Protected Lands

Fall vista in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area

Under EGSPA (the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, passed in 2007) Nova Scotia committed to protect at least 12 per cent of its land area by 2015. By the end of 2015, 12.26% was protected. With new designations in March of 2017, that figure rose to about 12.39%.**
**Sep 30, 2019: New and Expanded Protected Areas Around Province
NS Environment “Quick Facts- the 17 designated sites total about 7,400 hectares. They include four wilderness areas, 10 nature reserves, and three provincial parks; – the 10 sites to be designated soon total about 7,000 hectares. They include six wilderness areas, two nature reserves and two provincial parks; – together, these will bring the provincial protection total to about 12.73 per cent or 704,000 hectares”

What’s Included? From Designation Types on the Parks and Protected Areas website:

Provincial protected areas that count toward the 12 per cent goal fall under three different designations:
Wilderness areas protect nature and support wilderness recreation, hunting, sport fishing, trapping, and other uses.
Nature reserves offer the highest level of protection for unique or rare species or features; they are used mainly for education and research.
Provincial parks and reserves protect a wide range of heritage values and opportunities for outdoor recreation, nature-based education, and tourism.

Parks represent a special case, as only those with a primary focus on protecting nature count toward the 12 per cent goal; other parks are most important for protecting cultural and recreational features and may also have biodiversity conservation value.

Other lands that count toward the 12 per cent goal are those primarily dedicated to the protection of nature, including national parks and wildlife areas, lands owned by land-trust organizations, and conservation easement lands.

Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas (a section of Nova Scotia Environment) is responsible for designating and managing protected lands owned by the Crown, except for those established under federal jusrisdiction by Parks Canada.

The two largest privately funded land protection organizations functioning in Nova Scotia are the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

View Wilderness Areas: A Brief History (NSE website).
View Interactive Maps of Parks and Protected Areas (NSE website).

View Nova Scotia protects significant older forest stands and an important corridor
(Post on this website, Apr 4, 2017)

View The legacy of Nova Scotia’s Tobeatic wilderness
Post on this website, oct 22, 2017: Essay by Elaine Belliveau

Do you own land in Nova Scotia that you would like to see protected from development? There are several options.

Protecting Nature onYour Property: An introduction to nature conservation on private land in Nova Scotia
NS Environment brochure. “To be considered for a conservation easement, a property must provide habitat for species at risk; contain unique, rare, or exceptional features; be a haven for large populations of animals; or have intact natural areas.”

Conservation Property Tax Exemption
NS Environment document. Q&A: What is the conservation property tax exemption? Why is it needed? How does it work? What is a conservation property? How can I determine if my land qualifies as a “conservation property”? Who is eligible for this tax exemption? Do I need to apply for the tax exemption? It provides a list of contacts.

Community Easements Act
“In the spring of 2012, Government passed the Community Easements Act, which provides governments, non-profit groups, and the Mi’kmaq with a new tool for protecting land use and land access. In 2013, the government approved regulations under the Community Easements Act. A community easement is a legal mechanism to maintain community or cultural interests in land, including such things as community access to special places, agricultural or forestry land use, view planes, wetlands, and archaeological sites. The land owner would receive financial compensation from those seeking the community easement for agreeing to place the restriction on the land. To place a community easement on land, a group must be designated under the Act. A community easement is a permanent interest in land that allows a group, the Mikmaq or government to retain the land’s traditional use, even if the land is sold.”

Nova Scotia Working Woodlands Trust
“The Nova Scotia Working Woodlands Trust (NSWWT) was founded to fill a void in land conservation in Nova Scotia. We aim to uphold the long-term stewardship of working woodlands in Nova Scotia, through ecological forestry and conservation…The NSWWT works through the Nova Scotia Community Easements Act to place working woodlot easements on private woodlands with exceptional stewardship legacies. Woodlot owners continue to be the stewards and owners of their lands, but must abide by the conditions set in their easement, which are typically tied to a forest management plan developed by one of our partner organizations.” An initiative of the Medway Community Forest Co-op. In the process of being set up as a registered charity.

New England Forestry Foundation
An example of an established organization involved in working forest easements. Founded in 1944.

Nova Scotia Nature Trust
“An incorporated charitable organization designated as a conservation organization under the Conservation Easement Act of Nova Scotia… The Nova Scotia Nature Trust works with private landowners and other partners to protect significant natural areas throughout the province. We protect these lands primarily through acquisition and conservation easements.”

Nature Conservancy of Canada
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading national land conservation organization. A private, non-profit organization, we partner with individuals, corporations, other non-profit organizations and governments at all levels to protect our most important natural treasures — the natural areas that sustain Canada’s plants and wildlife. We secure properties (through donation, purchase, conservation agreement and the relinquishment of other legal interests in land) and manage them for the long term.”

Questions about easements on private woodlots in Nova Scotia
Post, July 28, 2017

How Protected Areas Are Chosen
EAC, Sprig 2018. Article by Ian Johnston

Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust
Supporting the protection of High-Conservation-Priority Lands in Nova Scotia. “The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust (NSCSLLT) was established in 2008 by the Province of Nova Scotia from Crown Share Payments. Its purpose is to provide funds to the Beneficiaries for the securement and protection of ecologically significant, threatened and irreplaceable natural areas on private lands in Nova Scotia. The secured lands are to be protected according to IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) standards for Category I, II or III protected areas. The Trust is administered by the Trustees.”

Enhancing Nature Conservation on Private Land in Nova Scotia: A Case Study
By Bonnie Sutherland. MES thesis, Dalhousie University 1996, 307 pages

The 13 Per Cent
Zack Metcalfe Oct 23, 2019

Commercial Benefits of Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas
Submitted to: Nova Scotia Environment Submitted by: Gardner Pinfold Consultants Inc. October 2017
106 page document

Biodiversity survey method for detecting species of conservation concern in Nova Scotia protected wilderness areas and nature reserves
R.P. Cameron, Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science (2019) Volume 50, Part 1, pp. 165-180. A very important paper, from the discussion:
Protected Areas Ability to Capture Species of Conservation Concern
Protected areas not designed to capture species of conservation concern may not be adequate for protecting vulnerable species. Only about 8% of the vascular plant species of conservation concern known to occur in the province, and about 7% of non-vascular flora, were captured in this study. Birds fared better with about 19% of species captured. Three of the four reptiles of conservation concern were found during the surveys and one of thirteen mammals. It should be noted that the protected areas assessed were not designed to protect specifically species of conservation concern, but rather to protect representative ecosystems. Other protected areas in the network are designed for species at risk (Cameron & Williams 2011) such as the 23,000 ha of nature reserves versus the 496,000 ha of wilderness area primarily focused on ecosystem representation (Nova Scotia Department of Environment 2018). The results of this study support the need to have protected areas specifically for species of conservation concern because protected areas designed to capture representative ecosystems may not capture the rare species of conservation concern. There are also likely species of concern that occur in the study areas but were not captured by the survey.