There are some forty species of spruce, seven of which are indigenous to North America. The white spruce is to be found throughout Canadian woodlands, with the exception of the West Coast. It may grow to 20 to 25 metres in height (65 to 82 ft.).
White spruce is a very common species, of major importance to the pulp and paper and lumber industries. In fact, the Picea genus of spruce is the principal source of lumber in Canada. White spruce is also used in the manufacture of musical instruments such as the violin and the guitar.
This species can adapt to a wide variety of terrains, from well-drained soil to high moisture conditions. It is also highly tolerant of shade and rocky soil covered with a thin plant layer, and its roots develop close to the surface. However, this does make for a species that is sensitive to strong wind.
Not only are the various species of spruce important for human beings, they are also of great significance to wildlife in general. Thus, when food is scarce, many mammals (deer, hare, porcupine, rodent) will eat the shoots, branchlets, bark, buds and seeds). These trees also serve as shelter for a wide variety of mammals and birds.