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The Greening Of Mistawasis


SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1994      v23 n05 p15  
From burned-out land to a wildlife habitat: this is the goal of the Mistawasis Indian band, which this spring began planting 345,000 seedlings on reserve land which burned in 1984.

Rudy Dreaver

The major tree-planting project has been funded by Tree Plan Canada, a Green Plan program of the Canadian Forest Service (CFS). The $88,900 grant covers the cost of seedlings, services and materials to plant 260,000 jackpine, 40,000 red pine, 40,000 white spruce and 5,000 aspen.

This relationship between the CFS and the Mistawasis Band is not a new one. Through its Partnership Agreement in Forestry, CFS has provided Mistawasis with funding and expertise in forest management, planning and reforestation activities. An inventory of the 12,000 hectares of Mistawasis forest land has provided comprehensive information on the kinds of trees and amount of timber that are there, and this data has been entered on computerized maps.

Well informed, the band has been carrying out silviculture activities on the reserve since 1989; controlling dwarf mistletoe by harvesting infected trees; removing trees from stands to improve the growth of the remaining trees; and "releasing trees from the surrounding vegetation that competes with them for nutrients and sunlight," says Louise Worster. CFS. Natural Resources Canada.

Since 1992, the band has planted 210,000 seedlings on the reserve through the Partnership Agreement and, with the support of CFS has prepared and reforested about 260 hectares of reserve land.

This year's tree-planting project employs 17 band members.