Ecosystems Services: a benefit to wildlife and people
Forests provide forestry jobs, purify the air, create shade, store carbon, and are culturally and spiritually significant. On shorelines, trees are important for holding onto the soil with their roots, protecting against erosion, and keeping the water cool. As trees die and break down on the forest floor, they contribute to nutrient cycling and soil regeneration. In Nova Scotia the primary forest type is Wabanaki-Acadian Forest which includes a mixture of Boreal conifer trees like Black Spruce and Balsam Fir and Northern Hardwood/deciduous trees including American Beech and Red Maple.
A case study by the Nature Conservancy of Canada approximated the value of Wabanaki-Acadian Forest as $26,250 per hectare of mature conifer forest per year. As old growth stands become increasingly rare (less than 1% of original growth remains in Nova Scotia today), it is important their value and irreplaceability is considered as we work to balance resource needs with sustainability.
Many species at risk rely on old growth forests for habitat including birds at risk like the Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-pewee, and Olive-sided Flycatcher. There are several invasive pests and diseases that threaten forests like Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) and beech bark disease. Some ways to help forests include buying firewood onsite, cleaning your footwear before entering new areas, and always check the fire forecast before burning.
Old-growth forests 101
Putting a Value on the Ecosystem Services
Provided by Forests in Canada:
Case Studies on Natural Capital and Conservation
Publications for woodlot owners
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators – Forest Management Resources
The Government of Nova Scotia – Old-Growth Forests of Nova Scotia