Forest Walk Notes

The following materials are based on notes I prepared for a particular walk at Sandy Lake* but describe 5 features or ecological characteristics of the forests that can be viewed  on most routes one might take though forests in the area of the larger, proposed Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park .
* Field Trip Apr. 27 2024, TheDirtGang et al. Sponsors. With Sean Haughian (Curator o Botany at NS Museum) and David P. as leaders. Theme: Species Identification/Use of iNaturalist/Sandy Lake & Environs.

Each feature is given below in the abbreviated form given in the notes, with a link to a subpage providing more info.

A: It’s a Wabanaki (Acadian) Forest, with all major tree species represented

Conifers/softwoods: White Pine, Red Spruce, Eastern Hemlock(*), Balsam
Fir; lesser: Black Spruce, White Spruce, Tamarack.
Deciduous/hardwoods: Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, Paper Birch, American Ash*, American Beech*, lesser amounts of Red Oak, Ironwood
Subcanopy hardwoods: Striped Maple, Witch Hazel; some Mt Maple

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B: Major Natural Disturbances: 1.Wind – Gap Disturbance (frequent), & Stand-
replacing Disturbance (Hurricanes, much less freq.) 2. Disease/Pests* 3. Fire
*Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (expected); Beech Bark Disease (beetle/canker fungi, Arrived Hfx late 1800s) Beech leaf-mining Weevil (Arr. Hfx ~ 2006); Emerald Ash Borer (Arr Bedford, 2018) – all associated with invasive spp.

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C: A lot of Old Forest (80 yrs +) on our tour; it supports Distinct Assemblages of species, e.g. birds (Betts et al, 2022). lichens (re: Goldsmith Lake Lichen Camp)

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D: Patches of Old Growth of 3 types – White Pine dominant, or Hemlock, or Mixed Hardwoods; see graphic in notes/below

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E: Pit & Mound topography occurs in older, less harvested stands

Mounds are formed by blowdown of Big Trees
Age = Oldest Tree on mounds +10-15 years
Pits and Mounds with similar orientation at Sandy Lake—>Hurricanes hitting from SE; Sites 1,2,3 likely in 1869 (Saxby Gale, 155 yrs ago) or 1873 (The Nova Scotia Storm, 151 yrs ago); Peninsula a storm 60-70 years earlier.
Ecological Significance – Vernal pools in pits; mounds are preferred seedbeds; sites of the Wabanaki Forest Love Affair (Yellow Birch & Hemlock); continuity of microbiota.

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Sandy Lake Water Quality Issues

These will be mentioned as we pass by Sandy Lake, but not talked about in any detail. The major issue – low oxygen during summer stratification – is described here