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Flashcards in The Boreal forest Deck (89):

The boreal forest has?

Lots of forest and lots of relief, about 25% of Ontario is boreal forest.


What does the boreal forest lie on?

Entirely on the Canadian shield, but the Canadian shield houses other regions as well


What is the boreal forest dominated by?

By coniferous trees (black spruce, white spruce and balsam fir) and really old rocks. most common minerals include silica and quartz hard and generally acidic.


What is the southern boundary?

is the great lakes st lawrence forest region


What trees are absent in the boreal forest?

white pine and red pine both virtually absent



Warmer, a long growing season, more precipitation, more relief, a diversity of glacial gifts and developed mineral/organic soil layer


Characteristics of black spruce

Spindly, round needles


Characteristics of white spruce

Fuller growth than black spruce, round needles


Characteristics of balsam fir

Spire shape (sharp point) and flat needles. has a chemical in it that stops insects from maturing


Red squirrels

eat spruce cones


Deer mice

found in the boreal forest, use the subnivean space to burrow in the snow


What are the 3 predatory birds and when do they hunt?

Great gray owl, northern hawk owl, boreal owl. They all live in the same habitat but hunt at different times. Great grays hunt in the early morning and late afternoon (crepuscular), and northern hawk hunts during the day, boreal owl most nocturnal. Called niche partitioning


what bird eat seeds from spruce cones and are nomadic and irruptive?

White winged cross bills (can be absent and then plentiful)


Boreal chickadee

Eat seeds and insects, does not migrate


What bird stores their food in spruces under loose bark or lichens and has amazing spatial memory?

Gray jays (not shy)


What is the main group of small herbivore insects

sawfly larvae


One boreal forest bird eats spruce needles, which one?

spruce grouse


Moose eat?

balsam fir needles


Snowshoe hares

eat a variety of plants including balsam fir
Can have 3 or 4 litters in one summer, can start giving birth at 1 year of age. Up to 5-16 bunnies in a litter.They have great fluctuations in their numbers with a peak approximately every 10 years.Causes for crash include: Starvation possibly, predation (big factor because predator population was growing as well), disease, sex ratio. Predators of snowshoe hare: red fox, martens and fishers, birds (great horned owls), lynx- same population pattern as hare but a year delayed, some years they are scarce. Stress induced hormonal changes are also important


Spruce and balsam fir needles are food for a very famous caterpillar, which one?

spruce budworm (native). • Spruce budworms actually enhance the survival of spruce (spruce are much more valuable than balsam fir). They also affect the survival of birds.


What are the 3 species of budworm warblers

Tennessee warbler (feeds on the outer edges top of the tree)
Cape may warbler (feeds higher up in the middle of the tree)
Bay breasted warbler (feeds in the middle of trees and probes for caterpillars)


One other type of bird also benefits from outbreaks of budworms, which one?

White throated sparrows (two colour morphs: white striped and tan striped most pairs are mixed-one of each type)


How can you tell species of bark beetles apart

by the pattern they make as they chew paths in the wood.
-Flat headed borer
-Jewel beetle
-Longhorn beetles (grubs) bore deeper into the wood


What do porcupines and beavers eat?

The bark of poplar trees


Where are serpentine miners found?

in poplar leaves


What do luna moth and Canadian tiger swallowtail caterpillars eat?

poplar leaves


What do forest tent caterpillars eat?

they love deciduous leaves like poplars and birches


What is an integral part of the boreal forest ecology?



Dead trees (from fire) are an important resource for what insect?

beetle grubs
Smoke detectors near base of legs (as their flying they lift their leg to detect smoke/dead wood)
Some longhorn beetles detect pheromones of bark beetles to know where to lay their eggs


What bird feeds on beetles that are in dead trees?

American three toed woodpeckers, Vacant holes are taken over by trees swallows, they are called cavity adopters (benefit from the woodpeckers, who benefitted from the beetles, who benefited from the dead trees)


What types of ducks are cavity adopters?

