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Author Topic: Introduction of Western red cedar to Nova Scotia, one century ago. Results.  (Read 2825 times)

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Offline SwampDonkey

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The late Dr. W. H. Brittain, curator of Morgan Arboretum at  Macdonald College (1958-63) had a camp with private arboretum he began in the 1930's. He planted many non-native species of trees there. One was western red cedar (WRC). Recently Les Corkum, a supervisor of Forest Resources, Dept of Lands and Forest in NS, visited the camp by canoe, as no passable road existed at the time. He found a few specimens of western red cedar that did much better than any of the non native trees and better than the native eastern (northern) white cedar. "These cedars were so majestic that they reminded me of those found on the west coast of BC. They were considerably outgrowing all other species and appeared quite happy in their new environment". In 1980, Don Fowler, a tree genticist from Forestry Canada drove to the camp and found that many of the trees had ID tags and the site had been well kept. He measured a few of the red cedar trees at the time, and compared to the measurements he made in 1957. The heights ranged from 16-19.5 meters (~51-63 feet) and were continuing to grow well. The largest tree was 21" at dbh. He also found the cedars regenerating on the site naturally with new trees. 25 trees were between 3 and 40 feet tall with several hundred small seedlings with 100 meters of the camp. Eastern white cedar is very much vacant from most of mainland Nova Scotia and not in abundance like the rest of eastern Canada and New England. It is thought the original trees are unrelated as the seed is quite viable and the new trees are healthy. Since the original seed source is unknown it has pretty much inhibited the establishment of WRC plantations in the Maritimes.

Source: Atlantic Forestry Sept 2009.

I find the experiment  interesting in itself, but prefer to stick with native Maritime species. In the winter months, walking or snow shoeing in an eastern white cedar stand is one of many pleasures when there is no flies and your feet stay dry. ;D Many of these stands have been clearcut in this area. Although most sites that don't have deer pressure regenerate well, those old trees were a century and a half or more old. Most sites are not suitable for silviculture work because of drainage and watercourses. I could never see the sense in clear cutting cedar, it's the most suitable tree for the site it grows on. And when cut the site is usually left as a wasteland, even though it quickly becomes colonized by short lived shade intolerant species of low value. On my woodlot, I leave a cedar tree before any other softwood.
Move'n on.

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Introduction of Western red cedar to Nova Scotia, one century ago. Results.
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 02:10:03 PM »
Interesting article SD.  I like white cedar too, I have a lot of it on my property, even in dry areas.  It all appears to have originated in the 40's when the land stopped being farmed.  There are a few older trees in rockpiles that seem to have seeded the stands.

I'm pretty ruthless cutting fir when I'm out working as I have read it is over represented in NB forests now due to reduced fire pressure.  Also it tends to grow with few knots due to the self pruning so it is a pleasure to saw on the bandmill.

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