The Pinus genus includes 95 species of tree and shrub distributed throughout the boreal forest. There are 34 indigenous species in North America, including the jack pine, which is the typical pine to be found in the boreal forest, often wrongly called a cyprus (due to a historical mistake). This pine has the widest distribution range in the whole of North America.
The jack pine habitat is sandy, gravelly and dry. This is why the jack pine is so abundant in the beautiful region of Lac St-Jean. It is a tree of average height that is to say it grows to between 13 and 20 metres (43 and 65 ft.). It has a propensity for investing land that has been destroyed by fire, because the female cones, sealed by resin, will open up when confronted with intense heat. The seeds can germinate in a mere 10 days and, consequently, invade the burned territory, eliminating any competitors. In fact, the jack pine holds the record amongst coniferous trees for speed of growth. Its growth rate is highest during the first 20 years of its lifespan.
The jack pine also has commercial uses, such as the manufacture of construction material, pulp and paper, telephone poles. Additionally, as is the case for other species, the jack pine is useful to wildlife in general, but more especially to the Kirtland warbler, Dendroica kirtlandii, whore reproductive activities take place only in immature timber stands. The warbler, which is very rare, is an endangered species. Its distribution range is very limited, and steps have been taken to safeguard the species, especially through the use of prescribed burning, in order to promote the germination of jack pine seeds. The association between the Kirtland warbler and the jack pine is an example of the close relationship that often exists between wildlife and plant life. The jack pine is also appreciated by the porcupine, who eats the cambium layer located just under the bark.