Black Ash

Understanding Wisqoq - a culturally and ecologically significant species

Wisqoq (black ash) is a keystone species of wetland forests, specially adapted to grow in water-saturated soils. Once common, wisqoq graced the banks of rivers and wet forests across the Maritimes, reaching heights of 15-20m. Wisqoq has corky bark and delicate, opposite, compound leaves. For millennia Wisqoq has been used by Mi'kmaq for basketry, furniture making and canoe construction. 

Within their habitat wisqoq supports a diversity of wildlife and contributes to water quality regulation and flood control. Across its range, wisqoq are in decline due to habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change-induced stressors in crucial ecosystems. 

See Black Ash ID

Black Ash found on PEI (Macphail Woods, 2024)

Daniel McRae, Project Lead for Macphail Woods and C.J. Cleal, forestry manager for the Abegweit Conservation Society of Abegweit First Nation

The Project 

The Black Ash Project is a project through the Abegweit Conservation Society, in partnership with Macphail Woods. Born out of a love of wet woodland habitats which are biodiversity hotspots, and host a huge array of rare native flora, this project's mission is to restore populations of black ash, using a two-eyed seeing approach to implement sustainable management practices and engage local communities to protect black ash populations.

Research and restoration efforts have been underway since 2020, and work continues to build as more data is collected, plants begin to establish, and knowledge-sharing partnerships grow and evolve. 

Through continued collaborative endeavours, such as habitat restoration projects like this, and educational initiatives, Macphail Woods and the Abegweit Conservation Society are committed to ensuring the resilience and longevity of black ash trees as well as the mesmerizing habitats in which they reside, safeguarding their ecological integrity for future generations.

Abegweit Conservation Society

Black Ash found in Saint Peters PEI, during a survey, August 2023


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