Forest Vegetation

NS Forest Ecosystem Classification
“In 2000, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) began a long-term project to systematically identify and describe stand-level forest ecosystems in Nova Scotia – known as the Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) project. In 2010, results from 10 years of FEC project work were synthesized to produce a comprehensive provincial FEC guide which is presented in three documents: Forest Ecosystem Classification for Nova Scotia: Part I Vegetation Types (2010); Part II Soil Types (2010); and Part III Ecosites (2010).” The vegetation classification applies only to “mature” stands (minimum age 40 years). See Forest Ecosystem Classification Guides for four side presentations outlining use of the guides.

P8190104panelA forest classification for the Maritime provinces
OL LOUCKS – ‎1962. Nova Scotia Institute of Science Proceedings Vol 25, Part 2, pp 85-167 + Map. This is easier to assimilate as an introduction than the FEC above. Unfortunately the electronically archived version comes without the Map – but see Fig 1 Mosseler et al.

Natural History of Nova Scotia: Introduction to Forests
Section H6 in Natural History of Nova Scotia Vol 1. Topics and Habitats. NS Museum/Nimbus 1996, Derek Davis & Sue browne eds). This classification is the easiest to assimilate. “The classification of the forest habitats in the Natural History of Nova Scotia reflects the relative dominanance of hardwoods (deciduous trees) and softwoods (coniferous trees). The descriptions of these habitats are further divided into tree-species associations that reflect combinations of the dominant forest-stand types in Nova Scotia.” Descriptions of successional processes, species composition (including animals), distribution. The Habitats and Associations:

H6.1 HARDWOOD FOREST
Common Associations:
1. Maple, Oak, Birch
2. Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, Beech
3. Sugar Maple, Elm (Floodplain)

H6.3 MIXED FOREST
Common Associations:
1. Spruce, Fir, Pine–Maple, Birch Forest
2. Spruce, Fir–Maple Forest
3. White Spruce, Fir–Maple, Birch (Coastal) Forest

H6.2 SOFTWOOD FOREST
Common Associations:
1. White Spruce
2. Spruce, Fir, Pine
3. Pine
4. Spruce, Fir
5. Black Spruce, Larch
6. Spruce, Hemlock, Pine
7. Balsam Fir

Field Spruce in Nova Scotia
1957 publication by M. H. Drinkwater. “The spread of white spruce upon the abandoned farm lands in Nova Scotia has been rapid since about 1890. Although the individual stands usually cover less than 30 acres, the total area is estimated to be about one-half million acre.” See also Old Field Forest Group under the Forest Vegetation Types.

Old-growth forests of the Acadian Forest Region
Review paper by Mosseler et al. in Environmental Reviews 11: S47–S77 (2003)
“Based on expected patterns of ecological succession, disturbance dynamics, and stand development following catastrophic natural disturbance intervals of about 1000 years, and from what the geological record tells us about forest cover before European settlement, we can project that as much as 50% of Maritime forest landscape may have been dominated by late-successional old-growth forest types over the 4000–5000 years
before European settlement.” Fig 1 is Map of Maritime forest types (adapted from Loucks 1962).

Selected Nova Scotia old-growth forests: Age, ecology, structure, scoring
Bruce Stewart et al. (2003). In the Forestry Chronicle 79(3): 632-6144. “A study of four old-growth stands in Nova Scotia was conducted to document the ecological characteristics of these currently rare Acadian forest ecosystems. Stands were selected to represent the two dominant climax forest types, hemlock–red spruce–eastern white pine, and sugar maple–yellow birch–beech.”

Nova Scotia’s Old Forest Policy
NSDNR, 2012. Includes criteria for calling a forest stand “old growth”.

Have you seen this tree? Taking stock of the Eastern white cedar
Article by Zak Metcalfe in CH, mar 12, 2017. He went hunting for eastern white cedar in Nova Scotia, a rarity in NS.

Coastal Forest Communities of the Nova Scotian Eastern Shore Ecodistrict
P. Neily et al., 2004 NSDNR
“This study was designed to describe the natural condition of undisturbed mature to overmature coastal forests. The Eastern Shore Ecodistrict of Nova Scotia (Neily et al, 2003a) was chosen as the area of study because there appeared to be a better prospect of finding natural, undisturbed forests…The predominant physiognomic characteristic of the coastal forests of the Eastern Shore ecodistrict is a coniferous overstory dominated by black spruce and balsam fir. Red maple and white birch will occupy an intermediate position in the canopy and will only express dominance on sheltered, well drained sites or on sites greater than 1-2 km from the coast. White spruce will form pure stands on sites previously disturbed by settlement activities. Based on the seven study locations used for this report, it can be suggested that the oldest cohort of trees within a stand seldom exceeds 100 years of age.”

The maintenance of understory residual flora with even-aged forest management: A review of temperate forests in northeastern North America
FM Moola & L Vasseur, 2008.Environmental Reviews 16: 141-155
“This study reviews the effects of even-aged forest management (primarily clearcut logging) on the dynamics, structure, and composition of understory vascular plant communities in remnant late-successional (old-growth and old re-growth) forests of northeastern North America. Less than 1% of forested land in the region has never been cleared and remnant patches of primary woodland (i.e., continuously forested since European colonization; ~350 BP) are few, small and isolated within a second-growth landscape that is increasingly managed in open and immature forest age-classes. The historical loss and fragmentation of pre-settlement forested habitat has generated considerable scientific and public debate about whether additional declines in late-successional woodland, as a result of contemporary land uses (e.g., clearcut logging), threaten species that are associated with old forest conditions. We focused particular attention on residual plants (i.e., flora associated with late-successional forests) that may be dependent upon older stand conditions for maximal growth or that are less common within intensively managed landscapes. Despite a general community-wide resiliency to clearcutting, we found that a number of residual plants in northeastern forests are typically eliminated or have a reduced presence in recovering stands after logging (e.g., Oxalis montana (L.), Aralia nudicaulis (L.), Taxus candensis (Marsh.)). The most sensitive species to clearcutting include mycotrophs, taxa with limited seed dispersal and (or) low rates of clonal expansion (<10 cm/year), and species reliant on specific seedbed conditions associated with older forests (e.g., decayed logs). These results suggest that the preservation of remnant late-successional forests (both old-growth and old re-growth) may be necessary for the maintenance of some residual plant populations in highly disturbed and fragmented forest landscapes in the northeastern North America."