Common golden eye, Hooded mergansers (females have a crest on the head, males have a hooded head) they have serrated teeth for catching fish


how do northern flying squirrels benefit indirectly from fires?

They use the dead trees and the cavities


What types of plants thrive in recently burned areas?

fireweed (dispersed by wind), and is joined by plants like elderberry


How are blueberries dispersed?

by bear (fires create excellent forging habitats for bears) or animal droppings, animals that disperse seeds internally restart the growth process in burnt areas


How do poplars reproduce vegetatively

cloning, Poplars are shade tolerant but spruces and balsam fir can grow in partial shade (succession induced by forest fires)


Why do beavers build a damn?

They can eat in safety (bring their food back to the water)
Safe access to resources
Easier to transport material In water
Water deep enough to not freeze to bottom


How are beaver ponds nutrient sinks?

beavers defecate in the water, bringing materials from shore and adding organic material to the pond. Beavers play an essential role in enhancing the nutrients of ponds.


What animals benefit from the sodium plants in beaver ponds?

Big animals like moose get sodium from plants in beaver ponds. Aquatic plants have 10x more sodium than land plants.


Why were beavers trapped for fur?

Beavers were also trapped for furs, but different from marten and fishers because beaver ponds were easily located, not as nomadic as martens. Their underfur was used for hats.Beaver colonies were easily trapped almost to the point of extinction in North America.
The very first animal to appear on a stamp was a beaver
Beavers have a special status in Canada: their our national animal


Describe beavers

They are vegetarian, love aquatic plants
Have an incredible nose for identifying their food. Beavers can identify different types of trees by the smell of their trunk.
Beavers have nose, eyes and ears in a line at the top of their head to have all their sense above water when they come to the surface
Tail: scaley texture, can be used as a rudder for steering, keeps them cool in the summertime.


What is the Wonderful net?

A complex net of connecting arteries and veins which bring arm blood to the heart but cold blood to the tail, maintaining the temperature of the tail just above freezing so that not a lot of energy is wasted in an attempt to keep the tail warm.


What are the two main functions of the beaver's Tail?

It is used as a third leg/stool, and also used for communication (the beaver tail slap)


Beavers have two types of tail slaps, what are they?

An alarm slap which warns other beaver colonies of danger, or also to startle the predator.

Also a deep dive frightened slap which is done before the beavers disappear into the pond for up to 15 minutes


Why are beavers' teeth orange?

Their teeth are strong and rich in Iron


What are major features of the Beavers' teeth?

They never stop growing, but because of wear and tear they stay the same length. Also the teeth self-sharpen


While using its teeth, how does a beaver chew on a tree?

Beavers use one tooth only to chew a tree - Top Tooth latches on tree and the bottom cuts, then they alternate sides


What do beavers have on their second innermost claw?

A double nail, which could have various uses.


How many generations live in a beaver colony?

Three. However, when beavers reach 2 years of age, other members of the colony will drive them out in order to make room for new young.


What bugs live on the top of the water in Beaver ponds?

Whirligigs that have half of their eyes above water and half below. They can also dive and hold their breath


What are midges?

Fly Larvae


Define Eclosion.

The transformation from nymph to adult fly


Midges and other Fly larvae are food for what types of insects?

Predatory flies and Dragonflies


What are skimmers?

Types of Dragonflies that lay their eggs in still water systems (four spot skimmer, half-fronted skimmer, Beaverpond skimmer)


What other predators feed on the flies in Beaver ponds?

American Toads (which only come to ponds in spring to mate and lay eggs), Wood frog (freeze tolerant), Leopard frog (not freeze tolerant, lives in pond year round), Mink Frog (Also lives in the pond all year round)


How do Beaver ponds affect the nutrient levels in the Boreal Forest?

when there is a lot of rain, the nutrients of the bottom get exposed to oxygen and flow down in the overflow and then spread nitrogen and phosphorous into other parts of the boreal forest


What is the reason for the thousands of lakes in the Boreal forest?



Many of the lakes in the Boreal Forest are full of what kind of fish?

