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Atlantic White Cedar Swamp.  Photo by USFWS  

Atlantic White Cedar is only found within a narrow coastal belt 50 to 130 miles wide. More...

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In 2003, The New Roxbury Land Trust acquired a 17+ acre parcel off Pole Bridge Rd. in Woodstock.  This area is part of an Atlantic White Cedar swamp.

Atlantic White Cedar.
 Atlantic White Cedar is an evergreen in the cypress and juniper family. It looks like American arborvitae.
Areas where Atlantic White Cedar is found
Areas where Atlantic White Cedar is found.

Why should we care about protecting this ecosystem?  According to Jean Pillo, a DEP Master Wildlife Conservationist volunteer and member of The New Roxbury Land Trust, the Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is only found within a narrow coastal belt 50 to 130 miles wide. Since it does not tolerate shade, it thrives only in open boggy areas.

This unique habitat, which was once abundant, was largely lost as a result of logging and conversion of land to agriculture. The highly tannic wood was also favored by early colonists as a source of fenceposts. Although swamps buffer surrounding communities from flooding by absorbing large amounts of rainwater and spring runoff, remaining unprotected swamps are threatened when development involves filling wetlands, or channeling excessive runoff into a swamp, which drowns the cedars.  Atlantic white cedars are also sensitive to pollutants.

Atlantic white cedar swamps may accommodate a variety of wildlife, including rare species such as creeping snowberry (CT threatened); and the sharp-shinned hawk (CT endangered); and the banded bog skimmer (CT endangered). The endangered Hessel’s hairstreak butterfly caterpillar feeds exclusively on cedar trees. Fisher, spotted turtle, gray fox, bobcat and bear may also be found in a cedar swamp.


Originally published in The New Roxbury Land Trust newsletter, 2003

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Last updated October 25, 2016

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