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Thread: Forest mystery: why does Canada look more green than the south united states?

  1. #1

    Forest mystery: why does Canada look more green than the south united states?

    If central ontario in Canada is so far north and halfway between that and the Amazon lies florida, why could it be that forests in Canada look so green and lush and florida in the south US looks as non-green as the sub-arctic? in fact, forest in Canada is comparable to that of the Amazon!, while some of the natural forest of Alaska is as lush or even more lush than florida!
    I have posted 7 images of these above mentioned places. Sorry they are so big. You can temporarily zoom out in your browser by selecting a browser zoom level and you find that just above the clock on your screen. don't you think these natural forest looks contradict location a bit?
    Hardwood hills, Canada:
    awenda park near georgian bay in Canada:

    Amazon rainforest:
    Last edited by RioNapo; 01-03-12 at 07:47 AM.

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    typical florida trail:

    other place in florida

    here is fairbanks, Alaska:

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    and finally one more in fairbanks:

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    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Can you make your images larger, I can't see them that well.

  5. #5
    Sorry, I could not get them smaller. The page containing the smaller ones failed to work. You can still get the idea as it is easier than giving you the links and having to open each one. The above helps a lot as visual proof to see how the farthest south US is not any greener than alaska in many parts while Canada has places not much different looking than the Amazon, dispite the fact that species composition is completely different and much much higher in diversity in the Amazon.

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    At least I learned in this comparison project how to share photos because I leave for the Amazon saturday and KilljoyKlown told me that it would be great for everyone to see photos I took, as I plan to photograph places and wildlife seldom or never seen by modern man.

  7. #7
    Valued Senior Member elte's Avatar
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    When it is hotter like in the southern part of the northern hemisphere, more precipitation is needed to get the same level of lushness of vegetation because the ground dries out faster.

  8. #8
    Cosmic Truth Seeker
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    Florida is an old coral reef, i.e. limestone. The soil is likely nutrient-poor, which is likely the reason for lack of lushness. The rains constantly leach out the soluble ions. Have a great trip to the Rio Napo.

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    I would not say that the heat is the culprit of the lack of green since as I showed, the Amazon is green like here in Canada (only here it goes away in the winter). Walter's idea looks correct because local soil conditions is the likely culprit. there are small parts in the Amazon that look like what all of florida is like and the books that I read say that it is due to poor soil. I noticed this all across the southern US. Anything Ohio and north is naturally very green with hardwood forest. If you see the soil in the image of the photo of florida above, (hard to call it soil when it looks like sand) it looks like there are almost no nutrients and it could very well be just like sand. I never been there before to see for myself, when I go south, I go waaaay south! Thank you Walter, It will be an experince like no other on the Napo. When I get back, winter will be on it's way out.
    Last edited by RioNapo; 01-03-12 at 10:26 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RioNapo View Post
    If central ontario in Canada is so far north and halfway between that and the Amazon lies florida, why could it be that forests in Canada look so green and lush and florida in the south US looks as non-green as the sub-arctic? in fact, forest in Canada is comparable to that of the Amazon!, while some of the natural forest of Alaska is as lush or even more lush than florida!
    While most of Florida is Temperate, meaning it has a winter season, the length of day in Florida is much less than up North.

    So, the pictures taken at the peak of the summer up North are likely to be lusher than those taken in the middle of the summer in Florida.

    http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/englis...=2944&mag=0.25

    But Florida is greener for many more months than most of Canada is and lots of it, particularly where water is not an issue is very lush.


  11. #11
    Valued Senior Member scheherazade's Avatar
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    One might also consider that the Boreal forest consists largely of evergreen tree species which do not shed their leaves (needles) in the autumn and so remain visually green year round, even though they go into a dormant period during the winter.


  12. #12
    All natural forest cover areas I checked in florida were dominated by coniferous, while locations between lake huron and lake ontario were lushly green with broadleaf forest as seen above. I noticed that in general, the forests get more dominated by coniferous as one travels south from the canada border. I would associate conifers with cold climates and broadleaf forests with warm climates. the poor soil in the south seems to make that not be the case. coniferous forest does not look as lush and green as broadleaf. I still find it odd that the natural forest of north america most similar to the Amazon in appearance is found up near the Canada-US border. comparing the Amazon and ontarios forest may sound wierd, but the above comparison proves that it is true that they are comparable. You have to skip down to mexico or belize to find the next place with natural forest habitat so lush in appearance.
    Last edited by RioNapo; 01-03-12 at 05:37 PM.

