The Last Stand


The most ancient and least disturbed forest ecosystem in eastern North America clings to the vertical cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. Prior to 1988 it had escaped detection even though the entire forest was in plain view and was being visited by thousands upon thousands of people every year. The reason no one had discovered the forest was that the trees were relatively small and lived on the vertical cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. The Last Stand reveals the complete account of the discovery of this ancient forest, of the miraculous properties of the trees forming this forest (eastern white cedar), and of what is was like for researchers to live, work and study within this forest. The unique story is told with text, with stunning colour photographs and through vivid first-hand accounts. This book will stand the test of time as a testament to science, imagination and discovery.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's easy to read and provides a great review of the research completed by the Cliff Ecology Research Group.

The Last Stand is a beautiful book, shot through with full colour, striking photographs of cliffs, cedars and those who discover them. It's an adventure story, a lesson in ecology and a close up look at the cliffs that surround us every day. After reading it, you will never again take that rampart of rock for granted.

This is a fascinating book about the discovery of old-growth trees where they were least expected.

About the Authors

Peter E. Kelly

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Peter E. Kelly

Peter E. Kelly completed his M.Sc. at the University of Western Ontario before joining the Cliff Ecology Research Group in the Department of Botany at the University of Guelph. He has devoted the last fifteen years to studying the ecology of the old-growth cedar forests of the Niagara Escarpment. He is co-author, with Douglas W. Larson of Cliff Ecology, published in 2000 by Cambridge University Press.

Doug Larson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Doug Larson photo

Doug Larson

Doug Larson is an award winning scientist, author, lecturer, instrument maker, and musician. Now an Emeritus Professor at the University of Guelph, he spends his time lecturing about the union of art and science and uses the Storyteller guitar as the touchstone to this philosophy.