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.

Tom Wessels: Reading the Forested Landscape, Part 1 & Part 2
“If you’ve read Tom Wessels’ books, “Reading the Forested Landscape” and “Forest Forensics”, you know how skilled he is at interpreting the past land use history clues abounding in central New England’s changing forests. Learning to apply the knowledge you gained from those books can be time consuming, however, and you probably find yourself returning to the books often.”

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:

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
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

Resources for Identifying the Plants of Nova Scotia
By David P. List of guides, floras etc for lichens, mosses, vascular plants.

Trees of the Acadian Forest
Identification CD document (pdf). 165 pages, Nova Scotia Dept of Natural Resources. Well illustrated, binary keys.
Includes info on life expectancy, wildlife values, shade tolerance etc. Well illustrated, bark, leaves etc.

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.

Natural disturbance regimes in old-growth northern hardwoods
Craig G. Lorimer and Lee E. Frelich. 1993. Journal of Forestry Jan 1994

Coastal Forest Communities of the Nova Scotian Eastern Shore Ecodistrict
P. Neily et al., 2004 NSDNR
“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… 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 (

The ecology of tree roots and the practical significance
T.O. Perry in Journal of Arboriculture 8 (1982) 197-211.
Also view Tree Roots: Facts and Fallacies
T.O. Perry in Arnoldia Vol. 49, No. 4 (Fall 1989), pp. 2-21
“Approximately 99 percent of the roots occur within the surface meter of soil and extend outward over an area one to two or more times the height of the tree”

The decompaction programme on trees at Kew
Tony Kirkham (Kew Gardens) in International Dendrology Society Yearbook for 2008

Top Tips for Tree Care – The Kew Way
Blog post 2012 citing Kew’s Tony Kirkham “Tony also told us their tree planting techniques have changed, exploding the myth in the process that a tree’s root depth extends downwards to the same depth as the tree’s height. One metre is the average depth of roots as below this soils tend to be anaerobic and lacking in moisture. Instead, roots tend to extend outwards to the same length as the tree’s canopy (logical when you think about it). Apparently many of us tend to plant our trees too deeply. An inch or too either way can make quite a difference to root development and thus the establishment and overall health of a tree.”

The tolerant hardwoods of northern Nova Scotia
M. H. Drinkwater, 1957. CANADA Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources FORESTRY BRANCH, Forest Research Division
Technical Note No. 57. From the Introduction: “The tolerant hardwoods, sugar maple, beech, and yellow birch , occur extensively throughout northern Nova Scotia (see map) . On the mainland, they dominate the Cobequid Mountains, the Pictou Highlands, the hills in the lowlands of Antigonish, southern Pictou and central Guysborough Counties, and the upper slopes and ridge of the uplands in eastern Halifax and Guysborough Counties. On Cape Breton Island, they are abundant on the Craignish and Mabou Hills, and in the valleys of the rivers that drain the Northern Plateau. They also clothe the upper slopes and hilltops of the lesser uplands to the east. Elsewhere in the Province, the stands are generally small and the trees less desira’ble for timber. Statistics are not available, but 1,000,000 acre would be a conservative estimate of the total area of hardwood forest. In the past, the tolerant hardwoods contributed much to the economy of Nova Scotia; they were an important source of raw material and revenue, and provided an opportunity for employment. Owing to recent heavy cutting, an infestation of beech scale (C1’yptococcus fagi Baer.), and dieback of yellow birch, there has been a rapid transition from old-growth to second-growth stands consisting mainly of small and low-quality material. In 1953, the total amount of hardwood lumber manufactured in Nova Scotia amounted to approximately 20,000,000 board feet, of which about 70 per cent was yellow birch, 28 per cent sugar maple and 2 per cent beech. In the same year, 8,000,000 board feet were used in mine pack. and railway tiel’ and 2,000,000 board feet (Jog measure) were cut for veneer. In 1952 and 1953, the Forestry Branch conducted studies in northern Nova Scotia to o’btain information on the condition of the tolerant hardwood and to investigate techniques for their prop r silvicultural management. This report summarizes the results of the studv and makes recommendations for improving the management of the stands.

