Monday, January 29, 2007

Forest Improvement Project

The city has embarked on a small but important project in Taylor Park, between Dawes Road and Victoria Park Avenue. This area is known as the Goulding Estate and used to be owned by the Massey family who made their money in farm equipment (the Massey in Massey-Ferguson).

Location of project (click to expand)

One of the big problems with urban ravine forests is the prevalence of Norway Maples (Acer platanoides). This is a common street tree and is planted for its dense shade and tolerance of urban conditions. Unfortunately it is highly invasive and has been making its way into our native forests for several decades. Its dense shade allows little understory to grow and its prolific seed production outpaces native trees such as Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum).

Starting in December, the city in partnership with Urban Forest Associates and Friends of the Don East started to cut down the Norway Maples in a section of the forest (see map). With the removal of the trees, this will open up the forest canopy and allow for native trees that will be planted in the spring to have a chance to grow. The logs will be left in place. This will provide a shelter for wildlife. Over time, as they decompose they will add their biomass to the forest floor to benefit future plants.

FODE hopes to involve the community in the initial spring plantings and ongoing stewardship of the forest to ensure that there are no new invasions that might threaten the nascent forest.

Norway Maples cut on forest slope

Logs are left in place to provide habitat for small woodland creatures

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