Forest Health in Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks
[Parks Canada introduction displaying the agency’s beaver logo and
English and Frech URLs: “parkscanada.gc.ca” and
“parcscanada.gc.ca.” Music plays as a graphic of the Earth comes
into view. It zooms in and highlights Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Gros
Morne, and Terra Nova National Parks. The speaker in this video is a male
narrator unless otherwise indicated.]
Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks are located in the province of
Newfoundland and Labrador.
[The flags of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador appear alongside the
graphics of the country and province. Text labels “Newfoundland and
Labrador,” “Gros Morne National Park,” and “Terra Nova
National Park.” The map of Canada disappears as the view zooms into the
island of Newfoundland, with Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks in red.
A still photo of a boreal forest landscape appears in the upper right-hand
On the Island of Newfoundland they are the far eastern edge of Canada’s
[The photo changes to another still photo of a boreal forest and expands to
fill the screen. It is then replaced by video of the first boreal forest
landscape illustrated in the photo, but from a different angle.]
Boreal forests provide shelter and food for wildlife.
[The image changes to that of another boreal forest scene featuring a
prominent cliff. This quickly fades to a misty boreal forest and fades
rapidly again to a shot panning through the undergrowth of a boreal forest.
While the narrator is speaking, this pan fades to a shot of trees in a boreal
They release oxygen into the air and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Boreal forests play an important role in slowing climate change and are an
important part of Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks.
[Images of caterpillars on a spruce branch, diseased trees in a boreal
forest, and a forest fire.]
Healthy boreal forests can suffer insect outbreaks, windstorms, disease, and
even fire. This is normal.
[Shot of looking upwards in a boreal forest fades to a hand touching a spruce
sapling followed by a new growth on a spruce tree.]
Disturbances remove old trees. They open up the canopy and let in sunlight
allowing young trees to grow and seeds to sprout. This is how the forest
replaces itself generation after generation.
[Shot of wetland in boreal forest followed by a winter flyover of Gros Morne
National Park in winter showing many dead trees and open spaces. Moose
running through open areas and snow patches in Gros Morne National Park.]
Today the parks’ forests are not healthy. A large population of moose is
eating too many young trees. The cycle of regeneration is broken.
[Historical, black and white, photos of moose on a background depicting a
misty Gros Morne Mountain.]
In the early 1900s, moose were introduced to Newfoundland as a source of
food. Because they have no natural predators on the island, the population
grew rapidly. Today, 117 000 moose live on the island. and moose have become
an important part of Newfoundland forests and culture.
[Moose walking through meadow fades to aerial shot of moose running through
open areas of the forest in the winter. This is followed by a close-up shot
of moose running.]
There are about 5000 moose in Gros Morne National Park.
[Map of Gros Morne National Park illustrating boreal forest cover in the
park. Illustration of six moose with lines represting one square kilometre.]
Less than half of the park is boreal forest. This means that there are six
moose per square kilometre of forested area, one of the highest densities of
moose in North America.
[A moose standing in a pond.]
In summer, moose eat leaves, shoots, and aquatic plants.
[Shots of moose-browsed trees.]
But in winter all that is available for them to eat are the twigs of trees
[Parks Canada scientist walks through a heavily moose browsed area. He
inspects a tree before a shot of him speaking to the camera. This is followed
by a shot of a moose browsed area.]
Tom Knight, an ecosystems scientist with Parks Canada, has been studying the
effects of an over population of Moose in Gros Morne National Park. He sees
first hand the damage caused to the forest.
Tom Knight: In summer when there is a lot of food around, Moose will eat
other types of plants. They will eat aquatic vegetation. But in the winter
time when there is not much other food around they will focus in on shrubs
and trees. And that is all they have left to eat. So all this fresh growth
that grows on these balsam fir in the summer time will get browsed off. You
can see here all these large branches have been chewed off by moose over the
years, and so the tree is actually dying bit by bit. They can eat about 25
kilograms of food a day and so a moose moving around an area like this can
really take out a lot of the bio mass from all these small trees you see
[Aerial shot of moose browsed forest in Gros Morne National Park. Moose are
This heavy browsing stunts and kills young trees. Without new growth the
forest thins out and turns into grassland or scrub.
[Parks Canada scientist speaking to camera in front of forest. Shot of moose
browsed boreal forest. Aerial photographs of moose browsed forest.]
Tom Knight: This area behind me is an area that was insect disturbed
about 25 years ago. Now that is a normal process in the forest. The mature
trees die and fall over, and the young trees will grow and replace them. But
what we see here is that most of them haven’t grown much taller than me,
and that is because of years and years of moose browsing. We were
particularly surprised when we saw satellite images of the park to understand
how big these openings have become over 25 years and how much of the area
that we thought would be re-generating forest has actually converted to this
very open grassland state where it is full of ferns or weeds or grasses.
[Map of Gros Morne National Park illustrating amount of forest damaged by
Satellite monitoring by Parks Canada shows that through time, over 5 500
hectares of park forest has converted to open habitat.
[Further aerial shot of moose browsed forest.]
Faced with increasing loss of forest habitat, Parks Canada sought out expert
advice from foresters, wildlife managers, and local stakeholders. The best
solution to restore forest health: a lethal reduction of the park’s
[Parks Canada scientist inspecting moose browsed tree. Shots of moose and
Parks Canada is working together with the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife
Division to have licensed harvesters remove moose from the park. This pilot
project begins in the autumn of 2011 and is a major step to restoring a
healthy forest and healthy moose population.
[Parks Canada closing cinematic displaying Canada flag logo and the name of
the agency in English and French. Copyright text in English and French
reading “© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Cnada, represented by
Parks Canada, 2011.” and “© Sa Majesté la Reine du Chef
du Canada, représentée par Parcs Canada, 2011.” This is
followed by the Government of Canada’s “Canada” wordmark.]