Defining a forest reference condition for Kouchibouguac national park and adjacent Landscape in eastern new brunswick using four Reconstructive approaches
by Donna R. Crossland MSc thesis, UNB 2006

A forest reference condition for Kouchibouguac National Park and the adjacent landscape in eastern New Brunswick was derived by integrating information from historical descriptions, witness tree information, square timber harvest records, and ecosystem archaeology.

Species frequency results indicated that forests were dominated by mid-to latesuccessional Picea, Tsuga canadensis, Betula, Acer, Abies balsamea, and Pinus strobes, comprising 70-80 % of 19th century forests. Fagus grandifolia and Thuja occidentalis existed at 5 and 6-1 4 %. Trees were mostly tall, large diameter, and mature to old growth. Early-successional or shade-intolerant species occurred at 1-3 % of forest composition.

In the current forest, frequencies of Tsuga canadensis and F. grandifolia have decreased to approximately 1 % and 0.1 % respectively, A. balsamea has doubled on many sites, and Populus has become the most abundant hardwood species. Pinus banksiana, nearly absent ca. 1800, has become the most dominant pine species. Six dominant tree species comprise 95 % of contemporary forests, whereas there were nine species ca. 1800. Riparian zones have lost approximately 40 % of forest cover, and support little of the former species composition.

Tree age and growth at barrens forest edges in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Sarah Coley, Honours Thesis, Dalhousie Univ 2012

Natural Old-Growth Forest Stands in Maine and its Relevance to the Critical Areas Program
A report prepared by the Maine Critical Areas Program of the State Planning Office, Augusta, Maine 04333 May 1983, 250 pages

Ten years of monitoring air quality and ecological integrity using field-identifiable lichens at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site in Nova Scotia, Canada
Richard Troy McMullin et al., 2017. Ecological Indicators Volume 81, October 2017, Pages 214-221
•A regionally specific suite of lichen species was successfully selected to monitor air quality and ecological integrity.
•New monitoring protocols for air quality and ecological integrity were developed and successfully implement.
•A positive correlation between the abundance of pollution intolerant species and a decline in air pollution was shown.
•Regionalsuites of lichens can be used as a management tool for early detection ofdisturbances and environmental changes.

K. N. H. Greenidge
Vol. 89, No. 859 (July 1987), pp. 279-297

CONSENSUS DOCUMENTS ON BIOLOGY OF TREES: Section 6. Black spruce (Picea mariana)
In OECD (2010), “Section 6 – Black spruce (Picea mariana)”, in Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms,
Volume 3: OECD Consensus Documents, OECD Publishing, Paris.”Black spruce populations in Nova Scotia may actually be mainly composed of red × black spruce hybrids”

How Oak Trees Evolved to Rule the Forests of the Northern Hemisphere
Andrew L. Hipp et al., in Scientific American, Aug 1, 2020 “Oak trees are highly diverse and widespread, and they are keystone species in the forests they inhabit. Advances in genomics have allowed researchers to reconstruct the evolutionary history of oaks. The findings will have implications for managing oaks to ensure their survival as the planet warms.”

Quiz: Can you identify this tree from its leaf?
Angela Underwood Sep 2, 2020 in Educational Quiz

Ericaceous ground cover on cutover sites in southwestern Nova Scotia. 1977. Wall, R.E. Fredericton, NB. Information Report M-X-71. 55 p.”On recently logged lands occupied by black spruce, balsam fir, and red maple in southwestern Nova Scotia, there has been a marked increase in incidence and density of lambkill, blueberry, bracken, and bunchberry within three years after harvest. ..It was concluded that logging in black spruce stands in this region would result in progressively greater dominance of the site by lambkill unless preventative steps were taken. Preventative measures at least for the time being, would have to be more drastic than those attempted experimentally in this study and should possibly include scarification, slash dispersal, and tree planting. “