Introduction to Algonquin Park Habitats - Deciduous Forest
Deciduous Forest

Deciduous Forest  
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:

Suggested Reading
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:

Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park
Of all the living things that inhabit Algonquin Provincial Park, none are more important than the trees. Trees are by far the largest living things in the Park and they almost completely blanket the landscape. With a little practice you can quickly become adept at identifying all of Algonquin's trees, and this will open the door to understanding the fascinating world of Algonquin Provincial Park.

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Birds of Algonquin Provincial Park
Many visitors to Algonquin Park are unaware that it offers a unique opportunity for seeing and hearing the birds of Ontario. This book will introduce you to the main habitats of the Park and to many of the common species, 77 in all. Through colour photographs and short accounts we hope to encourage you to discover and enjoy them for yourself.

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Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park
Anyone who visits Algonquin Park during the spring and summer will see wildflowers. The Park has many different habitats within its borders and each area has its own distinct wildflowers. This book has over 55 colour photographs of the most common wildflowers in the Park, and will give you an idea of the incredible richness and beauty of the plant world and how important plants are to the ecology of Algonquin Park.

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Hardwood Lookout Trail Guide
Hardwood Forest Ecology

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Mammals of Algonquin Provincial Park
Fifty-three species of mammals have been found in Algonquin Provincial Park. This book explains the life history of these mammals. The many illustrations help to make it easier to identify them, and the book also contains a useful reference chart for distinguishing tracks and scats.

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