It's a wrap!

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

After five years, the Bring Back the Boreal pilot project has come to an end. Working with our partners, we tried different approaches to better understand the boreal forest with the goal of improving its health. A thriving boreal forest is not just about healthy trees, it’s important habitat for species who depend on it for survival like moose, hare, birds, squirrels, lynx and American marten. A huge thanks to the many volunteers, community members and partners involved – whether you planted trees, assisted in the moose harvest operation, shared your views, or helped us engage more Canadians than we could have ourselves. Thank you!

What we now know...

Pilot projects are all about learning. So what did Parks Canada discover over these five years about the boreal forest? Here are a few key findings:

  • Young trees were able to grow when protected from moose browsing.
  • Breaking up grass cover during tree planting increases seedling survival and growth.
  • 84% of balsam fir (planted inside the Skyline exclosure) and 94% of white spruce (planted outside the exclosure) survived their first year after being planted. Moose prefer balsam fir over white spruce; that’s why the balsam fir was protected.
  • A significant decrease in moose browsing on North Mountain and French Mountain.

This is just a brief overview of our findings. A final report will be available on the project website later this year.

So what's next?

Parks Canada will take several months to analyze the data gathered over the last five years to help determine the next steps. No matter the step we take, we will involve the community, our partners and key stakeholders in developing future programs or projects. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit for updates.

2019 moose population survey

Every two to four years, Parks Canada conducts a moose population survey within Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP). This winter, Parks Canada collaborated with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry and Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq to conduct a moose population survey across the highlands of Cape Breton, including CBHNP. Results of this year’s survey show a significant decrease in the moose population. In fact, the moose population density is 0.5 per km2, which is a healthy population for our park.

Bring Back the Boreal - Project wrap-up