6 episodes

“Below the Canopy” explores the relationships between people and the forests they care for, with a particular focus on the Wabanaki forest—a special forest type found across the northeast of Canada and the United States. Intensive forest management since colonization has degraded what was once a diverse and resilient forest while creating challenges for the communities who are most reliant on forests for their livelihoods. In this podcast, host and forest ecologist Megan de Graaf speaks to experts from the region to understand how we got here and how we might start to restore the forest to its former abundance. The series paints a hopeful vision for forests in the region, offering lessons for forest stewardship across Turtle Island.

This podcast is part of Community Forests International’s Common Ground Project, which seeks to build solidarity between settler and Indigenous communities through forest care.

Below the Canopy Community Forests International

    • Science

“Below the Canopy” explores the relationships between people and the forests they care for, with a particular focus on the Wabanaki forest—a special forest type found across the northeast of Canada and the United States. Intensive forest management since colonization has degraded what was once a diverse and resilient forest while creating challenges for the communities who are most reliant on forests for their livelihoods. In this podcast, host and forest ecologist Megan de Graaf speaks to experts from the region to understand how we got here and how we might start to restore the forest to its former abundance. The series paints a hopeful vision for forests in the region, offering lessons for forest stewardship across Turtle Island.

This podcast is part of Community Forests International’s Common Ground Project, which seeks to build solidarity between settler and Indigenous communities through forest care.

    The impact of forest degradation on biodiversity with Matt Betts

    The impact of forest degradation on biodiversity with Matt Betts

    The amount of forestland has increased in parts of Canada in the last hundred years. But what’s green isn’t necessarily good for biodiversity. In this episode of Below the Canopy, we speak to Dr. Matthew Betts, whose research confirms what many already suspected: that when naturally diverse forests are degraded through intensive management, biodiversity will suffer. Dr. Betts explains the importance of conducting long-term ecological research, the usefulness of birds as a biodiversity indicator species, and how forest degradation is impacting wildlife in eastern Canada.
    Resources and further reading:
    Forest degradation drives widespread avian habitat and population declines, Betts et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2022Replanting one type of tree is not enough to stop clearcutting harm, study finds, CBC News, 2022Why forest complexity matters for biodiversity and resilience, Community Forests International, 2022
    We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
    Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
    Sign up for Community Forests International's newsletter to stay up to date with Below the Canopy and the rest of our work!
    To support Community Forests International, please visit: https://forestsinternational.org/donate/.

    • 25 min
    Conjuguer foresterie écologique et viabilité économique avec Mathieu LeBlanc

    Conjuguer foresterie écologique et viabilité économique avec Mathieu LeBlanc

    « C’est quoi le pire qui pourrait arriver? » C’est ce que l’épouse de Mathieu LeBlanc lui a demandé quand il a quitté son emploi et fondé une compagnie de foresterie au Nouveau-Brunswick en 2008. Le pays connaissait une crise financière, la demande de produits du bois avait dégringolé et l’industrie forestière en souffrait. Malgré ces difficultés, le pari de Mathieu était bien placé : sa compagnie, ACFOR, est l’une des compagnies forestières écologiques les plus prospères au Nouveau-Brunswick.
    Dans cet épisode de Sous la canopée, Mathieu nous fait connaître sa motivation à fonder ACFOR, nous dit pourquoi sa compagnie a si bien réussi et nomme les ingrédients essentiels de la viabilité économique d’une foresterie écologique. 
    Ressources et documentation :           Prescriptions sylvicoles pour la résilience aux changements climatiques de la forêt Wabanaki, Community Forests International, 2022Notre forêt en transformation, Community Forests International, 2020Borealization of the New England – Acadian Forest: a review of the evidence (La boréalisation de la forêt Acadienne /de Nouvelle-Angleterre : examen des faits probants), Noseworthy, J. & T.M. Beckley, Environmental Reviews, 2020.Healing while harvesting (Guérir en récoltant), magazine Canadian Forest Industries, 2015
    Merci au gouvernement du Canada pour son financement en soutien à ce balado.
    Illustrations dans le balado : Emma Hassencahl-Perley et Erin Goodine.
    Pour appuyer Community Forests International, rendez-vous à : https://forestsinternational.org/donate/.

