Upon landing, Acadians discovered vas expanses of forest comprised of essentially the same species as were found in France (pine, fir, cedar, beech, birch, etc.). Other species, such as the spruce and the larch, were native to America, however. Devoting themselves to a method of cultivation based on the draining of marshlands, Acadians were not inclined to venture very far inland for their settlements. In general, their exploitation of the forest was restricted to cutting wood for their own needs, and to hunting big and small game for occasional meat and leather for their clothing.
For Acadians, this lack of interest in the forest was maintained when establishing their new Acadia. Even though the majority settled along the shore, forests still appeared as obstacles to colonization by reason of their high density along the coastline. As a first step, the trees felled by axe to clear new land were mostly gathered into piles and burned, which allowed a scorched-earth farming method for the first crops of buckwheat and potatoes.
Of course, the forest maintained its importance for supplying building material and fuels. Whether they began as fishermen or farmers, many Acadians went to logging camps during winter to earn extra income. In the second half of the 19th century, sawmills became more frequent in Acadian regions, and then in the early 20th century paper mills started to appear. But while many Acadians found work in these industries, some seized the opportunity to become wood merchants.
Village Historique Acadien