"Bring Back the Boreal"
I just planted a tree that matters.
I'm in the boreal forest of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
This forest needs help, and Parks Canada is taking action.
I joined them and am helping to Bring Back the Boreal.
The large band of boreal forest stretches around the northern part of the globe, starting just below the Arctic Circle.
It is the largest intact forest on Earth, with thousands of species of plants and animals
Its particular richness and biodiversity doesn't exist anywhere else on the planet.
The boreal forest also acts as a buffer against change and produces oxygen… good reasons to keep it strong and healthy!
Let's look at what we know about the boreal forest in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
After the spruce budworm outbreak of the 1970s, the forest did not recover as expected.
As Parks Canada scientists monitored animal and plant species within the national park,
They became concerned, and needed to better understand what they were seeing.
Parks Canada got to work.
For example, they wanted to find out if it was moose that were eating all the young trees before they could grow.
So they built two small exclosures that kept the moose out: one on North Mountain and another on the Skyline Trail.
On North Mountain, the trees within the exclosure started to recover on their own,
so keeping the moose away may be all that is needed to help the forest recover in that part of the park.
On the Skyline Trail, perhaps the forest was more severely damaged, or the grasses were too dense,
but it was certain that the forest needed more help.
A larger exclosure was built, and thousands of seedlings were planted.
Parks Canada staff had help from lots of people, just like me.
It is going to take time to monitor and measure, so the work will be ongoing.
Parks Canada and its partners have worked for years monitoring the moose population within the national park.
They learned that there were many more moose than the forest would typically support
and began efforts to control the population.
Working with Mi'kmaw community harvesters, Parks Canada has started to reduce moose in a small area on North Mountain.
The moose meat is distributed free to communities throughout Nova Scotia.
The impacts of moose reduction on forest health are being monitored and measured
to help address the need for moose management in the long term.
The Mi'kmaw People have a long history as stewards of the environment.
They know this sometimes means taking action, and knowing when nature needs our help.
Maintaining balance is an important goal of good stewardship.
Parks Canada works closely with UINR, the Mi'kmaw natural resource management organization of Cape Breton,
as well as other Mi'kmaw organizations, with local communities and businesses, and others who share this goal.
Parks Canada has other strong partnerships in their forest restoration work.
They have helped to educate and involve science students from universities, community colleges and high schools.
They host Mi'kmaw youth as part of their summer cultural camp.
Parks Canada scientists had lots of help from young people to monitor their research. You can be part of the team too.
You can participate directly by visiting Cape Breton Highlands National Park to learn more about it.
You can check out the Bring Back the Boreal project online at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park website.
Up-to-date ways to get involved during your visit will be posted there.
At home, you can talk about issues that affect our forests, and share this video with your networks.
Canada's boreal forest stretches from one coast to the other.
Connect with a forest conservation initiative in your area.
Help us to move forward toward a healthy and balanced boreal forest as good stewards.
Work is ongoing.
There is nothing like taking action.
Help Bring Back the Boreal.
Bring Back the Boreal logo
Parks Canada logo.
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2017.