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Trees

As you walk the trails, look for several varieties of large trees, including hemlock, cedar, paper birch and white pine. Trees are a prominent and defining feature of a landscape and ecosystem.

As you walk look for differences among the trees in the woodland.

On the higher, drier ground there are mainly hardwoods: sugar maple, walnut, ash, oak, and butternut. There are also the invasive species, buckthorn and Norwegian maple.

On the lower, wetter areas of the fen, there are softwoods such as cedar and tamarack. There are also water-tolerant hardwoods: red maple, willow, alder and swamp oak.

What is the difference between hardwoods and softwoods?

The distinction is botanical rather than physical. All needle-leaved, cone-bearing trees are scientifically classified as softwoods, while broad-leaved, deciduous trees are classified as hardwoods.

However, balsa, a deciduous tree that is classified as a hardwood, is actually the lightest and softest of all woods. Boxwood, a dense, slow-growing conifer that is classified as a softwood, is the second hardest wood in the world!

Did You Know?

Trees are the longest-living organisms on the planet. Near the Garry Fen Trail, you will find trees that are more than 100 years old. Trees are one of the world’s greatest resources:

❍ They produce approximately 20% of the atmosphere’s oxygen.
❍ Their extensive root systems prevent soil erosion.
❍ They regulate and improve water quality, provide shade and store carbon.
❍ As they grow and decay they build the soil.

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