Backus Woods is one of the highest quality old growth hardwood forests in all of Ontario and the best remaining example in the Carolinian Life Zone. The Carolinian Life Zone comprises less than a quarter of one per cent of the country’s landmass, but is home to 25 per cent of Canada’s species at risk. Several occur in Backus Woods. Prothonotary warblers nest in deep wooded swamps, Jefferson’s salamanders breed in vernal pools, and woodland voles forage in runways below the litter. In addition, some of the oldest living trees in Ontario are found here, including black gums that may have been seedlings when Jacques Cartier sailed into the Gulf of St Lawrence in 1534. Tulip trees, the tallest growing trees east of the Rocky Mountains shoot 35 metres straight up and through the canopy of maple, oak, pine and hickory.