The altitude brings to the high Appalachian Mountains a climate usually found a few hundred kilometers more to the north of the province. These conditions are the reason behind the presence of a boreal forest in the park, with the natural presence of trees of all ages. When getting older, these conifers become more sensitive to different disturbances destroying old trees and allowing for the rejuvenation of the forest, such as windfall, forest fire or bud worm epidemic. The human activities, such as intensive logging, also contribute to rarefy the presence of mature trees. Some species thriving in rejuvenated environments benefit from these disturbances while the preservation of other species, depending on mature coniferous forests to survive, might be jeopardized.
HERE in the park
On the south shore of the St Lawrence river, the boreal forest is limited to the upper part of high mountain ranges and houses wildlife species typically found in the vast Nordic forests. In the heart of Massif du Sud regional park, the Claude Mélançon ecological reserve, named after an active naturalist in the science popularization and nature conservation fields, covers 535 hectares. The reserve covers the west side of the Saint-Magloire mountain, with its highest point at 917 meters. As any human activities, including logging or leisure, are prohibited in the ecological reserve area, the forest counts a diverse population of trees, including ancient trees, stumps and decomposing trees on the ground. These elements are vital for a number of species using them as food resources and shelters for reproduction or protection from predators.
Did you know?
Certain bird species, seldom found in the south areas of the St Lawrence river, have been listed in Massif du Sud regional park : Spruce grouse, black-backed woodpecker, fox sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, yellow-bellied flycatcher, golden-crowned kinglet, evening grosbeak, red crossbill, white-winged crossbill, northern parula and blackpoll warbler. All these species thrive in the park only because of the mature coniferous forests, a rarefied habitat because of intensive logging activities.
For example, the northern parula needs arboreal lichen growing on mature conifers to build its nest while the crossbill almost exclusively feeds on conifer seeds found on abundantly on tall trees and the black-backed woodpecker catches insects by digging holes in senescent or dead conifers.