Zack M on Old Growth forest in Nova Scotia

Old growth hemlock

Just a few days back, I made a post about Zack Metcalfe’s walk through clearcut Crown land. His Guide talked about the declines of once common birds inhabiting mature forest, and how forestry on Crown land is removing the last vestiges of suitable habitat. It is a melancholy story that struck a lot of chords, as evidenced by the discussion about it on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (some the comments are appended to the post on this website).

Now Zack M writes about the few remnants of the forest that covered much of our land when the first Europeans arrived, the fabled “Old Growth”.

It’s easy to lose yourself in old growth in the forest, your neck craned back to admire the towering canopy and your voice kept low as to not disturb the silence. Stepping into one is like entering a cathedral, and having its defining features pointed out is like an initiation into some exclusive club. And the more you see, the more lofty your membership.

View METCALFE: Solitude speaks volumes in rare forests of Nova Scotia by Zack Metcalfe in the Chronicle Herald, Sep 17, 2017.

Zack’s ‘Guide’ for this story is Colin Gray, a retired police office who works with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute in SW Nova Scotia and leads their Old Forest Project. Gray described for Metcalfe the procedure used to give a score to ‘old growthness’ (my term for it).

It’s difficult to believe a forest’s old growth status could depend on something so simple as a score sheet. On it Gray reduced the natural features surrounding us to cold, hard arithmetic — the number of each tree species, their width and age, the quantity of standing or snagged deadwood, the abundance of woody debris and of course signs of human disturbance.

It’s a highly informative article covering a range of facts and concepts related to our Old Growth forests and how they have become so rare in Nova Scotia and so treasured by those who have experienced them.

Thanks, Zack


MTRI Old Forest Project

NSDNR Old Forest Policy
Page on this website

OG Species at Risk
Page on this website

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