Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

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Don
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Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Don » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:55 pm

The nine hundred pound gorilla in this report is the Canadian Shield. What the Canadian Shield is, is well-described at http://www.britannica.com, and a snippet follows:

Canadian Shield, one of the world’s largest geologic continental shields, centered on Hudson Bay and extending for 8 million square km (3 million square miles) over eastern, central, and northwestern Canada from the Great Lakes to the Canadian Arctic and into Greenland, with small extensions into northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York, U.S.
The Canadian Shield constitutes the largest mass of exposed Precambrian rock on the face of the Earth. The region, as a whole, is composed of ancient crystalline rocks whose complex structure attests to a long history of uplift and depression, mountain building, and erosion. Some of the ancient mountain ranges can still be recognized as a ridge or belt of hills, but the present appearance of the physical landscape of the Canadian Shield is not so much a result of the folding and faulting and compression of the rocks millions of years ago as it is the work of ice in relatively recent geologic time. During the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago), the vast continental glaciers that covered northern North America had this region as a centre. The ice, in moving to the south, scraped the land bare of its overlying mantle of weathered rock. Some of this material was deposited on the shield when the ice melted, but the bulk of it was carried southward to be deposited south and southwest of the Canadian Shield.
The resulting surface consists of rocky, ice-smoothed hills with an average relief of 30 metres (100 feet), together with irregular basins, which are mostly filled by lakes or swamps. In places the old mountain ranges may be recognized by hills several hundreds of metres in height. The northeastern portion, however, became tilted up so that, in northern Labrador and Baffin Island, the land rises to more than 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) above sea level.


It's been about a month more than a year since my wife Rhonda and I ventured onto the Canadian Shield and spent 5 months in and around Yellowknife, the capitol of the Northwest Territory. For my wife it was an university sabbatical, where she would regather her creative forces and energies, regroup her priorities, network with an expanding group of health care professionals.
For me it was an opportunity to get out into the woods, explore wildernesses, observe wildlife in new environments, canoe endless lakes and portages, and take on the feared mosquitos. But for the last, I was totally pleased with my opportunities, but it is with NO sadness that I found NO mosquitos. None. Our timing was excellent, arriving in early August, after the mosquito season.

For this report, I'll be inserting a number of images taken near Prelude Lake, about a half an hour's drive on the Cameron Trail. Driving from Yellowknife the countryside alternated between forests of small jack pines and birches, and evolving grasses and brush colonizing the otherwise barren stretches of the Canadian Shield.

The following series of images proceed from bare rock with pioneering crustose lichens to more complex lichen and mosses, each community taking advantage of the accumulation of nutrients and organic structure. Eventually the conditions for tree seedlings are met, and trees add their contributions. Sufficient accumulations provide for a forest community when regional climate permits surpluses.
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DSCN2210 2.jpg
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A diverse community develops over time:
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Cameron Falls, source of the name of the Trail we traveled in on...
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Downstream from the Falls, the Yellowknife River rounds the bend...
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And what a nice setting for my two favorite blonds!
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I've more images, and comments on life in the Northwest Territory, you need only express your interest...: > )
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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KoutaR
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by KoutaR » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:40 am

Don wrote:I've more images, and comments on life in the Northwest Territory, you need only express your interest...: > )
I express my interest.

Kouta

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Chris
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Chris » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:15 pm

So cool! Makes me want to dig out Sigurd Olson and re-read some of his long trips way up north.

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Steve Galehouse » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:57 pm

Don, NTS-

The Canadian Shield is really cool, and it's remarkable how similar the vegetation is over vast distances. Here are a few of pics from central Ontario, 1800 miles SE of Yellowknife:

Crustose, foliose, and fruticose lichens-
DSCI0503.JPG
Black spruce, white spruce, tamarack, and balsam fir-
DSCI0500.JPG
Jack pines-
DSCI0523.JPG
Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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Don
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Don » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:12 am

