Bring Back the Boreal newsletter - April 2017
One, two, tree...grow!
Last year was a busy year for the Bring Back the Boreal project. Professional tree planters and volunteers, including school groups, local families and visitors planted almost 40,000 trees on the Skyline trail. Interested in taking part in tree planting activities this year? Please contact Nadine LeFort at 902-224-5246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The seedlings will feel right at home. We are using balsam fir seeds collected from the highlands of Cape Breton 30 years ago! These trees are protected by a fenced exclosure to give them a chance to grow.
We know that moose are over-browsing young trees and preventing the forest from regenerating. One important forest restoration strategy is a moose population reduction program in a 20 km2 area on North Mountain. By reducing the moose population here through annual harvests, the forest will have an opportunity to recover.
Working with Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR), we recently completed the second moose harvest on North Mountain. Both the 2015 and 2016 harvests took place in a 20 km2 area on North Mountain.
Over 23,000 lbs (or 11.5 tonnes) of meat was distributed to Mi’kmaq and non-Mi’kmaq communities throughout the province including two food banks, 27 local families around the park, Feed Nova Scotia and the Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network.
All moose were removed by harvesters and distributed to Mi’kmaq and other Nova Scotia communities as food and materials for traditional crafts, such as drums.
The boreal forest in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is struggling. The Bring Back the Boreal project is a first step in restoring the health of this important ecosystem by planting tree seedlings, reducing the moose population, and building fences to prevent moose from overeating young trees that are trying to grow and provide shelter to animals who depend on that forest for survival, including moose, snowshoe hares, birds, squirrels, lynx and American marten.