East Neighbourhood

3.0 km Marker

Plants & Trees

Plant · Plante · Zyaagiichigan

Balsam fir grows under the shade of deciduous trees Photo: NORDIK Institute, 2014

Located at the transition between the Boreal forest and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence forest, the Sault Ste. Marie area is one of the best places in Canada to study forest ecosystems. The provincial Ontario Forest Research Institute (OFRI) and the federal Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) is the local research hub for forestry scientists.

Researchers at the OFRI are determining how forests respond to natural disturbances and management activities as well as how they are affected by and might adapt to environmental changes such as climate to inform provincial forest management and conservation decision-making. Institute specialists are also responsible for Ontario’s forest inventory and monitoring of forest insects, diseases, and wildlife populations.

Research at the GLFC includes identifying and controlling forest pests; studying the effects of climate change, harvesting, and human behaviour on forests; and developing knowledge of forest fires to better protect our forests. This hub is also home to the Northern Ontario Plant Database, which provides information about plants you can find in this region, as well as many other forest and wildlife-related organizations.

Beside the GLFC you will find the Arboretum, a “living library” of over 100 kinds of trees and shrubs. The Arboretum is a great place to enjoy nature and local wildlife, especially birds. Different birds make their homes here in each season.

Northern Ontario Plant Data Base video

Watch this video with Susan J. Meades, Field Botanist to learn about the Northern Ontario Plant Data Base designed to assist the general public in identifying the region’s plants.


GLFC’s Arboretum map

This map of the Arboretum showcases native tree species, introduced species, and self-guided tour stops. Map provided by the Great Lakes Forestry Centre.View PDF

Challenge Yourself!

Think about it…

Have you ever walked through the Arboretum? Do you have a favourite tree? What type of tree is it?

Do the plants and trees near your house change with the seasons? How?Can you find a leaf from a deciduous tree and a coniferous tree? What is different about them, and what is the same?
  • Test your knowledge

  • True or False

    The Great Lakes Forestry Centre is one of only five forestry research centres in Canada.

  • Did you know?

    The Great Lakes Forestry Centre is the largest Canadian Forest Service (CFS) facility outside of Ottawa.

  • Question 2

    Which city or cities also have Canadian forestry centres?

  • Question 3

    When was the Great Lakes Forestry Centre established?

  • Did you know?

    The Great Lakes Forestry Centre was established by Carl Edmund Atwood, father of famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

  • You did great!