Replant.ca Environmental had a very successful "first" year in 2019. Although we had planted non-commercial trees for environmental and carbon capture reasons many times in the past fifteen years, 2019 was the first year that we formalized our activities as a distinct company.
In 2019, we planted five separate species on three main projects. It is our preference to maximize species diversity on all of our projects, and 2019 was a prelude to significantly more diverse mixes in subsequent years. All five of the species that were planted in 2019 were coniferous, which means that these were cone-bearing species. Coniferous trees are typically characterized by the fact that they have needles instead of broad leaves. The five species that we planted were: red spruce, Jack pine, eastern hemlock, black spruce, and eastern white pine.
In addition to extensive planting activities, we also initiated long-term stand-tending operations on two of our projects. For the Walker Road Managed Forest, we started thinning out undesirable species using brush saws. This allowed all of the remaining trees and vegetation to benefit from a greater share of the environmental resources (air, water, sunlight). In all, there are approximately 40 acres on the Walker Road property that needs to be enhanced through selective thinning. We also did some initial thinning cleanup on our Charles Clark Forest Reserve, where a larger area of approximately 45 acres is ultimately being targeted with both brush saws and hand saws. This is not commercial logging! We remove dead balsam fir trees, which typically only survive for around 40-50 years in this region. We also remove some of the alders and grey birch (weed trees) which typically have a diameter of less than four inches. These are then replaced with other tree species that have a much longer life span and significantly better carbon capture characteristics. This activity is very similar to removing weeds from a flower garden, which allows the flowers to grow better.
In 2019, we completed planning and layout for the full system of walking trails on the Charles Clark Forest Reserve property. We also commenced trail clearing activities on that project (this work is very labour intensive, using hand saws). By the end of 2019, we finished all of our planned work on two of the four main trails, namely the North Trail and the South Trail.
Here's a photo from of one of the trails that we created on the Charles Clark property. It seems counterintuitive to be cutting trees, but don't panic! We planned the trails very carefully to avoid removing species which are good for carbon capture. We target the removal of juvenile balsam fir and grey birch when building these trails. This property currently has a lot of grey birch. Grey birch are not a beneficial species because they only grow for about 20-30 years then snap in half in the winter. This is due to weaknesses in their physiological structure. Thankfully, this property also has some yellow and white birch, which both grow up to be majestic trees that we covet. It also has many other beautiful hardwood and coniferous species which we are protecting permanently. This property has some majestic mature trees which have been growing for over a century.
Here is a photo that showed our first delivery of trees for 2019, in a five-ton cube van from the Scott & Stewart Forest Nursery. This truck contained slightly over 26,000 seedlings (93 trays of 280 seedlings per tray).
You can watch a video at the bottom of this page that showed our progress to date back in the fall of 2019.
Next, we will describe the five species that we planted in 2019. You can click on any of the names of these species to see a detailed write-up.
Red spruce can reach approximately twenty-five meters in height (eighty feet) and sixty centimeters in diameter at breast height (two feet). The branches are generally spaced quite close to each other along the main trunk, and grow straight out from the trunk in a upward-sweeping form.
The bark of the red spruce is thin and gray, often with lichens growing over most of the surface.
Red spruce trees can live to be more than four hundred years old! Red spruce is a very well-distributed species throughout eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.
Visit our red spruce blog post to learn more about this species.
Jack pine is also known as scrub pine (or gray pine). It is not a large species of pine, with mature trees only reaching about twenty meters in height (sixty-five feet) and thirty centimeters in diameter (one foot) at breast height. However, it is a very hardy tree, which is good to mix in with other species. Jack pine can thrive in relatively infertile areas where other species are unable to survive, and it will probably have a very high survival rate if global warming causes temperatures in Canada to increase by several degrees.
Jack pine is a two-needle pine, which means that the needles come in pairs. The cones on Jack pine trees are relatively small, and have a tip that curves sharply toward the end of the twig. Jack pine grows very quickly and effortlessly after a disturbance such as a forest fire. Most of the cones remain on the tree for many years, until the heat from a forest fire (or extreme drought) causes them to pop open and release their winged seeds.
We generally plant significantly less Jack pine than we do of other pine species, but it is a good species to have in any mixwood forests.
Visit our Jack pine blog post to learn more about this species.
Eastern hemlock is also known as Canada hemlock or hemlock spruce. This tree is able to reach a height at maturity of over thirty meters (one hundred feet), and a diameter at breast height of more than a meter and a half (five feet).
As this species grows, it typically retains its branches halfway down the trunk, and sometimes all the way to the ground. The lower limbs typically droop down toward the ground in flat, layered fashion, and flare upward at the tips.
The eastern hemlock is a slow-growing tree that may take more than 250 years to reach full maturity, and can occasionally live to more than 800 years. That's amazing.
Visit our eastern hemlock blog post to learn more about this species.
Black spruce can occasionally reach twenty-five meters in height (eighty feet) but it is more common to see shorter trees than that. Black spruce has a straight trunk without much taper, and a narrow, pointed crown of short, compact, drooping branches with upturned tips.
The bark of black spruce trees is thin, scaly, and greyish-brown. Black spruce can be distinguished from white spruce due to having a dense cover of small hairs on the bark of young branch tips, shorter needles, and smaller and rounder cones.
Black spruce is typically found (and planted) in very wet and marshy areas. It grows quite slowly compared to other varieties of spruce, and for this reason, we don't typically plant very many black spruce on our projects. However, this species is ideal for creating forest cover in very swampy areas, so we sometimes plant it in small quantities.
Visit our black spruce blog post to learn more about this species.
Eastern white pine is also known as northern white pine, or commonly, just as white pine. This species can often grow to over forty meters in height (130 feet), with a diameter at breast height of more than a meter and a half (five feet).
Like other species of pine, the white pine prefers fairly well-drained soil, and has no problem growing in sandy soil. White pine trees like to receive lots of sunlight, and are a great species to act as a pioneer in open ground.
White pine is generally the largest species found in eastern Canada, and can live for almost 500 years if left alone. White pine is one of our favorite species to include in our projects, due to its majestic beauty. We typically plant a significant number of this species on each plantation when site conditions permit.
Visit our eastern white pine blog post to learn more about this species.
You can look at the "Trees We Plant" section of our website to learn a great deal of additional information about each of these species, and about other species that we've been planting regularly since 2019.
Fall 2019 Performance Report Video