The Wabanaki-Acadian Forest

What is the Wabanaki-Acadian Forest?

The Wabanaki-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 Wabanaki-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!

Map: Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Wabanaki-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 trees. Because our Maritime climate still maintains a moderately cold winter, this allows our area to maintain a wide variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

Why is the Wabanaki-Acadian Forest so special?

This 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 Wabanaki-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. It's important to remember that healthy forests typically contain a mix of 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 dead and dying trees for various reasons; some species will 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. The majority of these never reach maturity though, as they are yummy edibles for wildlife or they simply don’t get enough light to grow. 

Plants that do survive are those which are strong and best adapted to their environment, and make up our forests today.

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, thus starting the cycle of growth all over again!

Red oak sapling with tree guard


Simpson, J. (n.d.). Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Forest Stewardship for

Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes. Restelluris.