Restoring the Wabanaki Acadian Forest in Nova Scotia

Gabrielle Clawson | February 9, 2023 | 4 min read

Impacting Communities Through Land Restoration

In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, 23,900 trees were planted to restore 15 hectares of land that is imbued with rich history. The purpose of this project is to re-establish white pine, red oak, and other native tree species across clear cut blocks on the coastal ridges of Cape Breton. As the planted trees grow, they will provide a range of benefits to the Margaree River watershed.

Together with our amazing reforestation partner, we are proud of the impact that this project has made on the surrounding community. Planting trees in areas that have been degraded or deforested has a powerful ripple effect for the surrounding environment and communities. 

The land that this project worked to restore was harvested for timber and pulp in 2019 and 2020. Our planting partner is working to mend this land, and help surrounding communities reclaim their land.

arcadian forest reforestation survey

A Community-Led Project

The benefits of this project extend beyond helping the environment, including employing six tree planters from the local area and encouraging the largest nursery in the Canadian Maritimes to grow more stock of white pine, red oak and other species.

The plantation of red oaks on the coastal ridge will create new recreational opportunities for the local community. The restoration sites themselves will also become field trip destinations. This will allow teachers, students, and parents alike to learn more about the importance of reforestation and restoration. 

arcadian forest reforestation tree planter

Ecological Benefits

After the Revolutionary War in the US, decommissioned officers of the British Army were granted the right to extract natural resources from the ridges and valleys of Cape Breton Island. Because it was the fuel of choice for England’s furnaces, red oak fetched a high price at the time — and white pine made excellent masts for the schooners and brigs of the Royal Navy.

These timber marauders severely degraded the ecology of western Cape Breton Island. As a result, the Gaels, who migrated there after the Highland Clearances of Scotland, encountered a denuded and radically altered landscape in which to settle.

Through replantations of white pine and red oak, this project pays homage to the history of Cape Breton and reporesents an important step towards restoring its ridges and valleys into a healthy and diverse Wabanaki Acadian Forest.

This restoration will allow biodiversity to thrive, benefitting several species of plants, animals, and fungi. However, the greatest ecological benefit over time is the precedent that has been set for private landowners to explore regenerative woodlot management plans. Throughout the 20th and 21st century, private landowners in Nova Scotia adhered to silviculture management plans for their woodlots, which favor the interests of lumber mills and pulp and paper mills. This project is the first large-scale ecological replanting project in Inverness County to challenge that model in favor of ecosystem services.

As momentum grows amongst private landowners, more regenerative plantation projects will be possible, benefitting the forest ecosystem, watersheds, and communities for generations to come.

arcadian forest reforestation landscape

Here’s How You Can Support This Project

It’s so important that we work to restore the environment for future generations, and that means we need to help empower community members with the resources they need to impact their land for the better. This planting project empowered individuals to become involved in their communities and help restore vital land. We are thrilled to support this work, and we are so excited to see what the future holds for this beautiful forest and its local communities.

Want to support amazing projects like this? Plant a tree in Nova Scotia today!

Longleaf Pine Main Image
Longleaf Pine Restoration
Longleaf Pine Tree Planter
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Longleaf Pine Landscape
Longleaf Pine Planting
Longleaf Pine Main Image
Longleaf Pine Restoration
Longleaf Pine Tree Planter
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Longleaf Pine Landscape
Longleaf Pine Planting

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. This project is currently supporting Longleaf Pine Restoration. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Protect wildlife habitat and increase biodiversity
  • Restore essential watersheds for soil stability and erosion control
  • Sequester carbon in the biomass of the forests through climate stability
  • Longleaf pine forests are among the most biodiverse in North America and provide habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species. Longleaf pine forests are well-adapted to a warming climate as longleaf pine is a resilient species that is fire-dependent, drought-tolerant, and long-lived. Reforestation of longleaf pine ecosystems- to increase, maintain, and enhance the species- has been identified as a priority area within America's Longleaf Range Wide Conservation Plan. 🌲
  • Our longleaf pine reforestation project will restore habitats, control soil erosion, and sequester carbon in an effort to stabilize the climate in the area. Not only will wildlife benefit from the clean air and water provided by the planted trees, but the surrounding community will, too. This project will work with a variety of landowners whose responsible forest management and stewardship will only further increase the benefits for species residing on the lands. Some of the most notable species that will benefit from habitat restoration include gopher tortoises, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and eastern indigo snakes
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about our Longleaf Pine Restoration project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the ground!
  • We always plant a mix of diverse, native species from local nurseries. This project is working to replenish longleaf forests, so the native species grown in the nurseries will mainly be longleaf pine, but also include shortleaf pine and loblolly pine.

Sign Up to our Newsletter

Get good news, reforestation updates, planting event information, and more delivered right to your inbox.