  13. #13
    Valued Senior Member scheherazade's Avatar
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    The coastal regions of the west coast are indeed very lush. When one travels from Whitehorse, Yukon to Skagway, Alaska one drops from 2,200' elevation to sea level and the change in flora and fauna is incredibly dramatic.

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    I was amazed to see a more 'full' looking green forest of predominantly deciduous in the interior of alaska below 400 meters. I am starting to think that soil type is the main factor in whether the ecosystem is lush, green and deciduous, or dull with any appearance possible anywhere between the tropics and the arctic tree line. I have seen lush forests just south of the tree line in central alaska while southern florida has conifer forests (which look very non-lush and have lower species diversity) which look like they are dominated by one species of pine in parts.

  15. #15
    Valued Senior Member scheherazade's Avatar
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    All of the waterways that spawn fish contribute to the soil fertility for there are bears, birds and secondary scavengers that eat their kill on the banks and fish is known to be excellent fertilizer. Perhaps this is one of the contributing factors you seek to identify?

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    I am quite sure that local variability of soil unrelating to fish is the cause of the differences of forest. I was seeing the lush forests well away from rivers as well. That would make sense since ontario manages to have forest with a stucture comparable to that of a tropical one (as seen by the above images) and florida is very different. I suppose it is just the way the sediments have formed in areas and more nutrints were deposited in the topsoil without the aid of wildlife in alaska as well as ontario, so ontario and alaska apparently have much more nutrient rich soils than florida just because the topsoil in those northern places has formed or millions of years with richer sediments.
    Last edited by RioNapo; 01-03-12 at 09:33 PM.

  17. #17
    Real Eyes Realize Real Lies dumbest man on earth's Avatar
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    Fifty or so years ago, the woods around my Granfather's property were thick and lush and green and full of wildlife. The small creeks running through them were full of frogs, crawdads, catfish, bluegill,pike, crappie (or croppie), minnows, large/small mouth bass and many different snakes.
    These days the trees do not seem to get as dark green, there is not near as much wildlife, and the fishing is down to mostly carp with very litlle in the way of other species. My friends and I have come to the conclusion that it is due to agrcultural and industrial runoff / pollution.
    Would suspect that the northern latitudes have not experienced this pollution to the extent we in the midwest U.S. have, at this point in time. From what I understand, there are not a lot of places in the U.S. that is entirely free of this pollution!
    Go and get as many pictures as you can of those lush, verdant, healthy landscapes while you can! Those areas may not be like that in a few more decades (Let us all hope that they are even healthier looking, though!!), and photos may be the only record of the quickly disappearing wide open spaces this planet needs to maintain a healthy(ish!) ecosystem for this seemingly "parasitic" life form called "Humans".

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    While I am in the Amazon I will be taking pictures of not just pristine places, but places with no documented human contact. Due to lack of population growth in the area where I go next week, projections indicate another half century with minimal human contact so I can keep going back to it and seeing it in the same state.

  19. #19
    Valued Senior Member elte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RioNapo View Post
    I would not say that the heat is the culprit of the lack of green since as I showed, the Amazon is green like here in Canada (only here it goes away in the winter). Walter's idea looks correct because local soil conditions is the likely culprit. there are small parts in the Amazon that look like what all of florida is like and the books that I read say that it is due to poor soil. I noticed this all across the southern US. Anything Ohio and north is naturally very green with hardwood forest. If you see the soil in the image of the photo of florida above, (hard to call it soil when it looks like sand) it looks like there are almost no nutrients and it could very well be just like sand. I never been there before to see for myself, when I go south, I go waaaay south! Thank you Walter, It will be an experince like no other on the Napo. When I get back, winter will be on it's way out.
    But rain forests get loads of precipitation. They are called rain forests, after all, and the rain compensates for the drying effect of the heat. Temperate regions tend to have good soil because of leaf turnover. But that doesn't mean the vegetation has to be very lush. The great plains was known for deep topsoil, yet it has just been grassland for ages. I say -was- because in some places half of the top soil has eroded away because of farming.

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