Forest Restoration Projects

Urban forest restoration projects have many benefits. They increase habitat and natural area cover, make woodlands safer, create beautiful places to walk, improve water quality by reducing storm water runoff and erosion, increase the amount of pollutants that are removed from our air and water and much more.  

Activities related to urban forest restoration projects may include:

• creating a woodland management plan
• carrying out pruning to make the trees healthier and the trails safer
• removing and/or spreading out piles of dead wood that look like they are ready to be a campfire
• limbing trees that have fallen so they lay flat on the forest floor which speeds up decomposition
• reducing the number of trails in the woodland which, in turn, reduces forest fragmentation and creates better habitat for birds and other wildlife
• carrying out small patch cuts to create suitable planting spaces
• carrying out edge plantings that increase the amount of woodland present
• planting a diverse number of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns to increase biodiversity in the woodlands
• carrying out invasive species management

Charlottetown has three main forest restoration projects:

Miltonvale Well Field Reforestation Project, established in 2012.
Victoria Park Forest Restoration Project, established in 2006.
East Royalty Acadian Forest Project, established in 2011.

The City also carries out plantings in many other locations:  smaller woodlands, hedgerows, riparian zones, parks and green spaces.

Miltonvale Reforestation Project
Planting Trees Digging Holes

The Miltonvale well field site is a 206 acre property located in a scenic valley in Miltonvale Park, PEI. This property will serve as a future water source for the City of Charlottetown. The site consists of several abandoned farm fields, a section of woodland, two streams and a pond.

In 2012, ecological management of the site began in the form of a reforestation project. The projects goal is to increase biodiversity, improve water quality and create an overall healthy ecosystem. To date, a total of 13,649 native trees and shrubs have been planted on the Miltonvale well field property.

In the summer of 2012, over 9000 native trees were planted on the Miltonvale well field site. As part of this project, a small holding bed was created and will provide a source of native trees for this and other City reforestation projects, as well as trees for “natural areas” in City parks.

In 2013, the reforestation project continued. A tree survival assessment was carried out and determined that 90% of the 2012 plantings survived. Reforestation continued with the planting of 412 native trees and shrubs. Patches of large hardwoods were planted throughout a field of softwood saplings that had been planted previously by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Reforestation of a field just north of this area began by planting a mixture of hardwoods, softwoods and shrubs of varying sizes. Gaps in the hedgerows were filled with smaller trees and shrubs such as common apple, hawthorn and beaked hazelnut. Efforts to eliminate any invasive species on the property continued with the removal of glossy buckthorn, purple loosestrife and a common ornamental called autumn joy. The holding bed was also maintained throughout the summer with weeding, mulching, pruning and watering activities.

In 2014, the City’s work to improve and manage the land at the Miltonvale wellfield site continued. 60 new trees were planted that consisted of a mix of hardwood and softwood species. The provincial Department of Forestry and Agriculture also planted over 3000 softwood seedlings in one of the smaller fields within the wellfield site. Hardwood species will be added to this section increase species diversity. Reforestation of these fields will improve water quality and increase water retention.

The Miltonvale wellfield site continues to provide excellent habitat for many wildlife species. Birds of prey such as American bald eagle, American kestrel, Northern harrier and red-tailed hawk, are frequently spotted soaring overhead and hunting the fields. Eastern coyotes have been sighted passing through the tall grass on several occasions. Several bird species of interest call the Miltonvale site their home. Bobolink and barn swallows nest in the old fields and nearby abandoned structures. Populations of these species are in decline and are currently listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Sightings of these birds on the property are being recorded for the Island Nature Trust, who monitor their populations on Prince Edward Island.

Community planting events take place at Miltonvale on an annual basis and have included the general public, schools and community groups. IN the past, these events have been sponsored by the Toronto Dominion’s Green Streets Program and TD Tree Days, Home Hardware and the Wildlife Conservation Fund.
In October of 2017, the City hosted a fieldtrip to the Miltonvale wellfield site for close to 80 grade eight students from Queen Charlotte Intermediate School. Among other activities, the students planted 149 native trees and shrubs.   Fieldtrips such as this give the City the opportunity to show our youth the importance of groundwater and watershed protection; try their hand at tree identification; learn about the role trees play in our environment; how to plant trees properly and what they can do to help protect our resources.

