The Sudbury Re-greening Project is one we began working on a number of years ago. The annual growth of the project is a testament to how well it has been received and the results have been outstanding.
tentree has partnered with the City of Greater Sudbury’s Regreening Program which focuses on rehabilitating Sudbury’s landscape and watersheds.
Total Trees Planted
Just four decades ago, Sudbury became synonymous with the word ‘moonscape’ and has since the butt of many jokes related to the barren landscape left in ruins after the mining boom in the early 19th century. But before the 1870s, old forests were dominated by large white and red pines that covered the area. First, lumbering took out the largest trees. Then, the discovery of copper and nickel ore in the 1880s led to the removal of even more trees to help fuel the smelting of ore. Emissions of sulphur dioxide gas from smelting were especially harmful to plants, resulting in large areas of dead forests. Without the protective cover of vegetation, the soil quickly eroded from the hillsides, leaving only exposed bedrock that became blackened by smelter gases. Smelting also released metal particles into the air which landed and accumulated in the soil, making the soil toxic to plants. As a result, over 82,000 hectares (202,630 acres) in Greater Sudbury were left in a barren or semi-barren state.
Few plants could survive these conditions. Most couldn’t take root due to the frequent ground-level clouds of sulphur dioxide and to the elevated levels of metals in the soil. Government regulations, construction of the famous ‘super stack,’ and continuous improvements in smelting processes have resulted in over a 90% reduction in sulphur dioxide levels from levels in the early 1970s.
Since 1978, the City of Greater Sudbury’s (CGS) Regreening Program has been spreading crushed dolomitic limestone to decrease soil acidity, which, in turn, firmly binds metals to soil particles making them unavailable for uptake by plants. With reduced sulphur dioxide levels in the air and decreased metal availability in the soil, plants were now able to colonize and grow. The Regreening Program has also planted 9.5 million seedlings of pines and spruces, and, more recently, deciduous trees and shrubs. Recovery of local ecosystems is now underway and young forests are slowly developing across much of Greater Sudbury’s rock barrens.
Despite all the hard work, recent calculations reveal that 35,000 hectares of land have received no treatment at all. Without any human intervention, it could take centuries for forests to develop on their own. tentree is working with the CGS Regreening Program to enhance the natural environment and increase biodiversity to improve terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on remaining impacted lands. By purchasing a tentree product, you will help prevent further soil erosion, help build soil fertility, establish forests for wildlife habitat, and protect water quality in lakes and streams.
Loss of the forests has resulted in extensive soil erosion, with the spring melt washing the soil into valleys, lakes, and streams. By planting in small pockets of remaining soil, the trees’ roots will bind the existing soil in place, reducing further erosion.
Once a vegetative cover is established, leaf litter will begin to accumulate and add organic matter to the soil which was lost during the erosion process. Organic matter is an important component of any soil, providing nutrients and moisture control.
Create a Habitat
Forest creatures require food and shelter to survive. By planting components of the original forest and supplementing with other native species we are re-creating habitat that was lost a century ago.
The trees are going to help preserve and restore the land for future generations of Sudbury.
By working with the local community, we are giving a voice to the residents who want to see their environment restored.
These trees will create a carbon sink that will help to take pollution out of the air and slow the effects of global warming.
The land will be better equipped to soak up and filter rainwater before it goes into municipal water sources.
Our primary focus in Sudbury is to reforest areas that will be protected for life and have a positive effect on the city. We are focusing on native tree species and are actively trying to recreate the forest that once flourished there so many years ago.
The Jack Pine is our main restorative species. As a native plant in the area, it is perfect for the soil and weather conditions of Sudbury.
After getting the trees from storage / the greenhouse, they’re carefully packed onto a truck and transported to the field. It is important to make sure the soil stays moist and tightly packed around the roots. Once at the site, we use GPS and mapping to ensure we’re planting in the right area so there is no overlap.
Bag Up & Bug Spray
The planters “bag up” meaning they fill their bags with as many seedlings as they can. This is where the foreman's job becomes very important -- they need to do the math to figure out where to meet you on the field with your next round of trees. Also make sure to load up on bug spray as they can be pretty annoying.
Last step is planting the tree -- it’s usually done at a walking speed if the ground isn’t too tough. A great plot of land is call “cream” and a crappy one is call “schnarb”.
The City of Greater Sudbury is the municipality and its operations.