2013 Report on Les amis de la montagne’s Conservation Patrol

2014-04-25

Formed in 1998 by Les amis de la montagne, the objectives of the Conservation Patrol are consistent with the Ville de Montréal’s Plan de protection et de mise en valeur du Mont-Royal which regards the protection of natural environments.

In addition to being a declared Heritage Site, Mount Royal remains, in the eyes of Montrealers, the symbol and the “green lung of Montreal” - an invaluable asset in an ever evolving urban environment. Due to the great popularity and attractiveness of the mountain, the natural environment is subject to great pressure. Environmental actions contribute to maintaining its abundant biodiversity.

Photo: Ville de Montréal

The Conservation Patrol

From May to October, 2013, field observations revealed that certain problems, such as the presence of trash in the undergrowth, are declining in Mount Royal Park. However, other issues have recently increased in scale and are becoming more worrying: camp fires, campsites, off-trail traffic (pedestrians and mountain bikes) and the feeding of animals, especially raccoons on the Camillien-Houde lookout.

The Environmental Stewardship Program

The ESP has three main objectives: conservation of biodiversity and an increase in plant biomass; community participation; and raising participants’ awareness of the mountain’s rich natural heritage.

Report 2013

Community members and corporate groups have responded in great numbers to the call by Les amis de la montagne to become directly involved in biodiversity conservation and the greening of Mount Royal. From May to October, 2013, 2,710 volunteers took part in environmental activities.

Planting native species of trees and shrubs

  • 3,077 trees and shrubs planted
  • 19 species of native trees and 15 species of native shrubs
  • 5 tree planting sites:
    • 897 trees and shrubs planted to the west of the hill featuring the reservoir shelter, at the edge of the woods (Smith House sector)
    • 315 trees and shrubs planted opposite the junction of Chemin Olmsted and the road leading to the entrance at Avenue Cedar;
    • 60 shrubs planted in the Piedmont, near the Quartier général du service des incendies de Montréal, to consolidate the site and replace certain dead vegetation following the planting of 280 trees and shrubs in 2012;
    • 1,504 trees and shrubs planted on the north slope of the mountain at the edge of the recently developed ring road in the Boisé Saint-Jean-Baptiste and between the Belvedere on the north summit and the Chemin Polytechnique;
    • 301 trees planted on the grounds of the Université de Montréal to enlarge the sugar maple woodlot in the Boisé Édouard-Montpetit. This planting activity was carried out by 293 primary school children via the Semences d’avenir pour le mont Royal project.

Monitoring survival and growth of planted trees and shrubs

Since 2004, Les amis de la montagne have monitored earlier tree plantings according to a scientific protocol inspired by the Institut de recherché en biologie végétale and the Parcs-nature of the Ville de Montréal. This protocol, which can be used by non-specialist volunteers, serves to gather specific data by measuring growth, assessing overall quality and by recording the rate of survival of trees during the first five years following their planting.

In 2013, 1,245 trees and shrubs planted in Mount Royal Park from 2008 to 2012 were monitored. Preliminary results show that more than 78% of the trees had survived their first years in the natural environment. The target for survival in a natural site is about 75% after five years.

Collecting trash in the undergrowth

This action consisted of collecting trash produced by human activity, while disturbing the natural environment as little as possible. Shelters and other traces of human activity were also dismantled. This work was carried out mainly during the Corvée du Mont-Royal, where all the wooded areas of Mount Royal Park, St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, the Royal Victoria Hospital and along the Boulevard Édouard-Monpetit on the Université de Montréal campus were cleaned. More than 150 bags of trash and recyclables were collected in 2013.

Study on methods to control Common Buckthorn and Norway Maple

The research project to control Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and the Norway Maple (Acer platanoide) was developed in 2006 in collaboration with researchers at the Institut de recherché en biologie végétale and a scientific committee including professionals from Les amis de la montagne, the Ville de Montréal and the Université de Montréal. The research involves the study of vegetation in designated plots that have been invaded by Buckthorn and/or Norway Maple to monitor the evolution of these plots following mechanical cutting of the stems of these alien invasive species. These two species can irreversibly threaten plant biodiversity and ecological integrity in the Mount Royal forests if there is no intervention.

Cutting Buckthorn and Norway Maple

In 2013, interventions were made in eight stations measuring 20 m by 20 m in Mount Royal Park. Volunteers cut 10,614 Buckthorn stems with a total biomass of 44.86 kg and 64 Norway Maple stems with a biomass of .07 kg. Six out of eight stations researched were a success. Areas of intervention on the grounds of the Université de Montréal, the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf and Saint Joseph’s Oratory were also conducted as part of the restoration and enhancement of biodiversity in urban settings by eliminating Buckthorn in the wooded areas of institutions on the north slope of Mount Royal.

Special projects

Les amis de la montagne wish to recognize the exceptional participation of citizen volunteers as well as many groups and corporate partners who made the success of the Environmental Stewardship Program possible.

Financial partners and participating groups in 2013

  • TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
  • TD Bank Group
  • Evergreen
  • Manulife Financial
  • Yves Rocher Foundation
  • Elle Québec (in collaboration with Yves Rocher Foundation)
  • Resolute Forest Products
  • Alcoa
  • HSBC
  • HSBC Youth Series (in collaboration with Evergreen)
  • Microsoft (in collaboration with Evergreen)
  • Diageo (in collaboration with Evergreen)
  • Palais des congrès
  • RBC
  • CPA Canada
  • Accenture
  • Intact assurance
  • Belair Direct
  • Ivahoë Cambridge
  • Arbres Canada
  • SAP
  • Portage
  • C-Vert
  • Scouts Canada
  • École St-Germain d’Outremont
  • École secondaire St-Georges

We especially thank the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, principal partner of “May: Mount Royal Month” and TD Green Sunday, for supporting Les amis’ Environmental Stewardship Programsince 2006. Special thanks to Evergreen for sponsoring many of our projects and being an essential partner in recent years with regrads corporate involvement in our program.

We wish to thank and acknowledge the excellent collaboration of the team at the Division des Grands parcs of the Ville de Montréal and the maintenance department of Mount Royal Park for helping to implement and support the program.

Since 1994, a total of 20,928 native trees and shrubs have been planted by volunteers on the Mount Royal territory!

Photo : Dugraff
« Plantez avec nous! » An invitation launch on June 8 to readers of  Elle Québec magazine, in collaboration with the Yves Rocher Foundation, within the Operation Plantons pour la Planète sur le mont Royal.

Planting in the Parc du 3e Sommet on September 27 by Manulife Financial employees.

Planting of 125 trees in Mount-Royal Park on October 6 to celebrate ALCOA's 125th anniversary.