Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI)

 Conserving old-growth under the new old-growth forest policy in Kespukwitk

 Colin Gray1, Laura Carter2, Peter Bush3 and Brad Butt4 

1 ,2Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, Kempt, Queens County, NS

3,4 Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources & Renewables

Over the past four centuries, little of Nova Scotia’s forested areas have escaped human influences. Old-growth forest conditions were more prevalent on our landscape prior to European settlement. Land clearing for agriculture, human-caused forest fires and timber harvesting have all contributed to an increasingly fragmented forest. The outcome has been an increase in regenerating, young, even-aged early successional forest types. It has been determined by scientific research that old-growth forests are indispensable for supporting biodiversity, landscape connectivity, and ecosystem services and functions at multiple levels. In the new Old-Growth Forest Policy released earlier this year, all old-growth forests along with a system of restoration opportunities are policy-protected to help conserve these now rare or uncommon ecosystems across the province. In partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute has undertaken testing of the new old-growth forest assessment protocol in a variety of forest types across Southwestern Nova Scotia (Kespukwitk). Twenty-five stands (~225 ha) from a variety of forest-types have been surveyed. New protocols have increased the sampling intensity and as a result stands sampled had between 3-10 plots. In the paper, we examine the results of the field data collection and offer some comments on the field assessment protocols. Stands identified by MTRI as old-growth will now be protected for long term conservation by the province.  

Keywords: forests, old-growth, old-growth forest policy, field assessment procedures

Presentation type: poster


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