Kouta Räsänen wrote:
Don wrote:I've more images, and comments on life in the Northwest Territory, you need only express your interest...: > )
I express my interest.
Kouta
Kouta-
Thanks for your interest, I have some Yellowknife to Alaska travel photos easily at hand, that follow. Will put another narration of vegetation degradation ; > } later in the week:
We lived at edge of town, with this edge of lake nearby...
We lived at edge of town, with this edge of lake nearby...
View of skyline, lake shore, local shoreline vegetation
View of skyline, lake shore, local shoreline vegetation
Heading south from Great Slave Lake, one of many waterfalls enroute
Heading south from Great Slave Lake, one of many waterfalls enroute
We took time for reflection...
We took time for reflection...
In the middle of Muncho Lake, a British Columbian Provincial Park
In the middle of Muncho Lake, a British Columbian Provincial Park
A treat for the weary traveller, temps ranging from 88 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit ~ Liard Hot Springs
A treat for the weary traveller, temps ranging from 88 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit ~ Liard Hot Springs
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:27 am

I had a friend who lived in Alaska for several years. To my horror, he never once went hiking or backpacking there. To my knowledge, he and his family did not so much as visit a single park in the state...National, State, or otherwise. I cannot imagine living among such a wealth of natural beauty and never venturing into it.

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KoutaR
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by KoutaR » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Don,

Those are beautiful photos! My favorite is the waterfall - yellow water strikingly contrasts against otherwise black-and-white landscape.

Have you hiked in Wood Buffalo National Park? Could you tell something about it?

Kouta

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Don
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Don » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:09 am

Wintry scene of Muncho Lake, Provincial Park
Wintry scene of Muncho Lake, Provincial Park
Kouta-
I have just now returned to this thread, and apologize to have not followed it back then...my mom and dad in their nineties, passed away during the time my wife and I were in Yellowknife, which shifted my priorities.

I don't have all the images available from that trip on this laptop, but yes we went to Wood Buffalo National Park. South and East out of out of Hay River (a town at the bottom of Great Slavey Lake), the plains that we looked down on from a high overlook, had herds of wood buffalo grazing in an entirely natural setting. A very large National Park, it was not unusual to see them across broad sections of roadway between Yellowknife and Hay River, rolling in dusty/muddy wallow not far from the roadways. They are large formidable animals, certainly to be avoided when crossing the roads.

I do have some more images from before Hay River and after as we returned to Alaska later that December, and they follow below.
While my wife pursued her sabbatical here, I traipsed about, exploring the lakes and forests around Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada
While my wife pursued her sabbatical here, I traipsed about, exploring the lakes and forests around Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada
Where? The capitol of the Northwest Territory is Yellowknife, as appears in this circumpolar map view.
Where? The capitol of the Northwest Territory is Yellowknife, as appears in this circumpolar map view.
When?
When?
What to do?
What to do?
A small lake nearby in winter mode exposing the passage of a small animal
A small lake nearby in winter mode exposing the passage of a small animal
A small lake nearby in winter mode exposing the passage of a small animal
A small lake nearby in winter mode exposing the passage of a small animal
Winter skies
Winter skies
First chance to ferry south across the MacKinzie, enroute to Alaska, December 12
First chance to ferry south across the MacKinzie, enroute to Alaska, December 12
Reflections enroute to Alaska along BC roadway...
Reflections enroute to Alaska along BC roadway...
Wintry scene of Muncho Lake, Provincial Park
Wintry scene of Muncho Lake, Provincial Park
Liard Springs off in the distance, 92 to 110 degrees F.
Liard Springs off in the distance, 92 to 110 degrees F.
Champion candidate (?) birch near Liard Hot Springs...94 inches girth
Champion candidate (?) birch near Liard Hot Springs...94 inches girth
Attachments
Live tracks...
Live tracks...
Winter traffic pattern
Winter traffic pattern
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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KoutaR
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Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by KoutaR » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:56 am

Beautiful photos, Don!

I would like to go to Wood Buffalo NP some day.

Kouta

Joe

Re: Local Vegetative Degradation of the Canadian Shield

Post by Joe » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:04 am

Don wrote:The nine hundred pound gorilla in this report is the Canadian Shield.
I wonder how different it will be at the end of this century!
Joe

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