The Foothills are dominated by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests. This is because pine is one of the first trees to regenerate after a wildfire. Its cones are protected with a waxy resin that requires
fire or heat to release the seeds.
Without regular wildfires or other disturbances such as harvesting, the Foothills forest would eventually be dominated by spruce or fir forests; however, with a historic fire return interval of 80-100 years, the Foothills is predominantly pine.
As you walk around the Beaver Boardwalk, look at the trees. You may notice there are not many tree species – only six in fact. That’s characteristic of the forests that grow in the Alberta Foothills.
Did you know?
- The forest surrounding Hinton is a “working forest”, harvested for lumber and paper products. If you travel through or fly over the forests managed by West Fraser, you may notice that modern harvest areas are different shapes and sizes, following ecological boundaries. This practice is called Ecosystem-based Management (EBM). The goal of EBM is to maintain natural forest patterns and ages similar to wildfire.