The Jackson Creek Old-Growth Forest (OGF) is a 4.5 hectare (11.3 acre) urban OGF with trees reaching 250 years old, pre-dating the original settlement of the Town of Scott’s Plains, now Peterborough, Ontario. This OGF is part of the 92-hectare Jackson Creek Riparian Forest, which meets the recommended provincial criteria for both a Significant Woodland and a Significant Valleyland.
The forests and wetlands surrounding Jackson Creek, which include a provincially significant wetland (Jackson Creek Wetland East), add substantially to Peterborough’s urban biodiversity. This large natural area also provides an important natural corridor along Jackson Creek into the heart of Peterborough. It was identified as a natural linkage leading from the Cavan Swamp core area in the Big Picture 2002 and Kawarthas Naturally Connected studies.
The Jackson Creek OGF is dominated by large White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), White Pine (Pinus strobus), and Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Trees are commonly over 150 years, with a maximum age of 256 years. The largest trees reach 97 cm in diameter at breast height, and extend above the surrounding forest canopy to heights of almost 35 meters.
OGF characteristics include pit and mound topography, coarse woody debris, large old trees, and super-canopy trees. Peterborough is one of only eight cities in Ontario with an identified remnant OGF within its urban core, and the Jackson Creek OGF is the fourth oldest of Ontario’s identified urban old-growth forests.
The Jackson Creek OGF is the best example of a mature White Cedar-White Pine-Eastern Hemlock stand on a glacial spillway slope known to the authors in Ecodistrict 6E-8. The characteristics of the Jackson Creek OGF compare favourably with other noteworthy examples of OGF found in or near urban areas in Ontario.