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Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada

Forest – Link to the Future

The goal is to sustain healthy, diverse woodlands that become  increasingly representative of mature Acadian forest. The goal is to sustain healthy, diverse woodlands that become increasingly representative of mature Acadian forest.
© Parks Canada

Mixed hardwood and softwood trees, such as beech, sugar maple, yellow birch, hemlock and red spruce, characterize the Acadian forest that is native to Prince Edward Island.  Within the park, a few pockets of original Acadian forest remain but many stands are now dominated by White Spruce. 

The goal of Prince Edward Island National Park is to sustain healthy, diverse woodlands that become increasingly representative of mature Acadian forest.  To assess the state of this ecosystem, and its changes through time, staff are monitoring sites located throughout the park. 

Scientific data, related to qualities such as plant and animal diversity, soil decomposition rates, and tree condition, are carefully collected and recorded.  Pieced together, this information tells a complex story about the health of the forest.  Data is being gathered from the same sites, year after year, so that a complete picture of the changing condition of the forest over time can also be created.    

“It’s been great to collect the first bits of information,” says resource conservation technician Linda Thomas.  “As I’ve measured tiny seedlings, I can’t help but imagine the tall trees they’ll become.  These same plants will be watched and recorded by researchers for years to come.  It’s pretty incredible to think of that link to future.”

The data collected through this program will be used to assess the health of the park’s forest, direct the restoration of the Acadian forest and guide future management.  As many of the methods used follow EMAN (Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network) standards, the information can also add to our broader understanding of forest ecology in our region and across the country.