The deciduous forest (hardwood forest) is the dominant habitat type in Algonquin Park. Covering approximately the western two-thirds of the Park, the deciduous forest is defined by poorly-sorted soils called till that retains water for a long period of time. This soil type was created by deposits left behind by glaciers as they melted about 11,000 years ago.
Since the melting of the glaciers, one tree species has come to dominate this type of soil -- the Sugar Maple. Other tree species that comprise the deciduous forest in Algonquin Park are American Beech, Yellow Birch, Eastern Hemlock, and White Pine. Only a few species of wildflowers are noticeable during summer in the hardwood forest, since most others are hidden from view beneath the soil's surface because they have already completed their growth and reproduction for the year. These include species such as Red Trillium, Painted Trillium, Trout Lily, and Spring Beauty.
If one were to walk through the deciduous forest in the summer months, you might encounter wildlife such as White-tailed Deer, Moose, Black Bear, Eastern Wolf, Ruffed Grouse, Deer Mouse, Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, and Red-eyed Vireo.
As the summer days grow shorter and temperatures become cooler, the deciduous forest comes ablaze with reds, oranges, and yellows by late September to early October. This vivid landscape is a result of deciduous trees drawing chlorophyll (the green pigment in leaves) back into the tree, revealing the brighter pigments left in the leaves. Shortly after the leaves of deciduous trees change colour, they begin to fall to the ground, fertilizing the very trees that produced them.
During the winter months, Algonquin's deciduous forests are not devoid of life. Plant life is protected by an insulating layer of snow, and maple trees remain dormant while many wildlife species feed upon their twigs and bark.
The deciduous forest in any season is a remarkable place. It is also the most widespread habitat in Algonquin Park. To experience Algonquin's deciduous forest, click on the link below.
View a Panorama of a typical Hardwood Forest in the summer
Learn more about Algonquin's habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the Web Site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:
Educators: Learn more about Algonquin’s habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the Web Site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:
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