Recently I visited an area of the Quebec boreal forest (taiga) where a forest fire burned much of the area to the ground in 1995. In this photo taken at Lac Wetetnagami you can see both the skeletal remains of the forest burned down 14 years ago and the recovering conifer saplings.
In this area you can see areas along the shores of Lac Wetetnagami that did not get devastated by the fire. Note the mature trees, mostly black spruce with a few balsam firs.
In areas where bedrock is close to the surface the recovery is even slower. In this photo you can see the “snags” (dead trees), and recovering forest trying to make a go of it on the bedrock landscape.
Here is another photo of the bedrock landscape and the recovering boreal forest. The recovery is not only slowed by the lack of topsoil but also the very short growing season and cold winter temperatures.
This area located on the other end of the lake gets a lot of wind. There are many more snags that have been toppled by the winds.
Here is another area along the edge of Lac Wetetnagami that missed the forest fire. It gives you a perspective of how most of the boreal forest looks in this area.
I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the bedrock and lichen and the corresponding reflection in the lake.
We spotted this eagle looking for a meal along the shoreline. There is still plenty of good perching habitat for eagles and other raptors on the lake, especially on the many islands which were not impacted by the forest fire.
Some of the lower shorelines, especially low lying wetland areas were particularly burned over.
The new understory is fairly typical of a Taiga ecosystem.
Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandica)
Red Currant (Ribes triste)
Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus)
From apparent devastation 14 years ago
To a wonderful renewal of life!
Completely renewing our faith in the natural world.