The movement of firewood threatens PEI's forested environment. Although we might not see them, invasive insects and disease can easily hide in firewood. When firewood moves, so do these pests, potentially establishing new populations that cause damage our beautiful Acadian forested landscape.
If you move firewood, for example from your home to your cottage or campsite, you could unwittingly spread pests like emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease or beech leaf mining weevil to a new area.When you need firewood, remember to:
Prince Edward Island is part of the Acadian Forest Region (AFR), which is one of the eight distinct forest regions in Canada. The Acadian Forest is located between the boreal and northern deciduous forests, it is a transitional forest featuring trees species from both.
Today, PEI's forested landscape is degraded and heavily fragmented in comparison to pre-settlement. A fragmented forest is one that is separated into patches that are disconnected from each other. While this fragmentation can sometimes occur naturally, on PEI it is man-made disturbances like roads, housing, and agriculture that are the leading cause of this disturbance. These smaller patches now have an increased amount of edge habitat, which results in plants in these areas being exposed to higher temperatures, light levels and wind. This change in conditions often displaces native species and therefore invasive species have an increased opportunity to become established. Invasive species can have far-reaching and potentially long-term impacts on forest ecosystem health by reducing biodiversity, altering water cycles, contributing to forest fires and ultimately changing the overall make-up of the forest.
The present-day PEI forest is highly simplified, dominated by white spruce, balsam fir and black spruce accounting for 42.9% of all forest trees. With the most common three deciduous trees, red maple, white birch and trembling aspen accounting for 39.5%. Collectively these six species account for 82.4% of all tree species across PEI. A majority of these species (white spruce, balsam fir and black spruce and white birch) are expected to dramatically decline on PEI over the rest of the century as a result of climate change creating opportunities for invasives species to become dominant.
The pre-settlement Acadian Forest on PEI was characterized by a diverse mix of coniferous and deciduous species varying based on their location in upland or lowland areas. Upland areas were characterized by species such as American beech, sugar maple, and yellow birch, red spruce, eastern hemlock, red oak, balsam fir and white pine. Lowland area species included red maple, black spruce, eastern white cedar, American elm, black ash, and white ash. The table below details the common species that made up the pre-settlement Acadian Forest on PEI.
|Pre-settlement Acadian Forest Species *|
|Hardwood Species||Softwood Species|
|Eastern white cedar
|Northern Red oak
|* Based on Research by MacQuarrie & Lacroix (2003), Simpson (2015) and Noseworthy & Beckley (2020)|
Read more about native trees of the Acadian Forest at MacPhail Woods – Ecological Forestry Projects
Conservation status ranks are based on information gathered from the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Center (AC CDC), 2022. AC CDC maintains a comprehensive provincial list of plant and animal species in the Atlantic Region: http://www.accdc.com/en/ranks.html