Seedling emergence from organic and mineral soil layers was measured for nine study sites at the Acadia Forest Experiment Station near Fredericton, New Brunswick. The number of viable seeds showed a decrease from deciduous-dominated forest, to conifer-dominated forest, to organic soil study sites. Viable seed number varied from 3400/m2 for a deciduous-dominated forest study site to zero for a bog study site. Most seeds germinated from the upper organic soil layers of all study sites and were predominantly Rubus strigosus Michx. After the germination experiment, ungerminated seeds, which showed no viability by the tetrazolium test, were separated from the soil. These seeds were almost entirely Betula spp. and seed numbers were as high as 4200-9400/m2 for a deciduous-dominated forest. The applicability of the results to differing types of postdisturbance revegetation is discussed.