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Forest Ecology

  • Situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine and designated as Natural Core Area in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
  • Northumberland County is 36% forested and the County Forest is 3% of that area
  • About 60% of the Forest has been re-planted and the remainder is naturally regenerated
  • Much of the Forest's soil is Pontypool series sand


Wildlife that are commonly seen in the forest include White-tailed Deer Coyote, Eastern Chipmunk, Red Squirrel and Porcupine. Less commonly, one might catch a glimpse of a Fisher or Black Bear.
A large number of birds call the Northumberland County Forest home. Throughout the summer the forest is filled with the songs of Eastern Wood-Pewee, Hermit Thrush, Ovenbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Overhead you will also hear Ravens, Red-shouldered Hawk and Broad-winged Hawks and in the evening you might find Common Nighthawks and Whip-poor-wills. The Forest's conifer plantations are also home to locally uncommon species such as Nashville Warbler, Magnolia Warbler and Golden-crowned Kinglet as well as Red and White-winged Crossbill when there are cone crops.  


About two- thirds of the forest is made up of pine trees planted within the past 100 years.  The remainder has been harvested at some point in time but is naturally regenerated, usually mixed deciduous, forest.  Trees of the Forest include black cherry, black oak, white oak, red oak, white pine, red pine, jack pine, sugar maple, red maple, eastern white cedar, eastern hemlock, poplar species, white birch, and yellow birch. As well, there are almost 300 native plants in the Forest. Significant plant species include Canada bluegrass, sand dropseed, wormwood, big blue stem, Indian grass, New Jersey tea, wild bergamot, butterfly milkweed, trilliums, sharp leaved goldenrod, panic grass, prairie buttercup, yellow flax, and cylindrical blazing star. 


Black Oak Savannah

The forest is also home to remnant Black Oak Savannahs. Black Oak Savannah is a very rare habitat in Ontario. Prior to European settlement, there was about 80,000 hectares of prairie and savannah in Southern Ontario. Today, less than two percent of this landscape remains. We are working hard to protect, restore and maintain Black Oak Savannah in the Northumberland County Forest

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