Vegetation present in Marcy’s Woods
The most significant vegetation community present in Marcy’s Woods is the Carolinian forest that is comprised of rich deciduous (broad leaf trees) woods that provides a distinct and abundance in plant and animal life not found elsewhere in Canada.
Although called Marcy’s Woods, the 285 acres that comprise Marcy’s Woods are comprised of different areas not just “woods” including a woodlot, wetlands/swamp, meadow and Lake Erie Shoreline including the sand dunes.
Marcy’s Woods exists on a series of large, ancient sand dunes along the North Shore of Lake Erie, which in itself is unusual for the eastern Great Lakes and is an excellent example of the Lake Erie vegetated dune system. The beach community adjacent to Lake Erie is also significant, since it is one of few examples of a natural, relatively undisturbed beach.
Marcy’s Woods is dominated by Sugar Maple, Red Oak, and the last known old-growth Black Maple in North America and is home to one of only three old-growth eastern hemlock stands in the world. Trees of this species are capable of growing in southern Ontario, although for these species to grow and thrive in dune areas is not common.
Other examples of deciduous forest on a sand dune in Ontario include the Pinery, Point Pelee, and Rondeau. These areas are smaller; more disturbed by deer browsing, exotic species, and have been highly impacted by human use, and less mature than Marcy’s Woods. A similar vegetation community occurs further south on the Point Abino Peninsula but it is considerably smaller and more disturbed than Marcy’s Woods.
Approximately half of the forest on the Marcy property is also wetlands/swamp (east of Holloway Bay Road and north of the drain), these areas consist of various species of trees, plants and animals including silver/red maple.
Marcy’s Woods is comprised of 408 plant species in which 36 are considered significant: 6 nationally rare, 3 provincially rare, 15 regionally rare and 12 locally rare vascular plant species.