Nature Conservancy of Canada (PEI) Inc
Acadian Forest Conservation in Howe Bay
The Howe Bay forests are a mixed forest, composed predominantly of Aspen species, Red Maple and Black Spruce. Species that have been noted on the property include: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Ruffed Grouse, Varying Hare, Hairy Woodpecker, and several other woodland warblers.
Aspen trees make up the majority of the hardwood component of the properties. Because they die and rot while standing, they are favourite trees of woodpeckers, since it is easier for them to carve cavity nests. Several wildlife species make use of cavities for shelter and nesting, but cannot carve their own; they ‘recycle’ cavities made and abandoned by woodpeckers. An aspen forest, therefore, has the potential to provide habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife.
The Howe Bay forest properties serve as a starting point for a habitat corridor between two other protected areas. The corridor will promote the safe movement of species between these areas, thus increasing overall habitat size and connectivity of the area. Restoring the agricultural fields back to their original forest ecosystem will further increase connectivity and size of wildlife habitat. Removing human modified landscape and open fields will also lessen the encroachment of introduced or invasive species into the area.
The project goals revisited
- To graciously accept the donation of 3 connected properties, totaling 31 acres of upland forest and recovering agricultural land. One of the three properties has transferred to NCC ownership. The other two properties, owned by a different family, will close January 10, 2017.
- To protect and conserve this natural habitat for both its inherent and practical values. Partially complete (10 out of 31 acres). The remaining 21 acres will be transferred and protected by NCC on January 10, 2017.
- Restore the agricultural lands to the historical forest biodiversity and ecological processes by removing the former homestead structure and implementing a forest management plan. Stewardship staff made a trip to the property in September 2016 to assess needs for removing the house and beginning restoration work on the property. In addition, NCC approached Birdmouse, a local woodworking company working exclusively with reclaimed materials, about collecting reusable lumber from the building. They have begun this process already.
- To manage and steward the properties on an annual basis, and to uphold a healthy, low-impact nature reserve that encourages visitations through maintained trails and interpretive features. The baseline inventory of flora and fauna was completed in Summer 2016. Mail outs describing NCC’s plan for the properties and the new nature reserve were sent out to residents living in the immediate area during the Summer of 2016.