ATTAWANDARON NATURE PARK -Walking time: 15 min. This park is characterized by its mature tree community and thick ground cover of Canadian Yew, fern species and wildflowers. It has been fortunate to be preserved in its mature forest state with little evidence of logging or disturbance due to residential development.
(1) Sensitive Fern is a colonial plant which is well represented in moist woodlands of the Point Clark area. This colony of Sensitive Fern is bordered by Canada Yew, the most common ground cover in the park. It is growing amidst a stand of Sugar Maple, Hemlock, Yellow Birch and White Ash.
(2) A recent lightning strike or strong gust of wind was responsible for this mature hemlock deadfall. Heartrot, a common disease of older trees, increased the Hemlock's vulnerability to storm damage. This tree will play an important role in nutrient recycling as microorganisms, fungi and insects will slowly bring about its decomposition into organic matter and nutrients that will be utilized by other plants for growth. In this way, new plants develop from old as part of a natural process within the ecosystem.
(3) Mature woodlands typically possess three layers of vegetation; 1) the canopy, comprised of tall trees that shade lower layers, 2) the understory made up of saplings, woody vines and tall shrubs, and 3) the ground cover consisting of low shrubs, herbaceous plants and seedlings. This site features a canopy of Yellow Birch, an understory of Mountain Maple and a ground cover of Foam Flower and Woodferns.
(4) This short loop passes by mature specimens of Yellow Birch, Sugar Maple, White Ash and Hemlock.
(5) Previous logging has created this opening in the canopy. Shade tolerant seedlings of American Beech, Sugar Maple and White Ash are evidence of regeneration in this clearing. If left undisturbed, these seedlings may eventually contribute to the canopy cover of the forest.
(6) Notice the decaying log which is a nutrient rich receptive seed bed for seedlings, mosses, lichens and herbaceous plants. In this seed bed, Blue Bead Lily, Goldthread and mosses have established themselves.