Into the Woods: The Beginning of Spring

Launching with the vernal equinox, Into the Woods takes viewers into the rugged Canadian back country. Learn about wild foods and medicines, the techniques of bushcraft and homesteading, the almost legendary skills of woodsmen to track wildlife and thrive in remote country. Travel by air, horse and canoe to experience the rare beauty of the Canadian woodlands, and visit modern bushmen as well as the heroes engaged in preserving this threatened ecosystem even as industries invade for its last resources.

Today, we begin with a look at how winter helps Maritime forests transition from soft to hardwood and immerse in the first hints of spring upon a frozen landscape.

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Into the Woods: The Beginning of Spring

  1. Kim Lipscomb

    Thanks, wonderful info. Homesick!

  2. Anne Studley

    Interesting you say that the winter enables the forest to transition into hardwood due to the aerial elements taking down the evergreens. Maybe I didn’t get exactly what you were saying, but what about all of those vast boreal forests with zillions of evergreens enduring all kinds of harsh weather, and this past week the birches around Keji were bending over almost double from the ice. They seemed every bit as vulnerable as the evergreens.

    • Trees rely on one another for stability, and specific tree species are adapted to specific environments. A boreal tree is adapted to survive in a boreal environment, and in such an environment millions of spruce work to absorb the wind together. Also, in boreal environments, where the topsoil is shallow and acidic and the ground is hard with permafrost only a foot or two below the surface, boreal trees cannot get very tall. Forests of black and white spruce in the Alaskan interior were rarely ever more than twenty feet tall, though in sheltered valleys and mountainsides safe from the prevailing wind there were exceptions. There is also the matter that boreal environments do not experience the same degree of snowfall that we do here. Alaska, for example, is mostly an arctic/subarctic desert, and snowfall is light compared to here. So the tops of boreal spruce are shorter, stand together in groups for mutual support, and rarely become stressed with top heavy snow-loads. You might email Bob Bancroft about this for more information. He has planted and restored an entire 70 acre forest on his land over 5 decades and is a biologist with copious notes on forest development.

      Regarding the birches you mentioned, it is common that birches (and some other tree species) double over when it freezes. These are younger, more flexible trees. Tie some orange tape to some of them so you can know them when you see them and watch their behavior as spring comes. They will stand back up.

      • Anne Studley

        Thank you for the very interesting education!

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