Forestry and Agrifoods
The destruction of over 400,000 hectares of land in the fire of 1961 and millions of cords of wood in the late 1960's by the Hemlock Looper and the planned expansion of the commercial harvest levels made it evident that a large scale reforestation effort was needed.
The Wooddale Provincial Tree Nursery located between the towns of Grand Falls-Windsor and Bishop's Falls in the center of the Province officially opened in 1974 with the first seedlings shipped in 1978. A satellite nursery facility was constructed in Goose Bay in the late 1970's to meet the reforestation needs in Labrador. Seedlings produced at both greenhouse facilities target the 15% of cutovers which failed to regenerate adequately. To date over 140 million seedlings have been planted. If all these seedlings were planted on one site, the area covered would be in excess of 60,000 hectares. Plantation survival is high (>90%) in part because of Newfoundland's humid climate but equally in part because the seedlings are of top quality and are conditioned for the harsh environment.
The genetic improvement of Newfoundland's planting stock has been researched for over 30 years. The early thrust was to identify the fastest growing, straightest, and healthiest individual trees in the wild and either collect seed or clone them by grafting branch tips. To date, over 850 of these individual trees representing 5 native species are planted in seed orchards located at the Wooddale Provincial Tree Nursery and in Western Newfoundland near Pynn's Brook. These orchards will soon reach seed bearing age. Now, we are mating each of these superior trees with another trying to find the parent combinations that produce even faster growing trees. It is hoped that by using orchard seed, future plantations will grow as much as 20 percent faster than they are currently growing. This would mean that more wood volume would be available in a shorter period of time lessening the demand on natural ecosystems.
To see tomorrow's forest, make it a point to visit the Wooddale Provincial Tree Nursery and the Goose Bay Tree Nursery while traveling through the Province. Public tours can be arranged with a special invitation extended to school groups. Visit our tree species arboretum, learn about the white pine blister rust disease and what is being done to return White Pine to the landscape, and discuss biodiversity, ecosystem management, and forest genetics and discover your role!