Want to learn more about the watershed, reforestation project or the native trees and wildlife of PEI?

Reforestation Project Overview (PDF)
The Watershed (PDF)
How to Plant a Tree (PDF)
Wildlife of Miltonvale (PDF)
Native Shrubs of PEI (PDF)
Eastern White Pine (PDF)
Native Trees of PEI (PDF)
White Birch (PDF)
White Ash (PDF)
White Spruce (PDF)
Red Maple (PDF)
Northern Red Oak (PDF)
Riparian Zone (PDF)
Glossy Buckthorn (PDF)
Northern Leopard Frog (PDF)
Eastern Coyote (pdf)

Tree Canada programs offer support to projects such as the Miltonvale Reforestation and Tree Nursery Project.  For more information on the Tree Canada programs, visit:


Victoria Park Reforestation Project
In 1873, a bill was passed in the legislature, giving the City of Charlottetown 40 acres of the Government House farm. This area was designated as a park and named Victoria Park. The Park, being on the waterfront, is in an extremely beautiful location making it one of Charlottetown’s most popular recreational areas.

Historically the park has been used for a variety of activities from nature walks to picnics, concerts, cricket, tennis, football, swimming, sailing, cycling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, skating and horse racing. Today, the park is still a multi-use area encompassing nature trails, a freshwater pond, playgrounds, swimming pool, skatepark, ball diamonds, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, waterfront boardwalk as well as hosting seasonal events.

As a result of the high volume of human activity, extreme weather events, aging trees, insect pests and diseases and no management plan, the woodlands at Victoria Park were becoming very unhealthy. A forest restoration plan was needed to return the woodlands to a beautiful and healthy state.

The Victoria Park Forest Restoration Project started in the fall of 2005 with the creation of a forest restoration plan written by Gary Schneider, Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project.

We have now completed our 12th year of the Forest Restoration Project. Over the years there have been many enthusiastic summer students who have taken the project to heart and worked hard at all aspects of the plan; from tree and shrub planting, to removing invasive species such as glossy buckthorn and Japanese knotweed. It is great to see them gain knowledge, interest and pride in the Park and their work.

The Forest Restoration Project received special mention from Communities and Bloom judges who said “The Victoria Park Urban Forest Restoration Project, providing outdoor classroom learning experiences and an appreciation of nature’s fauna and flora within the City, is particularly well done and raises the awareness of the importance of providing a sustainable progressive approach to urban forestry management and the role of each citizen ensuring the protection of its natural heritage.”

Components of the Victoria Park Forest Restoration Project include native tree, shrub, wildflower and fern plantings; tree pruning and hazard maintenance, invasive species management, reducing forest fragmentation, dealing with vandalism and conducting a nature education program.

Since 2006, 2057 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns have been planting in and along the edges of the woodlands. Over 300 ½ ton truck loads of glossy buckthorn have been removed from the Park. Other invasive species that have been eradicated are multiflora rose, yellow flag iris, Oriental bittersweet, wild cucumber and Japanese knotweed.

The Park woodlands are much healthier these days, see far less vandalism since they are being actively cared for and have become a pleasant a beautiful place to take a stroll.


“A place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes.”

The creation of the native tree and shrub arboretum began in 2007 with the idea of showcasing our native trees and shrubs. Native perennial beds were added later and included wildflower and fern species.

The arboretum now includes many of Prince Edward Islands’ native trees and shrubs, wildflowers and ferns, including several rare species. As part of our Victoria Parks urban forest, it provides many environmental benefits including providing food and habitat for Park wildlife.

The arboretum has become a key component of the nature education program that is delivered out of Victoria Park. Children from daycares, kindergartens, elementary classes and local organizations take part in the nature education program and are introduced to the arboretum, tree identification and our native species.

The arboretum, which is located near Dead Man’s Pond, is a tranquil place where many people enjoy some peace and quiet in the middle of our busy urban environment.

Take a stroll in the Park!

