A Forest Perspective

A Forest Perspective

By Paul Masterson

Driving the roads of Tiny, one is always conscious of forest stands of various species composition ranging from conifers (pines and spruces), hardwood stands (maple, oak, beech, ash an cherry) to mixed stands of both softwood and hardwood species.

The forests of Tiny are a small part of the 10,533 hectares of forest tracks located throughout Simcoe County. If one should compact these forest tracks into one block, it would cover a squared area with the corners located in Barrie, Orillia, Wasaga Beach and Victoria Harbour.

Since 1922, when Simcoe County in agreement with the Provincial government, established a County forest, over 20 million trees have been planted. Those healthy “man-made” forest stands you drive by on the various County and Township roads range back in age as far as 70 years. The prime species planted were red pine (90% of the time) with white pine, scotch pine, norway spruce, white spruce and jack pine making up the rest of the stock.

Consequently, red pine stands form 38% of all forests in Simcoe County with hard maple at 17% and poplar at 14%. Other stands include red oak, ash, cherry and beech. The balance of the other forest types includes soft woods such as spruce, white pine and jack pine. Of course, today, the frequency of (Christmas) tree stands is a common sight with spruce and scotch pine dominating.

For what are they managed?

The forests of Simcoe County, including Tiny, are managed as a “working forest”, on an integrated, multiple-use, sustainable basis. This provides the wood using industries in Simcoe County with lumber, poles, veneer and pulp.

To clarify, integrated resource management aims to minimize conflicting interest so as to benefit several programs. At the same time, while encouraging multiple-use of forests, it recognizes that, in some instances, within certain time frames, management for a single purpose is necessary.

In the broader environmental perception, these forests are managed as habitat for wild life which includes: white tailed deer, snowshoe hare, game birds and other animals.

These same forests play an invaluable roll in water and soil conservancy. They act as a great reservoir and clarifier for the surface and groundwater that feed Simcoe’s creeks, rivers, lakes and bays.

Of course, the forest tracks also provide recreational opportunities for hiking, birding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, picnicing, dog sledding and hunting.

Source: Ministry of Natural Resources, Midhurst