Black spruce bog, MB (Photo by NCC)

Black spruce bog, MB (Photo by NCC)

Kurian Property

Kurian property, MB (Photo by NCC)

Kurian property, MB (Photo by NCC)

Under a tall canopy, towering tree trunks stretch up from a soft mossy floor, its lush green carpet cushioning any sound. The trees are easily identified as black spruce by scaly bark and short needles, in addition to their habitat — black spruce are often found in bogs or poorly drained areas. This forest is ideal habitat for a wide range of species, including moose and numerous species of birds.

This is just one of the habitat types found on the 320-acre (130-hectare) Kurian property, located in the northern portion of the Whitemouth River Watershed Natural Area. The trees in the black spruce bog forest on the property are estimated to be almost 80 years old. The property also features tamarack larch fen habitats found in the lowlands of the Canadian Shield.

The Kurian property is bordered by Crown land to the northwest, the Agassiz Provincial Forest to the west and other Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) lands to the southwest. Reforestation of the property is a priority action now that the property is acquired.

Ecological significance

The Whitemouth River Watershed Natural Area spans more than 1 million acres (446,000 hectares) and represents a hotspot for species diversity in Manitoba. This landscape is the meeting place of the boreal coniferous forest, the eastern Superior mixed forest and the western prairie. Vast peatlands and other wetland types extend across close to 50 percent of this natural area.

The Whitemouth River Watershed Natural Area supports at least 105 provincially rare or uncommon species, including six provincially rare or uncommon orchids and the globally uncommon ram’s-head lady’s-slipper orchid.

Threats

Human infrastructure and incompatible peat extraction have been identified as the two largest threats to this natural area’s wetlands. The conservation of this property addresses both of these threats.

A natural partnership

Thanks in part to generous funding from TD Bank Group (TD) through the TD Forests program, this property has now been protected in perpetuity. Its conservation adds to the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) lands in the Whitemouth River Watershed Natural Area.

The TD Forests program will increase the amount of forested lands protected and cared for by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Over five years, the program will conserve an average of more than two football fields a day. TD and NCC are also engaging more Canadians in the mission to conserve our forests, which will safeguard not just the trees, but all the living things that rely on forested habitats.

The need for private land conservation and stewardship is urgent. While private lands occupy less than 20 percent of the natural area, they correspond with several habitat types that support critical aspects of the natural area’s biodiversity.

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