(c) Cyndie Mackinnon
IMHO, three things stood out in 2023 regarding Nova Scotia's trees and forest:
1- The worst fire season on record
Forests fires are not usually a big deal in Nova Scotia. We have a relatively cool climate that tends to be on the wetside and no point in the province is more that 100 kms from the ocean. Further limiting fires is our 6,000+ lakes and over 150 rivers.
But in 2023, the fire gods were against us. It was an unusually dry spring followed by some unseasonably hot weather accompanied by high winds.
And we Nova Scotians love our fires.
The result was two massive fires (Halifax County and Shelburne County)
Perhaps most distressing is that forests fires in 2023 affected almost 10 times more land than 2022.
And 2022 fires were almost 10 times bigger than the 10 year average.
That is an ugly trend :-(
2- Continued gains to preserve forests across the province
Along with the Federal Government and other provinces across Canada, Nova Scotia has a goal to set aside 20% of the land for conservation. It's a pretty ambitious target when you consider that the Nova Scotia government owns less than 40% of all the provincial land.
The province made some significant announcements designating new protected lands.
There are non-government groups like the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and Nature Conservancy Canada that made gains as well. see:
And several community-based initiatives such as Save Our Old Forests (SOOF) that branched out across the province. see : https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurOldForests
3- Progress dealing with hemlock woolly adelgid
From my POV, it was looking pretty bleak for hemlock trees in Nova Scotia.
Since the first discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) in western Nova Scotia, the tone seemed to be "let nature run it's course".
But a dedicated and passionate group were not prepared to let them go without a fight.
And $10M helped ... a lot.
So we have several groups actively treating hemlocks. And our first release of "little larry", the HWA eating beetle on what we hope will be a successful introduction of biocontrols.
A start but SO much more to do.
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As I start to 7th year of Giants of Nova Scotia, I would like to give a HUGE shout out to all the photographers that have most generously given me permission to share their beautiful images of Nova Scotia's trees and forests.
We live in an amazing part of the world.
See for yourself : https://www.instagram.com/giantsofnovascotia/