The windy and rainy weather didn't slow the Parks Canada crew planting in Cavendish, P.E.I., on Wednesday.
"It's nice and warm with lots of water falling," said Hailey Paynter, the forest ecosystem lead with Parks Canada.
"It's a great way to start these seedlings off with a nice good soaking."
The crew managed to plant 1,000 shrubs and trees in Cavendish Campground, to replace those lost during post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019.
Paynter said the majority of the trees knocked down were white spruce, which she said were the dominant tree in the area and had all reached the "age of collapse."
Reintroducing Acadian species
But instead of replanting those, Paynter said they are aiming to bring the forest area back closer to its original habitat, known as an Acadian forest.
"Our forests look a little bit different these days than they did previously," said Paynter.
"When settlers came to P.E.I., they cleared a lot of the land for firewood, for agriculture so we lost a lot of these key tree species that were here beforehand."
This is the latest attempt to restore the area to a more natural state. In 2017, Parks Canada spent the summer planting 39,000 trees in P.E.I. National Park.
By reintroducing Acadian species into the area, Paynter said they are also increasing the forest's biodiversity which, in turn, makes it more resilient.
"Disturbances like post-tropical storm Dorian are natural occurrences," she said.
"In a forest that has many different ages and many different trees you only have so many trees that are at the age of collapse or vulnerable to those wind events."
But, fallen trees aren't always a bad thing. In fact, Paynter said some of the dead trees have been deliberately left in the campground.
"They actually provide a home to many animals such as woodpeckers, even raccoons."
And despite having planted some thousand trees and shrubs this year, Parks Canada isn't done yet. Paynter said while these new additions thrive in full sun, once they reach a decent height, foliage that favours shade will be planted below.
"A lot of people looked at this event as a bit devastating because they're used to seeing the campground in a specific way," said Paynter. "I think in reality this campground in 50 years is going to be absolutely beautiful.
"It's going to represent our natural forest region and it's going to be healthier as an ecosystem altogether."
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