Knarled maple, courtesy of Richard Goodick
Maples, courtesy of Duncan Campbell
Raccoon hiding in an old maple, courtesy of Keith McKenzie
Approximately 27 % of the Grand Lake Meadows area is described as forested
land (Roberts, 1992). Much of this floodplain forest is classed as wetland
based, primarily on the species of vegetation that are present, soil
characteristics and hydrology and drainage patterns.
wetlands are dominated by Silver Maple in the over story, along with Green
Ash and American Elm. The shrub layer is primarily Speckled Alder, Black
Holly, and Green Ash and Silver Maple saplings. The main plant species on
floor of these forests are Sensitive Fern and Ostrich Fern.
On slightly higher ground, with better drainage and dryer soils, the forest
is no longer classed as a wetland even though many of the same plant
species are present. Here, along with Silver Maple and Green Ash, American
Elm is more abundant and other tree species such as Red Oak, Red Maple,
Butternut and Yellow Birch are present.
Extensive Silver Maple forest
stands are restricted primarily to floodplain habitats and those along the
St. John River represent much of this forest type in New Brunswick. These
floodplain forests probably support the greatest diversity of wildlife
species per unit area of any of the habitat types found in the Meadows.
example, the mature maples in addition to some butternut and bur oak which
are adapted to high and frequent flooding, provide valuable habitat for
tree-nesting waterfowl, for other birds and for many small mammals.
floodplain forest has been harvested for generations, primarily by local
landowners for fuel wood and more recently for hardwood pulp and commercial
fuel wood production. It is critical to the wildlife populations of the
Grand Lake Meadows that these floodplain forests be conserved.