Island Nature Trust
Diversification of Impacted Forest in Island Nature Trust Natural Areas
This project took place in Island Nature Trust (INT)- owned forested natural areas primarily in eastern PEI. The goals of the project were:
To create forest management plans (FMPs) for plantations within INT natural areas,
To create patch, strip, or zigzag cuts in at least three natural areas and prepare sites for planting, and
To develop planting plans that focus on native hardwood species
As a result of this project, certified contractors created forest management plans for three INT natural areas, covering 296.46 hectares (731.3 acres). All INT lands are designated under the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA). NAPA requires a Forest Management Plan be approved by the NAPA Technical Advisory Committee (NAPATAC) before any silviculture activities can take place on designated lands. Having management plans created and approved by the NAPATAC, means that INT can now use silviculture techniques (e.g. patch cutting, thinning, etc.) to restore poorer quality habitat in these three natural areas back to diverse forest habitat for the benefit of native birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and plants.
Existing plantations and old field stands are dominated by softwoods projected to fare poorly under future climate conditions. Restoration should focus on re-introducing the hardwood species typical of Acadian Maritime Forest and ensuring a diverse mix of species, canopy heights and ages. Patch cuts and thinning are set to take place in January 2020 in two of the natural areas that now have management plans in place, in Iona and Mount Albion. Work could not be done until 2020 due to contractor availability. These are both areas that have plantations that are reaching the end of their life-cycle.