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The Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, with support from the PEI 2014 Fund, the Island Nature Trust and Environment and Climate Change Canada EcoAction Community Fund, has created a new 4.3 hectare (10.6 acre) Acadian forest.
Since 2014, Macphail Staff, the Island Nature Trust and volunteers have been planting native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns such as red oak, white ash, witch hazel, wild rose and blue flag iris. Community involvement has helped to not only create a new forest but also provided opportunities for environmental education, carbon offsetting, and improving wildlife habitat along the Morrell river.
The Bangor Confederation forest is unique among our Confederation forest sites as it has a variety of small scale eco-systems. There is the riparian zone along the eastern bank of the Morrell river, a young forested area with lots of clearings some of which are quite wet, old abandoned farmlands and a pond. Over the years to come each of these areas will be enriched using different restoration techniques and native species.
As of 2017, over 1200 trees, shrubs, flowers and ferns have been planted on site using over 40 different native species. These are all flora well suited to the varying conditions of the site as well as the climate of the region as they were grown from local seed stock. The plants chosen for plantings were of varying heights and ages to help develop a mixed-aged forest in the future, creating local seed sources and sizeable trees for wildlife, as well as changing habitat conditions for future plantings. Some very rare and interesting native plants could be used due to the variety of habitats found on site. Water loving species such as bog birch and jack-in-the-pulpit were planted in the wetter clearings, while shade loving plants, such as male ferns and eastern hemlock could be planting in the slightly dryer clearings. Future plantings will help add biodiversity to the site, food sources for wildlife all the while continuing to develop trails to ensure these public woodlands are accessible to all.
The planting area is part of a property donated to the Island Nature Trust by Jim and Barbara Munves, who have had a lifelong interest in protecting and improving our environment. This whole parcel of land is a provincially designated natural area.
Support for this project and the future plantings is also being provided by Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding program.