Victoria Park trail map

East Royalty Acadian Forest Project
The East Royalty Acadian Forest Project began in 2011, by contracting the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project to create a forest management plan for the East Royalty Acadian Forest Park. Location of East Royalty Acadian Forest Project

The goals of the project were to apply best management practices to make the woodlands safe and healthier and to work with current user groups on use and management of the woodlands.

Work started on the forest project in 2012 and continues today. The woodlands has included making the trails safer for cyclists and other woodlands users, pruning to improve the health of the existing trees and plantings native trees, shrubs wildflowers and ferns.

Plantings include some of PEI’s rarest native plants such as the hobblebush, witch hazel, male fern, hairy sweet cicely and yellow violets are all ranked as rare by the Atlantic Canada Conservation Date Centre.
Plantings also included species that were not present in order to increase biodiversity of the woodland.
To date, 928 trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns have been planted on the property.

Nest boxes were installed to attract and provide nesting sites for species such as the black capped chickadees and tree swallows.

Invasive species removal began in 2015, with the help of the Parks and Recreation Department. Huge amounts of glossy buckthorn were removed from the woodlands and disposed of. This will have to continue into the future as there is a significant amount of glossy buckthorn seed present in the soil.

This project is also aimed at community engagement and has had Canada World Youth volunteers and students from L’Ecole Francois Buote helping with the plantings.

Funding from Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program helped to make this project possible.

What's been planted in the East Royalty Acadian Forest?

 Trees  Shrubs  Ferns  Wildflowers
 Eastern hemlock  Witch hazel  Male fern  Hairy sweet cicely
 Eastern white cedar  Hobblebush  Ostrich fern  Avens sp.
 Red Spruce  Red-osier dogwood  Christmas fern  Yellow coneflower
 White Spruce  Black chokeberry  Royal fern  Herb robert
 Eastern white pine    Crested fern  
 Eastern larch      
 Sugar maple
 Red maple      
 White ash      
 White birch      
 Yellow birch      
 Red oak      

Benefits of the Urban Forest

• Fight the effects of greenhouse gas emissions by absorbing C02 from the air
• Reduce mental fatigue and stress in adults and in children, aiding concentration
• Provide natural playgrounds
• Filter pollutants and particles from the air that we breathe
• Provide shade and protection from harmful ultra-violet rays
• Reduce energy consumption by sheltering houses from the summer heat and the winter cold
• Help to filter our waterways and protect shorelines by preventing soil erosion
• Help to calm drivers and slow traffic in our communities
• Serve as natural visual and sound barriers along road and rail ways
• Fruit and nut trees offer a sustainable food source
• Provide habitat for birds and wildlife
• Provide a valuable renewable resource

Cool and Interesting Facts about Trees:

• A mature tree removes almost 70 times more pollution than a newly planted tree.
• In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by a car driven 26,000 miles.
• You need about 500 full-sized trees to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by a typical car driven 20,000 km/year.
• One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.
• One study showed that 100 mature trees catch about 139,000 gallons of rainwater per year, reducing stormwater runoff.
• One square mile of: (per year)
- forestland produces 50 tons of erosion sediment
- farmland produces 1,000 to 50,000 tons of sediment
- land prepared for construction produces 25,000 to 50,000 tons of sediment
• Trees cool the city by up to 10°F by shading our homes and streets and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.
• Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating.
• The mature street trees in Beverly Hills, California, are worth $450 million.
• In Portland, Oregon, homes with street trees sold for $7,130 more, on average, and 1.7 days more quickly.
• Each large front yard tree adds 1% to the selling price. Large specimen trees can add 10% to property values
• In Baltimore, a 10% increase in tree canopy corresponded to a 12% decrease in crime.
• Trees in commercial districts translate into more frequent shoppers, longer shopping trips
• Trees create a community legacy
• Trees are a City’s most valuable infrastructure

Facts about Trees were quoted from the following websites:

Benefits of Trees to the Urban Environment
Arbor Day - Tree Facts
Interesting Facts About Trees
Trees and Our Environment
The Benefits of Trees
Reduce Your Stormwater - Tree Planting