Thanks to generous support from Eco-Action, EOS Eco-Energy is planting four community/urban forests in the Tantramar region between 2022 and 2024. The urban forests will be planted and designed in various communities located across the Tantramar region, including Sackville, Memramcook, and Fort Folly.
The low-lying Chignecto border region of southeast New Brunswick is highly vulnerable to climate impacts such as freshwater floods, but also to longer drought periods. We need to manage our freshwater resources in a way that builds community resilience to climate change. A great way of doing so is through natural infrastructure projects, such as urban forests. Urban forests provide a number of important ecosystem services, such as reducing flooding by slowing stormwater runoff, absorbing rainwater, sequestering carbon, regenerating the soil, and recharging ground water. The community urban forest project seeks to strategically help reduce freshwater flood risk while also providing other co-benefits to the Tantramar region, such as increasing biodiversity, supplying fresh locally grown foods, and supporting the Tantramar River watershed.
This project forms an important part of a larger EOS effort to promote community-based natural infrastructure, and monitor and educate about watershed health.
- To improve freshwater management (reduce flood risk) with the creation of urban forests in our local communities.
- To increase community resilience to climate change by planting urban forests with community partners and volunteers, including youth.
- To promote the benefits of urban forests and their ecosystem services to the public including youth.
What is an urban forest?
An urban forest is a forest, or a collection of trees, that grow within a city, town or small community. They can be planned, planted, protected and maintained for a variety of community and environmental benefits.
For our project, all of our sites are in small towns and rural communities, including a First Nation community, and have the added benefit of doubling as food forests.
To learn more: Read this Tree Canada Guide
For the purpose of this project, EOS has designed community/urban forests specifically to address the need of reducing flood risk in our communities, while also addressing needs related to water conservation and food security. This includes choosing site locations that are best suited to flood risk reduction, and also trees and plants that are thought to be resilient to climate change impacts, such as drought, pests, and flooding. Edible trees and shrubs will also be planted to improve food security. For more information on edible forests, consult our food forest webpage: Food Forest Project
What are the benefits of community/urban forests?
- Freshwater flood risk reduction
- Carbon sequestering
- Reducing rainfall run off
- Recharging groundwater
- Protect and restore the soil
- Planting native species
- Increase in biodiversity and provide habitat, including for pollinators
- Build self-sufficiency and resiliency skills
- Connect students and the community with nature and sustainable food production
- They can also be used to grow food in a sustainable way
How to plant a community/urban forest:
1. Start by reading lots about urban forests. You can find more information in the educational resources below. Contact an expert to help you design your urban forests. EOS worked with Understory Farm and Design to get advice on the appropriate plants for each site, and on the overall designs. We considered the characteristics of each site, sun, shade, soil types, etc. We included as many native species as we could and included plants for each layer of the forest to help mimic a forest environment. Make sure to properly space plants, such as apple trees, that will require lots of space in the future. A site plan can help.
2. Then do you site prep. This can include tilling the soil or using cardboard mulch, adding compost or lime, and any additional preparations.
3. Select and order your native trees, shrubs berries, plants, herbs, ground covers, etc. and get to work planting them. Water everything well as it continues to grow and add mulch to keep the moisture in.
Interested in planting your own urban forest? Here are some resources to get you started.
Selected trees, shrubs and plants for community/urban food forests in southeast NB:
- Red, sugar and silver maple
- Yellow and white birch
- Red oak, bur oak
- Pine, spruce, tamarack, cedar
- Apple, pear, cherry trees
- Service berry, high bush cranberry, elderberry
- Haskap berries, blueberries, raspberries, currants
- Day lillies (mulching effect)
- Lupins, bay berry (nitrogen fixer)
- Yarrow, Echinacea, Blue Vervain, Milkweed (native pollinator species)
- Oregano, sage, chives, thyme, mint, hyssop
- Wild raisin (native species)
- And so many more great trees and plants!
Local Permaculture and Forest Designers:
Understory Farms – Estelle Drisdelle is a food forest and permaculture expert based in Port Elgin, NB
Permaculture Atlantic Network– A network of permaculture experts across the maritimes.
Local Sources for Plants and Trees:
Anderson’s Greenhouse – Fruit trees, perennials, berries and more located in Sackville, NB
Otter Creek Nursery– Daylillies, bee balm, nut trees, grapes and more located in Port Elgin, NB
Corn Hill Nursery– Apple trees, pear trees, service berries, haskap berries, blue berries perennials and more in Corn Hill, NB with delivery services
MacArthur’s Nursery– Perennials, shrubs, trees and more in Moncton, NB
Liberty Tree Nursery– Various native tree saplings in Fredricton, NM
Mushroom Log How-To Guide:
Mushrooms are an important part of the forest ecosystem. Make your own with this handy guide.
Climate Change Reselient Trees in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve: https://www.fundy-biosphere.ca/images/projects-initiatives/FBR_Climate_Change_Resiliency_Report_v12.pdf
The Community Food Forest Handbook: https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/the-community-food-forest-handbook/
Integrated Forest Gardening: https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/integrated-forest-gardening/
To learn more about our urban forests, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Rotary Club of Sackville, NB
Horizon Health Network’s COIN-G