The Gaps

Many years ago, my students and I walked through Wolf Lake Forest Reserve in northern Ontario, the largest intact red pine old-growth forest in the world, and noticed strange things happening in the gaps, the small areas where light penetrates the canopy and reaches the ground. Unusual species seemed to grow there. This led to a study showing the importance of gaps and their microclimates  for providing a niche, a way, for some trees to actually migrate north, as climate change models predict they would be forced to do. It’s one of many examples in science where the micro- and the macro-  scales prove to be interdependent. Local changes reflecting a global phenomenon and vice-versa, if we are able to keep in mind these different views. Poetry is yet another view, complementary and sometimes interdependent to scientific ones. The “gaps” in the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve take on new meaning in poetry.

Photo of Madhur Anand

Madhur Anand

Madhur is the author of the book of poems A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes (McClelland & Stewart/PHRC, 2015) and the memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart (Strange Light/PHRC, 2020), both highly acclaimed and considered trailblazing in their synthesis of art and science. Her second collection of poems will be published by McClelland & Stewart in Spring 2022. Dr. Anand is a full professor of ecology and sustainability at the University of Guelph, where she was appointed the inaugural director of the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research.

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