Through their Forests for the Future initiative and with permission from the City of Moncton, the Fundy Biosphere Region installed a new mini forest in New Brunswick at a former landfill site along the Petitcodiac River. Twelve volunteers planted over 700 trees and shrubs representing twelve native plant species.  

The Project

The landfill was decommissioned and capped in 1994, but there have been ongoing concerns about the environmental health of the site. Also, the site has remained largely bare of trees due to an absence of nearby seed sources. To meet these local needs and concerns, the mini forest was implemented to stabilize and improve the soil, and is part of a larger plan to increase local climate resilience. It will also add canopy cover for pedestrians passing along the nearby 47 kilometre-long riverfront trail. 

To prepare the site, Fundy Biosphere staff first mowed the grass tight to the ground to expose as much of the dense clay and rocky soil as possible. Next, a thick layer of mulch was added to provide additional nutrients and suppress weed growth. The site was then allowed to rest for several weeks before the planting.  

Lessons Learned

Sourcing local plant stock proved challenging for this initiative. To obtain locally adapted trees and shrubs in time for the planting, Fundy Biosphere Region placed their orders eight months in advance, and sourced plants from several different locations.  

Fundy Biosphere Region staff noted challenges in recruiting planting volunteers using social media, so they instead approached local businesses. A waste management company, Eco360, provided their staff with a paid volunteer day to help with the planting. However, access to the site was blocked for two weeks, which resulted in a delay in the planting.  

This mini forest will be part of a long-term plan to reforest and improve the environmental health of this site, while also enhancing recreational opportunities along the riverfront trail. Municipal support from the City of Moncton, volunteer capacity provided by Eco360, and creative and proactive planning through Fundy Biosphere Region made this project a success. In time and as it establishes, the new mini forest will create seed stock for future plantings, reduce erosion, and enhance the soil and air quality.  

“The Fundy Biosphere Region was very happy with the availability and support that we received from Green Communities Canada. The additional documents and mini forest community of practice meetings were also a great idea, while I did not get the chance to attend any of the meetings, they seemed very helpful to those who do not come from a forestry background and may require more support.” – Nigel McLaughlin, Fundy Biosphere Region 

This project was supported by Green Communities Canada’s Living Cities Canada Fund. 

To find plants that are adapted to grow in your region, or plant nurseries that sell native plants, visit the Network of Nature website.