The Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Réserve is located on the territory of the municipalities of Mulgrave-et-Derry, Mayo and Saint-Sixte in the MRC of Papineau. It is located northeast of the former municipality of Buckingham (now part of the City of Gatineau) and covers an area of 2,052 hectares. The Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve was officially established in the fall of 2003.
This Ecological Reserve allows the preservation of one of the last representative examples of the primitive forest of southwestern Quebec. It also allows the protection of many plants designated or likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable.
The territory is largely covered by stands of beech trees. Yellow birch and beech stands, yellow birch and basswood stands, hemlock stands, as well as beech and ironwood stands also cover significant areas.
Many forest stands making up the territory of the Forêt-la-Blanche ecological reserve present characteristics necessary to be qualified as exceptional forest ecosystems, due to the very advanced age or rarity of these forests. Some of these stands have never been affected by human activity and have suffered very little natural disturbance (decline, major windfalls, fires)..
Some species designated threatened and vulnerable find refuge on the territory of this Ecological Reserve. Certain plants likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable have also been identified. These are Back’s sedge, marsh mermaid weed, showy orchid, broad-leaved sedge (Carex platyphylla) and spiny hornwort (Ceratophyllum echinatum). It should also be noted that this ecological reserve preserves the habitat of a wide variety of birds, including the Cerulean Warbler, a species likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable. It also ensures the protection of an important heron colony.
As part of an educational program offered by the Les Amis de la Forêt-la-Blanche, the territory of the ecological reserve is accessible to people with an access permit (entry fees).