Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) : Institut de recherche du Mersey Tobeatic

MTRI - Projects - Forest - Old Forest


MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.

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Old Forest Project

Why are Old Forests important? 

Over the past four centuries, little of Nova Scotia’s forested areas have escaped human influences. The outcome has been a proliferation of relatively young, even-aged, early successional forest types across an increasingly fragmented landscape. Less than 1% of Nova Scotia’s forest cover remains as old forest, which makes it increasingly difficult to maintain ecological connectivity between them. Old forests are a vital component of the forest ecosystem and biodiversity; they are important habitat for wildlife including mosses, lichens, cavity nesting birds and mammals. Most of Nova Scotia’s forest land (70%) is privately owned with almost half in small private holdings. Small private landowners must be included in collaborative work to maintain landscape connectivity, conserve biodiversity and restore old forests in western Nova Scotia. The development of private landowner stewardship requires an understanding of landowner knowledge and values about managing old forests and their active participation in research and management activities.



Accoding to the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) ninth principle, an assessment to determine the presence of the high conservation value forests must be completed. After obtaining the FSC certification in early 2010, the Bowater Mersey Paper Company contracted MTRI to locate and score old growth forests in their Medway District. This information will be used for the purpose of certification, for preserving such conservation value forests, and for use in future management operations in this Medway District.


Project Objectives

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve includes small amounts of old forests on private and public woodlands. While other projects have investigated old forests on large private woodlands, public crown lands and in protected areas, MTRI has been working with landowners of small private woodlands to achieve the following objectives:


Check out a video showing some of the techniques
used by our researchers in the field! 





Years of Data




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