Photographs of Old Growth
and Red Spruce stands
Chebucto Peninsula (Nova Scotia)
These photos are posted to complement
an article published in The Bridge
(Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust Newsletter
for November 2009)
|GOOD NEWS: On October 19th, 2009, the Nova Scotia government declared the Five Bridge Lake Wilderness Area a Candidate Wilderness Area. On Oct. 25, 2012, after a year of public consultations, the area was formally designated under the Wilderness Protection Act. So these two old growth forest stand are now legally protected as part of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area|
|View slide presentation by David Patriquin/Nick Hill on Multi-aged old growth red oak stand on the Chebucto
Peninsula at Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute Old Forest Conservation Science Meeting (Debert NS, Oct 19-21, 2016).|
A Rapid Appraisal study was conducted July 21-22, 2009 to verify existence of and
characterize an OG red oak stand on Umlah Hill southeast of Oak Hill Lake. It had been
known years ago by Ralph Wheadon as a NSDNR employee and fire warden for the
area. The site was visited again on Sep 3-4, 2011 to look for charcoal in soil profiles. The
study was supported in part by Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust.
The stand has features of a multi-aged, old growth oak forest with snags and fallen
dead in a range of diameters and distinct moose maple and witch hazel subcanopies.
The overstory is made up mostly of red oak, some yellow birch, occasional white birch;
red maple was common, but tended to be in the subcanopy/overgrown by oak. The
stand covers approximately 15 ha. Cores indicate the larger trees are over 100 years of
age. We observed scat from mainland moose as well as evidence of the brown bear and
many cavities in snags. Some adjacent areas support younger oak stands with some, but
not all of these features.
Soil profiles revealed charcoal layers in adjacent areas supporting younger oak stands,
but not at Umlah Hill, which appears to have escaped area fires by being relatively
isolated and surrounded by wetland. Wind induced tree top damage continuously
causes decay in the tallest oaks and these produce single tree light gaps and valuable
habitat for a suite of snag-dependent wildlife. This mature forest is thus composed not
of trees of several centuries old, but of younger trees yet the forest has the same
characteristics of typical OG. This type of old growth red oak forest is apparently now
rare within the whole range of red oak in North America.