(Map: Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic. Data available at globalforestwatch.ca)


There’s no place left on Earth that hasn’t been affected by humans in some way. The swaths and splinters of “intact forest” shown here, however, might be about as close as you can come to truly pristine landscapes. These ecologically vital Canadian forests are essentially undisturbed by the wide-reaching impacts of industrial, agricultural and urban development. In these forests, the natural patterns of ecosystems can continue to play out largely unhindered. That means, among other things, that native species, from large carnivores to the smallest plants, live in viable, interconnected populations, and that the ecosystem is resilient to natural disturbances such as outbreaks of pests and fires. Read on to find out what this map illustrates about species richness* in Canada’s intact forests.

Canada’s intact forests, shown here in all shades of green, are in the major “forest ecozones” recognized by the Canadian government for its National Forest Inventory. These ecozones either are or were once covered in forests. Areas in which forest no longer grows or that show visible evidence of human influence are not considered intact and are shown in white.

To be dubbed “intact,” each forest block must be big — 50,000 hectares or larger, according to the Global Forest Watch Canada study that produced this data — so outer boundaries can act as buffers against human influences.

About 340 million hectares of intact forest remain in Canada. More than 90 per cent of that is boreal (the world’s largest intact forest), while the rest is temperate forest in the south. Alberta has less remaining intact boreal (16 per cent) than any other boreal province or territory, all of which have at least 50 per cent of their original boreal cover.

Low species richness is not necessarily an indicator of forest health: Canada’s largest unbroken intact forests are spread across the North, where species variety is naturally lower. The most crucial conservation sites are farther south, where species richness is highest and forests are most fragmented.

*Species richness is the number of different species in an area. For this map, that’s all forest-dwelling mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and trees, as well as at-risk plants.

Cochrane gets an official tree and declares Arbor Day

Cochrane gets an official tree and declares the first Saturday in June as Arbor Day.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 12.57.22 PM

A Grade 6 class from RancheView School visited the Grandfather Tree, which became their inspiration to lobby for the white spruce to be named Cochrane’s official tree.
What do Manitoba, South Dakota, and Cochrane all have in common?


No, it’s not the set-up for a joke – the answer is that all three share the white spruce as their official tree.

Also from this point forward, the first Saturday in June will be designated as Cochrane Arbor Day, much to the delight of a Grade 6 class who lobbied Cochrane Town council hard for the decision. The students made an impassioned presentation to them on March 21, ending with a rousing all-class plea: “We are the future. We can be leaders in the fight to save our world. We want to be part of creating a healthier world. Please hear us!”

The message must have sunk in.

At their meeting on May 24, the council declared the first Saturday of June as Arbor Day, beginning on June 4 this year.

In the same motion, as also requested by Bill Belsey’s class from RancheView School, the council declared the white spruce as the official tree of Cochrane.

“I’m really proud of what they’ve done and they’re pretty proud too,” Belsey said. “It’s not often students in Grade 6 get a chance to get a local government to accept their proposals, and actually have an Arbor Day in Cochrane and officially designate the white spruce, and to pave the way for students to plant trees in their school yard, so, they’re pretty proud,” he said.

Council went ahead with declaring the white spruce the official tree, going against the recommendation from the administration, who had previously suggested the Town initiate a public engagement process aimed at ensuring Cochrane residents had the opportunity to weigh in on the choice of tree.

“Through this engagement we will be able to build upon the already passionate interest of our residents in our green spaces, highlighting the importance of urban forest principles, thereby arriving at a future official tree designation that is reflective of all input received,” stated a staff report at the May 24 meeting.

“Administration will work on development and implementation of an engagement strategy, with the goal of having engagement feedback received and subsequent recommendations brought back to council before the end of Q4, 2022.”

Mayor Jeff Genung favoured moving ahead.

“I would be more inclined to just declare the white spruce the official tree of Cochrane tonight and move forward with something that we’ve heard from the Grade 6 class – it is a significant tree in our community,” he said.

“I’ve not heard from one other individual in Cochrane for as long as I’ve been here, who wants to declare a tree of any kind in Cochrane.”

In the end, the council agreed with the mayor and the Grade 6 class to go ahead with the designation.

“This is a really good example of how democracy works, for the youth of our community and for anybody in our community,” said Coun. Alex Reed.

Belsey’s class went on a hike to visit the Grandfather Tree in Cochrane Ranche Park, which is white spruce, and the inspiration for their choice.

The white spruce assumed the role of Manitoba’s provincial tree in 1991 for its extensive geographic range and contribution to the local landscape.

White spruce trees are also plentiful across the Canadian landscape as specimen trees, hedges or windbreaks on residential properties, and along streets and seashores, due to their salt tolerance. 

The LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) website describes the white spruce as “a legacy tree that holds exceptional cultural, historical, and intrinsic value, contributing to a natural landscape in many ways over time. The white spruce (Picea glauca), a geographically abundant tree species found east to west across the country, as far north as the arctic tree line, and as far south as the northern states, is a Canadian legacy.”

Spray Lake Sawmills is donating 300 white spruce trees to the school project.

Pages vs. Posts


If you’re new to WordPress you may be wondering what’s the big deal behind Pages and Posts. At first glance they appear to be one and the same: if you were to create either a new page or a new post you’d be presented with nearly identical interfaces and in many cases the public appearance of pages and posts will look the same.

Don’t let this fool you. There’s a very fundamental difference between the two and that difference is what makes CMSs, like WordPress, great platforms for integrating blogs with traditional websites.


Think about the kind of pages that make up a typical website. Most often you’ll see pages like “Home”, “About Us”, “Services”, “Contact Us”, etc. Within WordPress these are often treated as Pages; documents that have no particular regard for the time they were posted.

For example, when you visit the “About Us” page of your favorite company’s website you don’t expect the content to be very different from what was available there a week ago.

Read more >

Categories and Tags


If you write about a variety of subjects, categories can help your readers find the posts that are most relevant to them. For instance, if you run a consulting business, you may want some of your posts to reflect work you’ve done with previous clients, while having other posts act as informational resources. In this particular case, you can set up 2 categories: one labeled Projects and another labeled Resources. You’d then place your posts in their respective categories.

Read more >