The forests that make up almost half of Canada’s land mass are constantly changing.
While some of Canada's forest regions contain significant amounts of relatively undisturbed forest, most stands are replaced naturally by fire, insects, diseases and wind or ice storms every 100 years or so - the oldest trees are those that have escaped the elements.
Old growth is more complex than younger forests, and tends to have more standing dead trees, or snags, and more fallen trees. The older trees are often larger and the forest canopy layered with openings that allow light to penetrate, encouraging the growth of underbrush or seedlings.
Canada’s old-growth conservation goes well beyond the more traditional areas of watershed and habitat protection to include emerging cross-sectoral issues such as the conservation of genetic resources and carbon sequestration.