October 9, 2019 –Conservation Areas staff have wrapped up the second full year of monitoring the 2018 planting of endangered Butternut trees in Durham East Cross Forest. The Butternut planting project is a multi-year project which involved planting 20 Butternut trees and 20 Butternut companion trees in 2018, followed up by working with community members to plant an additional 115 Butternut trees in 2019.
Butternut trees are endangered in Ontario because of the Butternut Canker, a disease that has almost wiped out the population.
“This is an important conservation project to help re-introduce Butternut trees to Durham East Cross Forest, while protecting this important species,” explained Director, Stewardship and Conservation Lands, Kristie Virgoe.
The Butternut saplings have all been DNA tested to ensure they are pure Butternut trees and the seeds were collected from Butternut that have demonstrated resistance to the disease. The trees will be planted and protected from being browsed by deer and other wildlife.
“The Butternuts were planted in the spring of 2018 and a second group earlier this year, and our Conservation Areas staff have been monitoring their progress weekly to assess the health and vitality of the trees,” said Ms. Virgoe. “By planting more Butternut, we are hoping to establish a healthy plot for the trees and to increase our chances of finding some resistance to the Canker.”
“Durham East Cross Forest really is a gem among our conservation areas,” said Ms. Virgoe. “Undertaking and monitoring this critical project is an important investment in this conservation area and for both the community and the environment.
“Durham East Cross Forest has wonderful habitat for these trees and this project will help to improve the biodiversity of the area, while helping to re-introduce this important endangered tree back into the watershed,” she added.