a University Research Chair in Sustainability Science and was the Canada Research Chair in Biocomplexity of the Environment and Global Ecological Change for 10 years.
The research also involved former and current students in Anand's research lab: M. Waseem Ashiq, Jacob Cecile, Arundhati Das, Mark Leithead, Lucas Silva, Christopher Wagner, and Cara Bulger, as well as leading forest ecologists from Quebec.
David Sone, a U of G graduate and forest campaigner for Earthroots, an environmental organization protecting Ontario's wilderness, wildlife and watersheds, said the research makes "invaluable contribution" to public discussion of the issue.
"This paper provides the most rigorous scientific argument to date on the ecological importance of the Wolf Lake ancient red pine forest," he said.
"By establishing that the Wolf Lake old-growth forest meets the technical definition of an endangered ecosystem, these leading researchers ha
|Contact: Madhur Anand|
University of Guelph