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Experience the Forest

In the forest, visitors are offered the magical experiences of living that are at once physical, emotional and spiritual. Now an Urban Forest, Sunnyside Acres is a unique gem of beauty and respite from the bustling world of the cities that surround it.

 

The Forest provides many important ecological services, including air and water purification, rainwater runoff control, groundwater infiltration, and habitat for plants and wildlife, including the headwaters for Anderson Creek and Elgin Creek, a salmon bearing stream. The Forest also has intrinsic value; it is an integral part of our community, providing us with important recreational and educational opportunities, and spiritual experiences.

 

Research indicates that spending time in nature provides us with many health benefits, and is particularly critical for young developing minds. Visit Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest for a family, group, or individual experience.

For information on trails and park features, please refer to the Sunnyside Acres Self-Guided Trails Map and Brochure (map can be found in "Trail Map" tab in website menu).

What is a Forest?

Written by Dr. Roy Strang PhD,RPF,[ret'd]

A forest is any tract of land where trees are the dominant vegetation along with associated shrubs, ground vegetation, fungi  and lichens plus an assemblage of animals, birds and insects. It can be of  any size, from a few hectares to many hundreds of square kilometres. It can contain one main species or a  mixture of both deciduous trees  and conifers. Forests can be of any age, from youngest stands to old mature ones.

Geographically and on the broadest scale, four forest types are  recognized: tropical, made up of  several  scattered broad-lived and deciduous  species; temperate, predominantly  broad-leaved but with an admixture of conifers; boreal, with mostly conifers; and plantations, usually of a single species.

Forests are classed by age only for management purposes. They can be  undisturbed but few if any remain and, in North America, only the extreme northern boreal forests qualify as pristine; young or immature stands are called ‘second growth’ following disturbance even when old and mature; and truly old growth forests have long recovered from disturbance and are characterized by  a mixture of healthy and diseased, decrepit or moribund stems.

Soil type, hydrologic regime and local environment  strongly influence  the composition of a forest. For example the coast redwoods of California [Sequoia sempervirens] flourish only because their foliage takes up significant volumes of moisture from mists blowing inland from the Pacific Ocean during the summer dry period.

Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest is a second growth stand following logging around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries so that the oldest trees are now approaching 100 years. The drier portion  [one third of the area] is dominated by Douglas-fir {Pseudotsuga menziesii] with some western red cedar [Thuya plicata]  and hemlock [Tsuga heterophylla]. Since Douglas-fir seedlings require light and mineral soil to become established this stand will, over a long period of time, be dominated predominantly by cedar and hemlock stand. The other,  moister two thirds now support a mixed stand of cottonwood [Populus balsamifera] alder, [Alnus rubra] cedar, hemlock and Douglas-fir. Providing there is no disturbance we can postulate that the conifers  will become increasingly dominant as the shorter-lived  alder and poplar die off.

These slow but inevitable changes illustrate the dynamic nature of forests. They are constantly changing; old growth will succumb to disease or fire or windthrow to be succeeded by an immature young stand. The rate of change is slow and change is gradual so that, from year to year, little difference can be seen but decade by decade the process becomes evident.

何为森林?

森林是以树木为主要植被的地带,它伴有灌木、地面植被,真菌和地衣生长,加之鸟兽动物和昆虫的组合。森林的规模可大可小,从几公顷到几百平方公里。它可能包含一种主要树种,或者由落叶乔木和针叶树混合组成。森林的年龄也可能不同,从最年轻树丛的到成熟的老树。

 

从地理以及在最大的尺度上,人们公认有四种森林类型:热带森林是由若干分散的、广泛分布的落叶物种组成;温带森林主要是阔叶林,但与针叶树种混合;北方森林,要是针叶林;最后一种通常是单一品种的种植园。

 

森林按年龄分类,仅供管理方便之用。有些森林从未受过干扰,但很少。如果有的话是在北美,只有极端北部的北方森林才有资格称为原始森林。年轻或不成熟的树丛被称为“次生林”,受过干扰的森林,即使以后很老很成熟也是次生林。从久远以前干扰中恢复的森林,具有健康的和有病害、衰老和死亡树木混合在一起的特点。

 

土壤类型、水文系统和当地环境强烈影响森林的组成。例如,加州的海岸红杉 [Sequoia sempervirens] 得以蓬勃生长,只是因为夏天旱季期间它们的树叶吸收了从太平洋吹向内陆雾气中的大量水分。

 

Sunnyside Acres 城市森林是 19 世纪和 20 世纪之交的伐木后生长起来的次生林丛,其中最古老的树木现在接近 100 年。这片地区相对干燥的部分(占该地区的三分之一) 由道格拉斯冷杉 [Pseudotsuga menziesii] 与一些西方红雪松 [Thuya plicata] 和铁杉 [Tsuga heterophylla] 为主。由于道格拉斯-杉树苗需要光和矿物土壤来形成林丛,在很长的时期,雪松和铁杉是主要林分。另一部分,比较潮湿的三分之二地区,现在是杨木 [Populus balsamifera]、桤木[Alnus rubra]、雪松、铁杉和道格拉斯冷杉混合树林。只要没有干扰,我们就可以假设针叶树将随着寿命较短的桤木和杨树的死亡而变得越来越占优势。

 

这些缓慢但不可避免的变化说明了森林的动态性质。它们是不断变化的;老树将抵挡不住疾病、火灾或大风,被年轻的树丛取代。变化的速度是缓慢的,渐进的,这样,一年一年地看到的差异很小,但以十年为间隔来看这个过程很明显。

Click here to have an experienced guide take you on an interpretive walk through the Forest.

Have you recently visited the Forest? What was your experience like? Please share your stories with us here.

Inspired to do more? Click here to find out how you can help protect the Forest for future generations.

We are the stewards of Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest