McMaster Forest Flora and Fauna
McMaster Forest is home to over 950 recorded species, with more and more species identified every year. This leads to a high species diversity of plants, insects, and birds. See how many different species you can spot next time you visit the property!
With over 200 species, McMaster Forest has the largest recorded bee species diversity of any site in Ontario.
Bees are vital to sustaining ecosystems by pollinating plants.
McMaster Forest is home to one federally listed species at risk (listed as Special Concern) bee, the American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus), and is home to 15 provincially rare bee species, including: Trout Lily Miner Bee (Andrena erythronii), Beebalm Sweat Bee (Dufourea monardae), Orange Cuckoo Nomad Bee (Epeolus autumnalis), Hoary Long-horned Bee (Peponapis pruinosa), and the Buttercup Cuckoo Sweat Bee (Sphecodes ranunculi)
Photo: Pure Sweat Bee (Augochlorella aurata) on Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), by Noah Stegman
McMaster Forest Ecological Zones
Ecological zones (ecosites) are defined areas in a landscape that have specific plant and animal communities and environmental conditions. McMaster Forest is home to 17 different ecosites (as of the 2011 survey), which helps to maintain the high species diversity, and environmental health of the property. While hiking on the trails, see if you can distinguish each zone!
Old Growth Forest
Old growth forests are areas of intact forest that have never seen logging. Old growth Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) on the property are some of the largest and tallest recorded in the province.
Some characteristic species found in deciduous forests include Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), and Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana).
Some characteristic species found in mixed forests include Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), and Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus).
Some characteristic species found in shrub thickets include Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.), Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), and American Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis).
Some characteristic species in woodlands include a canopy of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Butternut (Juglans cinerea), and Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), with an understory of forbs and graminoids. Woodlands are characterized by 35 – 60% canopy cover and savannas are characterized by 25 – 35% canopy cover.
Some characteristic species found in tallgrass prairies include Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).
Some characteristic species found in graminoid meadows include Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata), Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), and Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea).
Some characteristic species found in forb meadows include Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus), and Common St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
Mineral Marsh Meadow
Some characteristic species found in the mineral marsh meadow include Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata), Elecampane (Inula helenium), American Cornmint (Mentha canadensis), Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), and Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota).