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