Understanding Krummholz - A type of coastal forest on PEI. 

Krummholz is a German word that combines krumm (crooked, bent, twisted) and holz (wood). A krummholz is a wooded area full of stunted and deformed trees, commonly found along tree lines in subarctic and subalpine landscapes. The coastal conditions on the north shore of PEI are equally harsh in the winter, providing the perfect conditions for the development of krummholz. Trees that grow along the shoreline are constantly pounded by the wind, which causes the trees to remain short and grow horizontally. This creates dense mats of plants that help reduce wind speed and catch salt spray. As you retreat from the shore and move inland, the trees tend to get taller, and after a while, you start entering more of a mixed forest with larger trees. 


Our work on Krummholz is funded by A PEI Forested Landscape Priority Place Project.

The Project 

PEI’s coastal forests are an at-risk, diverse, and complex ecosystem. This project seeks to develop a better understanding of krummholz and the roles they play in our island environment. Krummholz are integral to the protection of our coasts, as well as providing habitat for a wide variety of species.  Instead of seeing these areas as wastelands that serve no purpose, we intend to understand their true values. They provide wildlife habitat, store carbon, help slow erosion, and make it possible to grow less-hardy trees that would not survive without their protection.


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