    • 26 min
    Growing trees for a future forest with Jesse Saindon

    Growing trees for a future forest with Jesse Saindon

    Jesse Saindon has spent most of his adult life growing trees. As the owner of Liberty Tree Nursery in Beaver Dam, New Brunswick, Jesse tends to a unique mix of hardwood trees native to the Wabanaki forest—also known as the Acadian forest. In this episode of Below the Canopy, Jesse explains what inspired him to open Liberty Tree Nursery, his process for collecting locally-adapted seeds, and his motivations for growing bur oak—an ecologically and culturally significant tree species that is now rare in New Brunswick.
    Resources and further reading:
    Bur Oak: King of the Floodplains, Liberty Tree Nursery, Aug 30, 2021Conservationists work to save dwindling population of bur oak trees, CBC New Brunswick, Dec 23, 2021Past and present distribution of New Brunswick bur oak populations: a case for conservation, McPhee, D. & Loo, J.A., 2009Climate Change-Resilience in the Acadian Forest: A Review, Community Forests International, 2018
    We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
    Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
    Sign up for Community Forests International's newsletter to stay up to date with Below the Canopy and the rest of our work!
    To support Community Forests International, please visit: forestsinternational.org/donate.

    • 25 min
    Weaving art, ecology and language with shalan joudry

    Weaving art, ecology and language with shalan joudry

    shalan joudry knows the power of language and story for bringing people together around shared causes. As a Mi’kmaw conservation ecologist and narrative artist, shalan has spent her career finding creative ways to share Mi’kmaq culture and teachings to help protect ecosystems and species at risk in Nova Scotia. In this episode of Below the Canopy, shalan explains how she has been able to blend her background as an ecologist with her art, the importance of preserving the Mi’maw language, and the stories that she's most excited to tell.
    Resources and further reading:
    Elapultiek (We Are Looking Towards), shalan joudry, Nimbus Publishing, 2019 Thinking About Land and Language, shalan joudry, The Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, 2021Two-Eyed Seeing and other lessons learned within a co-learning journey of bringing together indigenous and mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing, Cheryl Bartlett, Murdena Marshall and Albert Marshall, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2012
    We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
    Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
    Sign up for Community Forests International's newsletter to stay up to date with Below the Canopy and the rest of our work!
    To support Community Forests International, please visit: forestsinternational.org/donate.

    • 29 min
    Bridging Indigenous knowledge and Western science with Suzanne Greenlaw

    Bridging Indigenous knowledge and Western science with Suzanne Greenlaw

    There is a growing interest in managing natural resources like forests and waterways using both Indigenous ecological knowledge and Western scientific knowledge. While the intent behind these efforts is often well-meaning, the actual application and integration of these practices does not always take full account of the values and needs of Indigenous peoples.
    In this episode, Megan interviews Suzanne Greenlaw, a citizen of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and a PhD candidate in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine. In her research, Suzanne weaves Wabanaki ecological knowledge and Western scientific knowledge to improve access to culturally significant plants, such as basket-quality black ash trees and sweetgrass. Suzanne shares her experience integrating Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge into natural resource management and the challenges she has observed throughout her career.
    Resources and further reading:
    Wabanaki Basketmakers Want to Show That Harvesting Sweetgrass Can Be Sustainable, Jennifer Mitchell, Maine Public, 2018Indigenous stewardship should be central to conservation efforts, international study finds, University of Maine News, 2021Gathering Sweetgrass and Renewing the Past: How Science at Acadia Is Making a Course Correction, Catherine Schmitt, National Park Service, 2021"The Borer and the Basket", video from Community Forests International, 2022
    We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
    Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
    To support Community Forests International, please visit: forestsinternational.org/donate.

    • 30 min
    Restoring Canada’s forgotten forest with Jamie Simpson

    Restoring Canada’s forgotten forest with Jamie Simpson

    The Wabanaki forest—also known as the Acadian forest—is one of Canada's most diverse and endangered temperate forest types, yet is largely unknown to the general public. In this episode, Megan speaks to Jamie Simpson—a forester, lawyer, woodlot owner, and the author of Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Stewardship for Woodlot Owners in Eastern Canada. Jamie traces the history of the Wabanaki forest since colonization and describes pathways for restoring this unique forest to its former abundance.
    Resources and further reading:
    Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Stewardship for Woodlot Owners in Eastern Canada, Jamie Simpson, Nimbus Publishing, 2014New England-Acadian Forest Restoration: A Landowner’s Guide to Theory and Practice, Josh Noseworthy, 2018“Our Changing Forest”, video series from Community Forests International, 2020
    In this episode, Jamie references the Medway Community Forest Cooperative and the Mi’kmaq Forestry Initiative.
    We would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for supporting this project.
    Podcast artwork by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Erin Goodine.
    Sign up for Community Forests International's newsletter to stay up to date with Below the Canopy and the rest of our work!
    To support Community Forests International, please visit: forestsinternational.org/donate.

    • 27 min

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