Trout, which are eaten by plenty of predatory birds (bald eagles and osprey)


What kinds of birds like fish?

Common Mergansers eat larger fish and are mainly found in lakes, Lunes also live in the boreal forest and eat fish


Which gender of Merganser stays with the eggs and young?

The female, because they are independent ducks that dont need no male


Where do Loons nest?

They nest on islands because there are fewer predators - males also stick around and both parents care for the young.


What is Xanthoria?

A lichen that grows on Canadian Shield rock when there are bird droppings present because there is calcium present


Why do Female Moose swim?

They swim in Ice cold water to get to islands because their calves are vulnerable to predatory animals (black bears)


Streams and Rapids are habitats for what kind of feeder?

Filter-feeders such as the Net-spinning Caddisflies which build nets as larvae to filter out food for them


What is the driest and warmest part of the Boreal Forest?

The Western/Prairie Boreal Forest because of the strong westerly wind which comes in and are warm and dry


What are some characteristics of Jack Pine?

Their Needles grow in pairs, they have a twisted and gnarly growth form, Their cones cannot be opened by cross bills or red squirrels


How are Jack Pine seeds dispersed?

Their cones need heat to open up and have a delayed reaction (serotinous) after a burn that creates a temperature of at least 50 degrees C.


What do forest fires do to the soil?

They burn organic material (duff layer) and exposes the mineral soil which lies beneath


What type of birds benefit from burns?

Sharp-tailed grouse and Kirklands warbler which nest only in jack pines (5-15 years old, 2-5m tall)


How do Black spruce trees survive forest fires?

They have two types of cones. The cones at the top part of the trunk are semi-serotinous cones which also need heat to open


What kind of insect (that we all hate) is found in peatlands?

Mosquitoes. They lay their eggs in damp spots in the forests


What reptiles/amphibians benefit from wetter areas?

Garder Snakes (red sided) and painted turtles


What is the Woodland Caribou Provincial park's namesake?

The caribou which gather in large numbers to this area in the fall and winter.


What kind of plants are found in Wabakimi Provincial park?

Bunchberry, Canada Mayflower, Clintonia or Bluebead lily. (these plants like acidity and coniferous cover)


Wabakimi is wetter than Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, why is this?

The prairie effect is weaker, therefore, there is more precipitation (60-70cm annually, 10cm more than Woodland Caribou)


What are some Characteristics of the Superior Boreal?

Great Lake moderates the winter temperatures because water warms and cools slower than land does, Some of the highest elevation in Ontario - 563m above sea level (sleeping Giant land mass)


What are some predators tat feed on prey in the beaver pond?

Mink, great blue herrings


Features of the western boreal/prairie boreal

The elevations are not very high
Thin soil and exposed rock 2.3 billion year old rocks
Western boreal is the driest and warmest part of the boreal (strong winds- warm and dry)
Less precipitation and more warmth


What is green ash?

a prairie variety of red ash


What wildflower is an indicator species for the western boreal?

Prairie crocus


What trees are dominant in the western boreal?

black spruce and jack pine


What predatory cat do we have in the western boreal?



What type of chimpunk do we see in the boreal?

least chipmunk


Fire is a major ecological force in the western boreal, on average how often do fires occur?

every 50-100 years


Why so many fires in the western boreal?

Low amount of annual precipitation
High number of lightning storms in western boreal
Relatively flat land and winds from prairies
Conifers are full of resin and burn well


Is there muskeg in the western boreal?

No, it is too hot and dry


What is an indicator flower for coniferous, acidic forests (not just the boreal)

the pink lady's slipper orchid


What are blow downs?

When trees fall over, blow downs are a feature of thin soil and strong winds.


Why are woodland caribou park and wabakimi really important?

because they are both protected from logging which in turn protects the boreal forest


Features of the superior boreal

Lots of relief, lake superior moderates winter temperature because water warms and cools more slowly than land (called the lake effect). Lake superior also depresses summer temperatures giving coastal summers. The north shore has some of the highest elevations in ON (the sleeping giant, 563m above sea level)