The Acadian Forest

The Acadian Forest

What is the Acadian Forest?

The Acadian Forest, one of eight forest regions in Canada, covers most of the Maritime Provinces, northern New England and extends into Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. Although classified as a distinct region, the Acadian Forest is actually a combination of the Northern Hardwood and Boreal forests; creating a unique blend of hardwood and softwood trees found nowhere else (Simpson, 2008).

Map: Nature Conservancy Canada

The Acadian Forest began to develop when the glaciers, which covered much of North America, began to retreat over 10,000 years ago. As the ice melted, species of plants and animals began migrating northward, including spruce and birch. Because our Maritime climate still maintains a moderately cold winter, and this allows our area to maintain a wide variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

Why is it so special?

The Acadian forest is the Lungs of the Maritimes. Why? Because every day the forest helps filter carbon dioxide and air pollutants produced from human activity into the precious oxygen we need to survive.

What does the Acadian Forest look like?

The Acadian forest is home to 32 native tree species, and range from very young saplings to old mature trees. Each tree at any age plays a vital role in this forest, and all help to keep the woodland healthy and strong. Within a typically healthy forest are mature trees, dead/dying trees, seedlings and saplings.

Dead and dying trees, although not always pleasing to the eye, are very important for nesting and shelter for hundreds of species. Birds, mammals, insects and amphibians all utilize these trees for various reasons; some can only live in dead and dying trees! Aside from wildlife, the deadwood on the ground becomes a perfect nursery for new growth by lifting the seeds off the ground to provide a little more light and freedom from competition.

Seedlings and saplings are young trees in the forest that are the ‘next generation’ of mature trees (should they be allowed to flourish!). The majority of these never reach maturity though, as they are yummy edibles for wildlife or they don’t get enough light to grow.

Those that do survive are those that are strong and adapted to the environment, and make up our forest.

Mature trees are those majestic large trees we ogle and admire when we peer into a forest, as they dominate the forest canopy and provide the seeds that make the seedling. Eventually, all trees must